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Total Receives Environmental Permit for Lake Albert, Uganda Says

Total SA, France’s largest oil company, secured an environmental permit to explore Uganda’s Block 1, according to an adviser to the country’s government.

“We issued them the permit last week,” Tom Okurut, executive director of the National Environment Management Authority, said today in an interview in Arusha. The approval allows Total to carry out a seismic survey to confirm the size of oil resources in the area.

Total and China National Offshore Oil Corp. completed the purchase of Block 1 and two other Ugandan blocks from Tullow Oil Plc for $2.9 billion in February, gaining access to the Lake Albert Basin and an estimated 2.5 billion barrels of oil. They’re set to submit development plans to the government by year-end and expect to pump commercial volumes of oil from 2016.

Anastasia Zhivulina, a spokeswoman for Paris-based Total, said she couldn’t immediately comment.

Uganda also expects to complete a so-called Oil Contingency Plan by December, a recovery program designed to mitigate the effects of an accidental oil spill, according to Okurut.

The East African country’s parliament has proposed an environmental levy to contribute to the contingency plan’s 5 billion-shilling ($2 million) annual budget.

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