Oil & Gas News

Operations At CNOOC Uganda’s Kingfisher Oilfield Halted After Death

A CNOOC Uganda worker at Kingfisher

All field operations at CNOOC Uganda Limited’s (CUL) Kingfisher oilfield have been halted by the Petroleum Authority of Uganda (PAU) following a fatal accident at the project area on Friday, October 6, 2023.

We understand that while opening the camp gate to allow access to an oncoming truck, a security guard was knocked dead.

In a letter to Liu Xiandong, the CNOOC President about the fatality, Ernest Rubondo, the PAU Executive Director notes that the incident was not the first safety concern at Kingfisher.

“This regrettable incident follows several safety incidents that this Authority has previously brought to the attention of CNOOC. This trend is unacceptable as it compromises the safety of personnel and damages the reputation of the sector,” he writes.

Adding, “The purpose of this letter is therefore to direct that in accordance with Section 177 of the Petroleum (Exploration, Development and Production) Act 2013, CUL halts all Kingfisher field operations from 00:00 hours on Saturday, October 7, 2023 until further notice, with exception of activities required to maintain safety and security.”

Rubondo and Xiandong (L) in July, this year

Tomorrow, October 8, 2023, PAU will hold a meeting with CNOOC executives to charter a way forward.

Safety measures

A CNOOC statement this website has seen outlines some of the “Vehicle Access Control Measures” the company plans to enforce to avoid similar accidents going forward.

These include: i) reviewing all existing vehicle access control procedures to include the requirement for drivers to turn off their engines before physical inspection is performed, ii) installation of appropriate Gate Boom Barrier outside all vehicle access gates, iii) providing training to all drivers on improved vehicle access control requirements, iv) providing training to all security guards on how to safely conduct physical vehicle inspections and v) equipping security guards with skills in vehicle crash prevention when opening the gate and performing physical vehicle checks, amongst others.

HSE standards

The oil and gas industry prioritizes health, safety and the environment (HSE) to not only protect workers but also prevent environmental disasters like oil spills, which can have far-reaching ecological consequences.

All companies are required to deliver their operations responsibly and safely, with no harm to people, local communities in which they operate and the environment.

A policy document outlining a company’s HSE measures is one of the expectations from the regulator.

Last month, TotalEnergies EP Uganda, the operator of the Tilenga project said it had achieved 20 million man-hours without Lost Time Incidents (LTI). An LTI is an injury sustained on the job by an employee that results in the loss of productive work time for more than 24 hours, permanent disability or even death.

While CNOOC is the operator of the Kikuube district located Kingfisher oilfield, the project is developed under a joint venture partnership with TotalEnergies E&P Uganda, (56.67%), CNOOC (28.33%) and the Uganda National Oil Company (15%). A similar arrangement is maintained at Tilenga, which is operated by TotalEnergies.

Uganda maintains that plans to produce its first oil in 2025 are on course. Three and four wells have so far been drilled at Kingfisher and Tilenga, respectively in readiness for production, then.

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Deep Earth
Deep Earth International critically examines developments in the extractive and energy sectors in Uganda and the wider East African region. Drawing from the vast experience of its founders who have each covered and written about these sectors for at least fifteen years, this website is the go-to platform for anyone seeking to get a better understanding of the same.

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