Uganda’s Oil drilling threatens River Nile Water

- Advertisement -

Water levels to drop by between 4 to 10 percent


Ugandans interested in oil may have to wait a little longer after another hurdle has emerged. Ugandan oil fields were found in the Albertine Rift Basin along its border with the Democratic Republic of Congo, but wrangling over taxes and the viability of the refinery have been blamed for delaying production, which is now projected for 2021.

- Advertisement -


In a meeting held recently between the private sector and senior government officials, meant to identify ways to boost the economy, a senior banking executive working with Standard Charted Bank Uganda raised a fundamental question regarding Nile water and oil drilling in Uganda.


The official pointed that companies planning drill Uganda’s oil are planning to use the Nile Water to help them in the process. The official said, this is expected to reduce the Nile water levels to between 4 to 10 percent. This, it said might bring about tension with the countries that share the Nile Waters. There are three explorers France’s TOTAL, China’s Cnooc and Britain’s Tullow Oil.


They say oil and water don’t mix, but when it comes to oil and gas drilling, water and oil are practically joined at the hip.


A recent Colorado State University study showed that drilling and hydraulically fracturing a vertical well — as Ultra’s initial exploratory wells will be — takes an average of 387,000 gallons of water. Production wells branch off the bottom of a vertical well and run laterally to access sections of oil-bearing rock up to 5,000 feet away. They take an average of 2.8 million gallons of water


Sources that attended the meeting told Newz Post that initially the authorities from the Ministry of Water and Environment down played this argument. They, however, promised do a study and present their findings.


The Nile River is a subject to political interactions. Egypt claims it has a natural historical right on the Nile River, and principles of its acquired rights have been a focal point of negotiations with upstream states.


The fact that this right exists means that any perceived reduction of the Nile water supply to Egypt is tampering with its national security and thus could trigger potential conflict. Egypt and Ethiopia almost went to war recently over Nile water when, Ethiopia started construction of a dam on the same river.

Sudan also has hydraulic potential and has created four dams in the last century. This has resulted in the development so far of 18,000 km² of irrigated land, making Sudan the second most extensive user of the Nile, after Egypt. Egypt has such an agriculturally-dependent economy. Egypt is already dependent on virtual water imports, a strategy which may lead that country to attempt future water conflicts.

It is important to note that disposing of wastewater is a costly challenge for drillers. And, at every step along the way, preventing groundwater contamination is the paramount concern for inspectors and regulators.

Water in Oil drilling

According to report by Xylem entitled Water Use in Oil and Gas: Trends in Oil and Gas Production globally, hydrofracturing, commonly known as ‘fracking,’’ is a technique in which water is mixed with sand and chemicals and injected at high-pressure into a wellbore to create fractures in underground shale. These fractures form from conduits along which gas and petroleum migrate up the well.

World over, there is growing public concern over fracking. In particular freshwater resources-which may already be fully allocated and waste water storage and disposal, can become hot-bottom issues with local communities.

According to the same report, other concerns some communities have, even if unproven are that fracking may increase seismic activity and that chemicals may permeate into drinking supplies.

In Nigeria, UN Environment Programme (UNEP), issued a landmark report which warned of dangerously high levels of hydrocarbons in the water, bitumen-coated mangroves and poor air quality.


Changing trends


The use of advanced UV and ozone treatment technologies is increasingly being used to prevent wastewater fouling. Other producers are experimenting with so-called “waterless” fracking techniques that use gases to fracture underground shale rock.


Efforts to get a comment from the authorities where futile as our emails where attended too.


- Advertisement -


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here