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TotalEnergies pioneering technologies in exploring oil in Murchison Falls National Park

In 2012, TotalEnergies EP Uganda accepted the challenge of working in Uganda’s largest protected area - the Murchison Falls National Park. Using environmentally friendly technology and our proven capability in developing oil resources in sensitive areas, we aim to create a project that shows how oil, environment and tourism can co-exist harmoniously. 

Environmentally friendly technologies in MFNP 

Employing 3D cable-less seismic technology for the first time on shore in Africa places Uganda at the forefront of using innovative technology in exploration. 3D seismic acquisition is based on the same principle as the ultrasound scanners used in medical clinics. This technology produces quick results with less manpower and fewer supporting vehicles. The technology helps the company to achieve best coverage and quality data without deploying kilometres of cables, thus having limited impact on vegetation compared to other techniques. In addition, drilling of horizontal wells for the first time in East Africa has been used. These reduce the numbers of wells to be drilled, fewer pads to be constructed, less number of roads to be opened, resulting in reduced footprint on the environment. 

Minimising impact on environment and biodiversity 

These technological innovations were developed to protect the specific ecosystem of the park, which is Uganda’s largest protected area covering 3840 km2. The park covers a Ramsar site, a key bird area. 451 bird species are present ranging from the rare Shoe-bill stork to the Dwarf kingfisher and Goliath Heron. The park contains 76 species of mammals as well as Uganda's largest population of the Nile crocodile. It is home to the largest protected population of Rosthschild’s giraffes. It is also home to a recovering population of 950 elephants. 

Partnering in conservation

In our efforts to protect the environment and biodiversity, we are working together with various conservation organisations. We also work in close partnership with the government through the National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) and the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA). Compliance with laws, rules and regulations provided by the authorities is vital to our operations. Together with UWA, we are currently addressing the lack of detailed baseline data on the biological diversity in MFNP through a growing series of biological surveys. “As the government agency in charge of park conservation, we believe, on the contrary, that all three activities can exist alongside each other in harmony. It was with this in mind that the collaboration with TotalEnergies EP Uganda began”, explained Tom, Murchison Falls Area conservation manager, Uganda Wildlife Authority.

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