Oil exploration has been ongoing in the Albertine Graben since the 1920’s. Currently there is confirmation of commercially viable oil deposits in this area with early production scheduled to begin 2009. Oil spills can have severe and long term ecological and socio-economic impacts if not properly planned for and addressed. While it is not possible to predict the impacts of an oil spill with certainty, it is possible to evaluate the vulnerability of an area to a defined spill scenario based on the environmental resources present in the area.
An environmental oil spill sensitivity atlas has been prepared to provide environmental planners with tools to identify resources at risk, establish protection priorities and identify activities in case of oil spills. The Albertine Graben petroleum development has also led to work the initiation of a monitoring program do better understand long term consequences of activities in the area. This will be covered in data later to be presented under the Albertine Graben Environmental Monitoring Program. Lastly an effort to look into the future and prepare for planning ahead has been facilitated through a Strategical Environmental Assessment for the Albertine Graben Region.
With these initiatives the environment has received important focus to minimize negative effects of the petroleum activity.