After obtaining their exploration licences for Uganda in 2004, Tullow Oil made their first significant oil discoveries in 2006 in the Lake Albert Rift Basin. In 2007, Tullow took operational control of the exploration and appraisal of exploration area 2 (EA-2), which comprises the Buliisa district.
The oil extraction has caused an increase in conflicts in the region. Due to the activity of companies like Tullow Oil, land has become an even more important commodity in the region. Several reports indicate that the digging of seismic wells and drilling, as well as other oil exploration activities, have led to displacement, changes in ownership of land and land acquisition conflicts in the region around the Albertine Graben. Different incidents were reported by local media since 2006, especially around the area of the Kasemena oil wells.
In 2009 when it was testing the Kasemene oil wells, Tullow Oil agreed to pay Buliisa residents to vacate their homes during a short period of time, after protests took place.
In 2010, more than 400 pastoralists were reportedly evicted by Uganda from land where oil had been found, after the government accused them of illegal occupation. The group then petitioned the Supreme Court to stop the eviction, which the government had been struggling to go through with for the past three years. The case was dismissed by the court.
In 2011, violence emerged in Kasenyi, Buliisa District, when members of the Bagungu people indigenous to the area were protesting land acquisitions for Tullow Oil. A group of about thirty men allegedly started to beat up several villagers, a few men were arrested and detained for less than a week when the police arrived. Reports of violence involving the police also emerged.
In 2013, residents of the Nguedo Sub Country, Buliisa District threatened to block oil exploration activities on their land because of poor compensation received by Total for crops destroyed during seismic surveys, previously executed by the company.
Moreover, Tullow Oil blamed its sub-contractor, Saracen Uganda Limited, when two trucks of human waste were allegedly dumped in Kakindo village, Buliisa District in 2013. Local residents were pushing for compensation for the problems caused by the waste dumping, such as discomfort and diseases.
Tullow Oil said that they had conducted an investigation and ordered their sub-contractor to clean up the area. This was not the first time that the company has been accused of dumping waste in the area, although Tullow claimed that they have not been dumping toxic drilling waste in the game park and in inhabited areas.
There is also a conflict between oil extraction wildlife, the Albertine region houses 10 of Uganda’s 22 national parks and protected game reserves, such as Murchison Falls National Park.