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  • Hoima residents demand for ‘oil jobs’

    Residents of Buseruka sub county, accuse SBC – a company that is constructing Hoima International Airport of coming with their workers from Kayunga to the detriment of the locals “Early this year, When SBC Uganda Limited [A company constructing Hoima International Airport] started construction of the airport early this year, we [local people] were promised jobs. However, we only see buses ferrying workers from Hoima to here, where are the jobs they promised us,” Julius Muhumuza asks angrily. Muhumuza said that he got recommendations from local leaders to get a job as a casual laborer. However, he was never given the job. Just like Muhumuza, Bosco Twaha another resident of Nyamasoga village, Buseruka sub-county, Hoima district complains, “I have a class A driving permit [a driving class for truck drivers]. I applied for a job as a driver but my application was turned down”. Nyamasoga village is just adjacent to Hoima International Airport that is under construction. The airport is one of the oil-related infrastructure projects required before the country can start oil production. However, local people in Hoima have expressed their dissatisfaction with SBC Uganda Ltd – a company that was granted a contract to construct the Hoima International Airport over the failure to employ them. The locals accuse the company of deliberately locking them out of oil related jobs. They are accusing SBC-Uganda Limited of not implementing local content policy requirements to enable locals benefit from the project. They claim that the company has considered other young people from other places of the country and that few are from within. However, the company officials say locals have been given jobs. Currently, SBC Uganda Ltd employs a total of 664 people at the airport construction site. Out of these, the company explains that 147 people hail from Hoima district alone. Currently, most of the work at airport construction site includes clearing the bushes for the runways, operating construction machines such as excavators, drivers and other casual jobs among others. He says the company is committed to ensure that at least 30 percent of its work force are local people. Stanislaus Birungi, the Human Resource Manager, SBC-Uganda Limited explains that they are currently on earth works whereby the jobs are fixed, adding that most of those who come seeking for jobs do not qualify. He denies claims that the local people have been locked out of jobs. “How many wheel loader operators do we have? How many people have heavy trucks driving permits?. Most people do not have required skills and experience. We need few mechanics and builders at the moment,” he added. Mr. Ali Tinkamanyire, the sub-county Chairman of Buseruka attributes the local anguish to high expectations people have in the oil and gas sector. “Not everyone will be employed in the oil and gas sector,” he said. He appealed to central government to ensure that local people are trained and skilled to be able to participate in the sector. Recently, in a new twist and out of anger, the local people ambushed the company vans transporting SBC workers and pelted them with stones.Allan Julius Hakiza, police spokesperson for oil rich Albertine region says police intervened and started escorting the vans to the construction site. “We realized that escorting the vans was not a sustainable option, we conducted community policing meetings in those villages, where we explained to the local people to be patient or look for other options of benefiting from the sector. Not everybody is going to be employed in the oil and gas sector,” Hakiza said. The locals say, most of the workers at the airport construction site hail from Kayunga district where SBC Uganda has been constructing a road. “SBC has come with their people from Kayunga. This is unacceptable,” Muhumuza says angrily. Edward Ssekika Oil.Uganda@actionaid.org

  • Tilenga Project: Government to conduct public oil hearings

    Government has accepted to hold two public hearings over the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) report for the Tilenga oil project.

    The public is hereby notified that the Petroleum Authority of Uganda (PAU) has been requested by the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) to hold public hearings for the Environmental and Social impact Assessment report for the proposed Tilenga project, a statement released by PAU last evening reads in part.

    The name Tilenga is derived from two local names for the Uganda Kob (Antelope) which is called “Til” in Acholi and “Engabi” in Runyoro-Rutoro.

    NEMA received the ESIA from Total E&P Uganda and Tullow Uganda operations Pty Ltd for the proposed Tilenga project.

    Under the Tilenga project, the Government through its licensed oil companies has discovered commercially viable oil deposits north of Victoria Nile in Murchison falls national park and south of Victoria Nile in Buliisa district.

    The project includes jobi-Rii, Gunya, Ngiri, Kasemene, wahrindi, Nsoga, Kigogole oil fields. In 2016, Government granted petroleum production licenses to Total Exploration and Production Uganda B.V (TEPU) and Tullow Uganda operations Pty Ltd (TUOP) to develop and operate upstream petroleum facilities in the Albertine graben. Oil Licenses

    TEPU was granted production licenses for Ngiri, Jobi-Rii, Gunya fields while TUOP was granted production licenses in Mputa,Nzizi,Waraga, Kasemene, Wahrindi, Kigogole-Ngara,Nsoga and Ngege fields.

    The development of six fields namely Ngiri, Jobi-Rii, Gunya, Kigogole and Kasemene-Wahrindi within Buliisa and Nwoya districts will form part of the Tilenga project.

    The Tilenga project will be funded by TEPU, TUOP, CNOOC Uganda Ltd and Uganda National Oil Company.

    Composition According to the project documents which oil in Uganda has seen, the Tilenga project is composed of well pads, a central processing facility and other associated facilities, production and injection network of pipelines and cables, Bugungu airstrip, Tangi operation camp, a water abstraction system, victoria Nile crossing, river Nile pipe crossing and some roads.

    The project also includes temporary construction camps, construction support base, a logistical check point in Masindi and borrow pits. NEMA’s notice

    Oil in Uganda reported this week how the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) is seeking public comments on ESIA for the Tilenga project.

    A public hearing will be a forum in which relevant stakeholders and developers will be brought together to express opinions and offer suggestions on the proposed project to influence the decision making process during the ESIA approval.

    The hearings will be held in accordance with regulation 22 of the National Environment impact Assessment regulations 1998, the statement added.

    A public notice released by the NEMA Executive director Dr Tom Okurut informed the public that the outcomes of the public review will contribute towards making a final decision of the project in accordance with the Environment impact assessment regulations.

    The notice asked members of the public to submit their comments by November 9th 2018.

    Concern of CSOs However, 13 CSOs demanded for public hearings over the project.

    “It is through public hearings that oil host and affected communities, the poor, marginalised and illiterate will be able to make comments on the ESIA to enable NEMA make a decision based on the collective input of all concerned stakeholders” the CSOs said in a joint letter to the NEMA executive Director Dr Tom Okurut.

    The CSOs said they are concerned that in the notice, NEMA did not indicate that it will call for public hearings before making any decision on the ESIA.

    The concerns of the CSOs are contained in a letter dated October 17, 2018 which was submitted to NEMA by the AFIEGO Chief Executive Director Dickens Kamugisha on behalf of the CSOs.

    The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Regulations of 1998 mandate NEMA to call for a public hearing where there is controversy or where a project has trans boundary impacts, the CSOs argued.

    “We need public hearings to ensure effective public consultations that can build consensus not only among Ugandan stakeholders but also stakeholders across the borders who are likely to be affected by the Tilenga project” said Kamugisha, a lawyer. Hearings

    Gloria Ssebikari, a senior communication officer at the the Petroleum Authority of Uganda (PAU), PAU will conduct two public hearings this month.

    “The public is further notified that there will be two public hearings held on 12th November 2018 at Buliisa district headquarters and on 15th November 2018 at Gotapwoyo primary school, Gptapwoyo subcounty, Nwoya district from 9am to 5 pm” the notice reads in part.

    The notice indicated that public comments should be addressed to the presiding officer at PAU.

    Local communities fear that oil developments in an ecologically fragile area in Murchison falls national park and around the Nile delta could potentially affect the environment. The national park is one of Uganda’s leading tourism destinations and it hosts thousands of wild endangered species of animals, birds, insects and reptiles.

    River Nile waters are shared by Uganda, Rwanda, Sudan, Tanzania, Burundi, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Egypt and DRC.

    The CSOs have asked government to establish a multi-stakeholder committee comprised of actors from government, the private sector, religious and cultural groups, CSOs, the academia and others to act as an independent multidisciplinary oversight body to promote compliance with environmental conservation tools such as EIA, SEA, ESIA.

    The CSOs have further asked NEMA to delay any decision to issue a certificate of approval for the Tilenga ESIA until the new environmental laws and regulations are put in place by government and parliament. This will help the country to stop engaging in oil activities based on a weak and outdated environmental legal framework, the petition added.

    The CSOS that petitioned include the Africa institute for Energy Governance (AFIEGO), National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE), Environmental Conservation Trust of Uganda (ECOTRUST), Guild Presidents Forum on Oil Governance (GPFOG), Center for Constitutional Governance (CCG), South Western Center for Policy and Advocacy (SOWIPA), World Voices Uganda (WVU), Community Transformation Foundation Network (COTFONE), Greater, Green Organisation Africa (GOA)-Masindi, Oil Refinery Residents Association (ORRA)-Hoima, Kakindo Orphans Care-Buliisa, Girl Power foundation-Kasese, Friends of Nature-Kasese.

    Fears of Environmental damage

    The study released by the worldwide fund for nature (WWF) and the civil society Coalition on oil and gas (CSCO) titled “Safeguarding People & nature in the East African Crude Oil (EACOP) Pipeline,” expresses fears of a possible pollution of fresh water pollution in the Lake Victoria basin.

    According to a study, the East African crude oil pipeline will cross Kagera River, the largest river flowing into Lake Victoria.

    “The probability of leakage and spillage within the Lake Victoria watershed area is even greater given it is an active seismic area” the report stated.

    The report was released in July 2017 as a preliminary Threat Analysis (PTA) of the East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP).

    The Crude oil covering 1,445 km will transport crude oil from Hoima district in Western Uganda to Tanga port in Tanzania.

    The Pipeline project was commissioned by President Museveni And his Tanzanian counterpart John Pombe Magufuli in November 2017,.

    By Oil in Uganda correspondent, Bunyoro

  • NEMA reviews environmental concerns over Tilenga project

    The National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) is seeking public comments on the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) report for the Tilenga oil project.

    The name Tilenga is derived from two local names for the Uganda Kob (Antelope) which is called “Til” in Acholi and “Engabi” in Runyoro-Rotoro.

    A notice which has been pinned on public notice boards in Buliisa district indicates that NEMA received the ESIA from Total E&P Uganda and Tullow Uganda operations Pty Ltd for the proposed Tilenga project.

    Under the Tilenga project, the Government through its licensed oil companies has discovered commercially viable oil deposits north of Victoria Nile in Murchison falls national park and south of Victoria Nile in Buliisa district.

    The project includes jobi-Rii, Gunya, Ngiri, Kasemene, wahrindi, Nsoga, Kigogole oil fields. Composition According to the project documents which oil in Uganda has seen, the Tilenga project is composed of well pads, a central processing facility and other associated facilities, production and injection network of pipelines and cables, Bugungu airstrip, Tangi operation camp, a water abstraction system, victoria Nile crossing, river Nile pipe crossing and some roads.

    The project also includes temporary construction camps, construction support base, a logistical check point in Masindi and borrow pits.

    “The public is further notified that the outcomes of the public review will contribute towards making a final decision of the project in accordance with the Environment impact assessment regulations” a notice released by the NEMA Executive director Dr Tom Okurut reads in part.

    According to the notice, members of the public have been asked to submit their comments by November 9th 2018. CSO Petition 13 civil society organisations have asked NEMA to hold public hearings to enable locals have an input in the studies.

    “It is through public hearings that oil host and affected communities, the poor, marginalised and illiterate will be able to make comments on the ESIA to enable NEMA make a decision based on the collective input of all concerned stakeholders” the CSOs said in a joint letter to the NEMA executive Director.

    According to the CSOs which are working to prevent the impacts of oil on biodiversity from Buliisa, Hoima, Kasese, Greater Masaka, South Western Uganda and Kampala, they are concerned that in the notice, NEMA did not indicate that it will call for public hearings before making any decision on the ESIA.

    The concerns of the CSOs are contained in a letter dated October 17, 2018 which was submitted to NEMA by the AFIEGO Chief Executive Director on behalf of the CSOs.

    The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Regulations of 1998 mandate NEMA to call for a public hearing where there is controversy or where a project has trans boundary impacts, the CSOs argued.

    “The Tilenga oil project is controversial and will have trans boundary impacts. The project’s activities will include drawing of water from Lake Albert, whose boundaries remain a challenge between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). It should be noted that even the existence of many agreements including the Uganda Zaire 1990 Agreement, the 2007 Uganda-DRC Ngurdoto Agreement and others whose main objective was to address the peace and security challenges in the Uganda-DRC border areas through among other things providing for a framework for benefit sharing and conservation of shared resources such as the Lake Albert waters, fish and others have failed to achieve lasting results” Dickens Kamugisha, the Chief Executive officer of the Africa institute for Energy Governance(AFIEGO).

    The CSOs warned that if the Tilenga project is not well handled, it may worsen the conflicts and loss of lives as well as environmental destruction in Uganda and the DRC.

    “We need public hearings to ensure effective public consultations that can build consensus not only among Ugandan stakeholders but also stakeholders across the borders who are likely to be affected by the Tilenga project” said Kamugisha, a lawyer.

    The CSO stated that available evidence indicates that NEMA has the skills and interest to do a good job but it cannot effectively play its role amidst weak and outdated laws.

    It is unfortunate that for over four years, government and parliament have failed or ignored the need to complete the enactment and formulation of the new environmental laws such as the National Environment Bill of 2017, the draft EIA and Strategic Environment Assessment (SEA) regulations of 2017, the Uganda Wildlife Bill and others. Without such relevant laws to among other things improve NEMA’s independence, funding, penalties for environmental offenders, the CSOS stated in their five-paged petition to NEMA.

    It is especially unfortunate that todate, as government and oil companies are finalising major oil decisions that will have long lasting environmental and social impacts, there is no specific provision in our current laws including the 1995 National Environment Act, the Uganda Wildlife Act and others that specifically provides for NEMA to reject oil activities even in the most critical biodiversity areas such as Lake Albert, River Nile, Budongo Forest, Murchison Falls National Park, and others of national and international importance, the petition which was received and stamped by NEMA on 18th October reads in part. Demands

    “NEMA should use its powers not to issue any certificate of approval for oil projects as a condition to force parliament and government to complete the new environmental laws and regulations” the petition stated.

    The CSOs have asked government to establish a multi-stakeholder committee comprised of actors from government, the private sector, religious and cultural groups, CSOs, the academia and others to act as an independent multidisciplinary oversight body to promote compliance with environmental conservation tools such as EIA, SEA, ESIA.

    The CSOs have further asked NEMA to delay any decision to issue a certificate of approval for the Tilenga ESIA until the new environmental laws and regulations are put in place by government and parliament. This will help the country to stop engaging in oil activities based on a weak and outdated environmental legal framework, the petition added.

    The CSOS that petitioned include the Africa institute for Energy Governance (AFIEGO), National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE), Environmental Conservation Trust of Uganda (ECOTRUST), Guild Presidents Forum on Oil Governance (GPFOG), Center for Constitutional Governance (CCG), South Western Center for Policy and Advocacy (SOWIPA), World Voices Uganda (WVU), Community Transformation Foundation Network (COTFONE), Greater, Green Organisation Africa (GOA)-Masindi, Oil Refinery Residents Association (ORRA)-Hoima, Kakindo Orphans Care-Buliisa, Girl Power foundation-Kasese, Friends of Nature-Kasese.

    By Oil in Uganda correspondent, Bunyoro

  • NEMA reviews environmental concerns over Tilenga project

    The National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) is seeking public comments on the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) report for the Tilenga oil project.

    The name Tilenga is derived from two local names for the Uganda Kob (Antelope) which is called “Til” in Acholi and “Engabi” in Runyoro-Rotoro.

    A notice which has been pinned on public notice boards in Buliisa district indicates that NEMA received the ESIA from Total E&P Uganda and Tullow Uganda operations Pty Ltd for the proposed Tilenga project.

    Under the Tilenga project, the Government through its licensed oil companies has discovered commercially viable oil deposits north of Victoria Nile in Murchison falls national park and south of Victoria Nile in Buliisa district.

    The project includes jobi-Rii, Gunya, Ngiri, Kasemene, wahrindi, Nsoga, Kigogole oil fields. Composition According to the project documents which oil in Uganda has seen, the Tilenga project is composed of well pads, a central processing facility and other associated facilities, production and injection network of pipelines and cables, Bugungu airstrip, Tangi operation camp, a water abstraction system, victoria Nile crossing, river Nile pipe crossing and some roads.

    The project also includes temporary construction camps, construction support base, a logistical check point in Masindi and borrow pits.

    “The public is further notified that the outcomes of the public review will contribute towards making a final decision of the project in accordance with the Environment impact assessment regulations” a notice released by the NEMA Executive Director Tom Okurut reads in part.

    According to the notice, members of the public have been asked to submit their comments by November 9th 2018. CSO Petition NEMA 13 civil society organisations have asked NEMA to hold public hearings to enable locals have an input in the studies.

    “It is through public hearings that oil host and affected communities, the poor, marginalised and illiterate will be able to make comments on the ESIA to enable NEMA make a decision based on the collective input of all concerned stakeholders” the CSOs said in a joint letter to the NEMA executive Director.

    According to the CSOs which are working to prevent the impacts of oil on biodiversity from Buliisa, Hoima, Kasese, Greater Masaka, South Western Uganda and Kampala, they are concerned that in the notice, NEMA did not indicate that it will call for public hearings before making any decision on the ESIA.

    The concerns of the CSOs are contained in a letter dated October 17, 2018 which was submitted to NEMA by the AFIEGO Chief Executive Director on behalf of the CSOs.

    The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Regulations of 1998 mandates NEMA to call for a public hearing where there is controversy or where a project has trans boundary impacts, the CSOs argued.

    “The Tilenga oil project is controversial and will have trans boundary impacts. The project’s activities will include drawing of water from Lake Albert, whose boundaries remain a challenge between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). It should be noted that even the existence of many agreements including the Uganda Zaire 1990 Agreement, the 2007 Uganda-DRC Ngurdoto Agreement and others whose main objective was to address the peace and security challenges in the Uganda-DRC border areas through among other things providing for a framework for benefit sharing and conservation of shared resources such as the Lake Albert waters, fish and others have failed to achieve lasting results” Dickens Kamugisha, the Chief Executive officer of the Africa institute for Energy Governance(AFIEGO) said.

    The CSOs warned that if the Tilenga project is not well handled, it may worsen the conflicts and loss of lives as well as environmental destruction in Uganda and the DRC.

    “We need public hearings to ensure effective public consultations that can build consensus not only among Ugandan stakeholders but also stakeholders across the borders who are likely to be affected by the Tilenga project” said Kamugisha, a lawyer.

    The CSO stated that available evidence indicates that NEMA has the skills and interest to do a good job but it cannot effectively play its role amidst weak and outdated laws.

    It is unfortunate that for over four years, government and parliament have failed or ignored the need to complete the enactment and formulation of the new environmental laws such as the National Environment Bill of 2017, the draft EIA and Strategic Environment Assessment (SEA) regulations of 2017, the Uganda Wildlife Bill and others. Without such relevant laws to improve NEMA’s independence, funding and penalties for environmental offenders, NEMA can hardly operate rightfully.

    ‘It is especially unfortunate that todate, as government and oil companies are finalising major oil decisions that will have long lasting environmental and social impacts, there is no specific provision in our current laws including the 1995 National Environment Act, the Uganda Wildlife Act and others that specifically provides for NEMA to reject oil activities even in the most critical biodiversity areas such as Lake Albert, River Nile, Budongo Forest, Murchison Falls National Park, and others of national and international importance,” the petition which was received and stamped by NEMA on 18th October reads in part. Demands

    “NEMA should use its powers not to issue any certificate of approval for oil projects as a condition to force parliament and government to complete the new environmental laws and regulations” the petition stated.

    The CSOs have asked government to establish a multi-stakeholder committee comprised of actors from government, the private sector, religious and cultural groups, CSOs, the academia and others to act as an independent multidisciplinary oversight body to promote compliance with environmental conservation tools such as EIA, SEA, ESIA.

    The CSOs have further asked NEMA to delay any decision to issue a certificate of approval for the Tilenga ESIA until the new environmental laws and regulations are put in place by government and parliament. This will help the country to stop engaging in oil activities based on a weak and outdated environmental legal framework, the petition added.

    By Oil in Uganda correspondent, Bunyoro

  • Panyimur, Nwoya residents’ tales of oil discovery impacts

     

  • UNOC, CNOOC to begin joint oil exploration in 2019

    Uganda National Oil Company Ltd signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with China National Offshore Oil Company (CNOOC) to work together to start a partnership in exploration in the Albertine Graben.

    The MoU was signed by Dr. Josephine Wapakabulo, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) UNOC and Fang Zhi, the Chairman of CNOOC International today in Beijing and was witnessed by HE President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, Hon. Sam Kuteesa, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Mr. William Byaruhanga the Attorney General.

    The MoU indicates that UNOC and CNOOC will work together to develop a block in the Albertine Graben and the two entities intend to start the process of accessing the identified block as soon as possible.

    The purpose of this cooperation is to ensure that more crude oil is discovered to support the projected production profile of already discovered resources that are under development as well as create an avenue for UNOC to grow its exploration capabilities and begin its journey towards a fully-fledged oil company able to perform operatorship roles.

    It is the intention of the two companies to start the process of applying for the identified block in October and start exploration activities as soon as the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development (MEMD) grants them a license.

    It is hoped that the licensing process will not take long and it is planned that the planned activities should start early next year. “UNOC and CNOOC plan to grow their partnership into other operations in and outside of Uganda. UNOC will rely heavily on CNOOC’s experience as a national oil company to grow its capabilities and expertise,” the statement reads in part.

    President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni was pleased with the step UNOC and CNOOC were taking in furthering exploration in the Albertine Graben. Dr Josephine Wapakabulo indicated that UNOC is happy to continue building on a very firm and longstanding relationship between the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of Uganda.

    She confirmed UNOC’s commitment to ensuring sustainable as well commercial exploitation of Uganda’s Crude oil and gas sector. CNOOC, confirmed their continued commitment to Uganda and working with UNOC to ensure national participation as well as supporting UNOC on its journey to operatorship.

    The MoU will be followed by further commercial agreements and it is hoped that these and all relevant approvals will be concluded before end of this year so exploration starts in 2019.

    Edward Ssekika

  • Ministry Moves to Register All Miners

     

    The Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development will biometrically register Uganda’s artisanal and small-scale miners (ASM). This will be in line with a new mineral policy, it says, through its Financial Year 2018/19 policy statement.

    This was revealed and  launched by the Ministry in mid July 2018. The State minister for Minerals, Mr Peter Lokeris,  said the registration is to establish who is involved in artisanal and small-scale mining.

    “You know all minerals belong to the government. But there are some people who know how to spot minerals and start mining illegally,” Mr Lokeris said.

    He added: “This [biometric registration] is meant to streamline [artisanal and small-scale mining] so that we know who is where.” Mr Lokeris said if the government is not in the know who is involved in artisanal and small-scale mining, some of the ASMs could cross borders; mine or sell the illegally mined minerals and conflict.

    Kick off He said the registration is expected to start later this third quarter- in September, although he could not there and then say how much has been budgeted for the exercise. But according to a House Budget Committee May 2018 report, biometric registration of the ASMs will cost $350,000 (about Shs1.3b). Mr Lokeris said the ministry is targeting 1,200 ASMs for a start but would register more and more with time.

    Mr George Onega, a small-scale miner in Busia District, Eastern Uganda, said although he had not been aware of  government’s plans to biometrically register ASMs, he welcomes it. “I support it, 100 per cent. It is very good because if a miner is operating without being known to the government, it will be hard for the government to get royalties,” Mr Onega said.

    Nelson Wesonga, Daily Monitor

    Oil.Uganda@actionaid.org

    http://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/Ministry-moves-register-all-miners/688334-4665060-13mk0y5/index.html

     

     

  • Uganda Petroleum Institute to get University status

     

    One stone at a time: the first, laid by President Museveni, paves the way for great aspirations

    Government is in final stages of upgrading Uganda Petroleum Institute Kigumba (UPIK) to a University status.

    The revelation was made by the Prime Minister of Uganda Dr Ruhakana Rugunda while representing President Museveni at the 24th coronation anniversary celebrations of the Omukama of Bunyoro Kitara.

    Skilling challenges

    Earlier, the Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom Prime Minister Andrew Byakutaga had told the gathering that President Museveni had in April met with the Omukama of Bunyoro at state house in Kampala to deliberate on various development programmes.

    He reported that among others, the President agreed that a public university will become operational at Uganda Petroleum Institute Kigumba (UPIK).

    Uganda’s Prime Minister who represented President Museveni at the celebrations reaffirmed the President’s promise.

    “As Government, we have approved the operationalization of Bunyoro University at Kigumba. Since we have here the minister of Finance, he should expedite a release of the funds when the matter reaches his desk” Rugunda said.

    UPIK

    The Uganda Petroleum Institute Kigumba (UPIK) is a Government Tertiary institution that offers petroleum studies.

    The institute is located in Kigumba town council in Kiryandongo district.It offers a two year diploma course in petroleum engineering.

    According to the UPIK Academic registrar James Bagaya, priority consideration is being given to students who passed science at the Uganda Advanced certificate of Education (UACE). They should have done mathematics, physics, chemistry and technical drawing.

    The students must have sat A Level not more than two years ago or having a national certificate in electrical, mechanical or any other Engineering course.

    He says the students who have a national certificate from a recognized technical institute will be considered under a certificate entry scheme.

    The students should have at least ten points, Bagaya says.

    He said the institute recruits 35 students every academic year. The institute has repeatedly received a barrage of criticism of producing graduates that are not employed in Uganda’s mainstream oil and gas industry.

    Projects

    Uganda’s Finance Minister Matia Kasaija who hails from Bunyoro region and represents Buyanja County in the 10th parliament asked the Kingdom to bring to him proposals for development projects.

    “I have repeatedly asked the Kingdom to bring those proposals to me. Bring them and leave me with a duty to look for funding” he said.

    Preparations

    Uganda has over 6.5 billion barrels of crude oil. The Government’s target is to kick off commercial oil production by 2020.

    Under the Public finance Act, Cultural institutions   are entitled to a 1% share of oil royalties.

    Since last year, the Omukama of Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom has been reorganizing his Kingdom. He instituted a seven-man Royal commission headed by Dr Kabagambe Kaliisa, a retired permanent secretary in the Ministry of Energy, and is currently a Presidential advisor on oil and gas.

    The commission which he heads, does oversight on all Kingdom activities and it advises the Omukama who heads all clans in Bunyoro.

    The discussion on how Bunyoro region can tap in the petroleum industry took centre stage as the Kingdom commemorated the Omukama’s 24th coronation anniversary celebrations.

    The oil-rich Kingdom celebrated 24years since Omukama Dr Solomon Gafabusa Iguru 1 ascended to the throne. The Kingdom covers the districts of Hoima, Kibaale, Kagadi, Kakumiro, Buliisa, Kiryandongo and Masindi.

    By Hoima Correspondent

    Oil.Uganda@actionaid.org

     

     

  • Government to dispose-off crude oil

    The Ugandan government plans to dispose-off crude oil stock that was accumulated during the oil exploration and appraisal phase.

    Over 45,211 barrels of oil were reportedly accumulated during the extended well testing in the Albertine graben in Mid-Western Uganda.

    Extended well tests (EWTs) are used to undertake further evaluation of the productivity and characteristics of reservoirs.

    The tests help oil engineers and technicians in understanding the potential of reservoirs to enable better planning and definition of appropriate field development philosophies and production technologies. The exercise thus helps development engineers and production technicians to pilot future facility designs during actual oil field development and eventual production. Extended well testing also helps to obtain additional production-related data, such as water cut, sand production, and well deliverability.

    The oil that was collected during the extended well testing is currently stored in bitutainers at oil well sites of Kasemene 1, Ngara 1 and Ngiri 2, all in Buliisa district. More oil is stored at Tangi Camp area in Nwoya district, Acholi sub-region.

    Some locals in the oil-rich Bunyoro region have been suspicious about oil tankers that have been moving in and out of the Albertine graben. There has been speculation that the tankers could be siphoning oil out of the oil fields. Government and oil firms have repeatedly denied the accusations.

    “Those speculations have been common and Government needs to come out clearly and transparently to explain what those tankers transport,” said Biira Nasser Kiwanuka, the Executive Director of Midwestern region Anti- corruption Coalition (MIRAC), a Bunyoro regional anti- corruption agency.

    Oil in Uganda has learnt that Uganda National Oil Company (UNOC) Ltd is sourcing for companies that can purchase the 45,211 barrels of test crude in the Albertine graben.

    UNOC’s overall function is to handle the State’s commercial interests in the oil and gas sub-sector and ensure that the resource is exploited in a sustainable manner in order enable realization of benefits for the current and future generations.

    UNOC, as per the Petroleum (Exploration, Development and Production) Act and the Petroleum (Refining, Conversion, Transmission and Midstream) Act, both of 2013, is mandated to operate across the petroleum value chain (upstream, midstream and downstream).

    Purchase for test oil up for grabs

    The application process for interested firms in the purchase of the test crude oil is on-going and the deadline is July 10th this year, Oil in Uganda has learnt.

    The applications are being submitted to the office of the UNOC Head of Procurement and logistics which is located at Amber house in Kampala.

    The companies are required to present a crude oil stabilization plan including technology that will be used.

    According to a procurement notice reference number UNOC/Disposal/17-18/001, the companies interested in purchasing the crude should make formal applications to UNOC.

    -“Buyers must demonstrate the provision of suitably insulated and certified containers for transportation of heated test crude oil”, the notice reads in part.

    -The buyers are required to provide the oil spill response plans and all vehicles being fitted with -kits and attachment of contractor personnel who will be trained on how to use them.

    The buyers must have off-loading and feed pumps plus heaters.

    -The buyer must demonstrate Quality, Health, Safety, and Environment (QHSE) management system, procedure/plans for journey management, incident management and spill response, the notice further reads.

    The UNOC Communication Officer, Ms. Angella Kariisa said test crude was initially meant to be burnt through flaring during the well-testing activities.

    “Government decided that is was not good for the environment so the practice of flaring was stopped. We therefore thought it would be in the country’s best interest to sell it and make some money off it”, she said.

    Asked how much money UNOC anticipates to earn from the test crude, Kariisa was non-committal.

    “We are working to get the best price possible”, she said.

    The Buliisa County Member of Parliament, Hon. Stephen Birahwa Mukitale welcomed the disposal of the crude oil.

    “It allays fears and suspicions from people who have been alleging that the oil was already being sold off,” said Hon. Mukitale, whose home is in Kisansya cell, Buliisa Town Council, where Kasemene oil field is located.

    Asked about the feeling of the locals about the sale of the crude, Mukitale said the people he represents do not have any issues with it.

    “It is procedurally right for government to dispose-off public assets that they are not using. That crude was used for study purposes. The purpose has been achieved”, he said.

    He however suggested that such crude could have been used by Ugandan industries as heavy fuel for running heavy duty power generators. He added that the major focus of his constituents who host more than 28 oil wells is the next phase of development and production. They are interested in being aligned with the developments so as to gain more benefits overall.

    By Oil in Uganda Correspondent

    Oil.Uganda@actionaid.org

     

  • Buliisa leaders want audience with President Museveni over oil impacts

     

    Ngwedo sub-county leaders voting on a compensation process for their properties during oil developments

    Buliisa district leaders resolved to seek audience with President Museveni to share their concerns regarding the oil and gas development impacts in their midst.

    They also want to lay strategies of reaping more benefits from the ongoing oil and gas developments.

    During a district dialogue engagement held on 20th February 2018 at the district headquarters, the leaders said they have a wide range of concerns over the oil industry which they want to discuss with the head of state.

    This followed sharing of numerous issues generated through a series of dialogues undertaken in the sub-counties and town council of Buliisa from throughout the month

    The district dialogue was thus a next step engagement that was supported by ActionAid Uganda and organized by Buliisa Initiative for Rural Development Organization (BIRUDO) and Lake Albert Children, Women Advocacy Development Organization (LACWADO) in partnership with Bunyoro Albertine Petroleum Network on Environmental Conservation (BAPENECO) and the civil Society Coalition on Oil and Gas issues (CSCO). The issues shared generated a lot of debate and some recommendations.

    Challenges Faced in Buliisa

    There are many unresolved problems that were raised by local communities. For example, the Buliisa Sub-county Chairperson, Lt. (Rtd) Kubalirwa Nkuba said many residents have filed cases against oil companies operating in the district but the cases take long to be resolved thereby creating uncertainties.

    “This breeds anger and anxiety in the population, he said. Oil cases should be expeditiously handled by a special tribunal or court, he recommended.

    Mr. Julius Manyireki, a District Councilor representing people with disabilities said since oil was discovered in the district, several meetings have been held between locals and oil companies but despite this, issues raised remain persistent.

    The leaders unanimously agreed that matters affecting residents need to be brought to the attention of the President and seek his intervention sooner than later before conflicts on the ground get worse.

    The leaders decried the increasing cases of land grabbing, difficulty by locals to secure jobs and contracts in oil companies as well as irregularities in the process of compensating people whose land and properties are affected by oil and gas infrastructural projects.

    “We need a comprehensive skilling programme supported by Government and oil companies because our people need skills to join the oil industry,” said Isaac Nkuba, the Chairperson of Buliisa District NGO Forum.

    He shared that there is limited involvement and participation of local communities in decision making on matters regarding people’s livelihoods in relation to petroleum developments.

    He emphasized that, “the people are being left behind only to face impacts like poor compensation, lack of information, and threat to livelihood options among others”.

    He argued that many people feel alienated and this can easily result in confusion and conflicts thereby creating friction between the people and the oil developments.

    Regarding capacity building of local youth, he proposed the need for a deliberate Government programme of equipping existing schools in the district with equipment and science teachers who deserve a hard to stay allowance in order to motivate them to work comfortably in the district.

    Women’s Concerns

    Ms. Magdalena Namutebi, the Biiso Sub-county Councilor proposed a gender sensitive approach in handling oil matters.

    “The women have been sidelined. We need affirmative action,” she said. She called for an increased number of scholarships in oil courses to be awarded to girls and women to get entrepreneurship skills to enable them compete in oil businesses.

    Jane Akugizibwe concurred with Namutebi about the skilling approach.

    “Let us lobby oil companies and Government to set up a vocational training institute for women.Oil companies should also provide loans to women at low interest rates because many women are failing to pay back loans in commercial banks that have high interest rates,” Akugizibwe emphasised.

    Oil infrastructure

    The district will host one of the two oil Central Processing facilities (CPF) and infield pipelines that will evacuate crude oil from various oil fields located in the park and within the communities into the CPF. The feeder pipeline will also move from Buliisa district to Kabaale Parish in Hoima district where Government plans to set up a holding terminal for crude oil and an oil refinery among other infrastructure. Crude oil for export will be fed into an East African crude oil export pipeline which was launched in November, 2017 by President Museveni of Uganda and his Tanzanian counterpart President John Pombe Magufuli.

    Demands

    The Buliisa District Chairperson, Hon. Agaba Simon Kinene said leaders and project affected persons need Government support to visit oil producing countries for learning and sharing experiences. “We should position ourselves to tap the dollars that will accrue from the oil and gas production” he said.

    This can only happen if we get more exposed to how oil and gas undertakings operate and how local communities can be strategically linked to the same to enable them gain better benefits, he added.

    He asked oil companies and NGOs to regularly hold engagements with various stakeholders in the district for information sharing as well as creation of platforms for discussing issues openly thereby enabling consensus building.

    He pointed out that Buliisa district is highly impoverished despite being the host of huge oil resources. He thus requested that livelihood improvement programmes in the district need to be enhanced in order to improve the welfare of people affected by oil developments. This, according to him, will be very helpful in addressing many challenges that the people are facing and will enable management of their expectations overall.

    The District Chairman greatly appreciated the support by ActionAid for the dialogues that were organized from the Lower Local governments and linked the discussions with the Higher Local Government (district level).

    “I thank ActionAid for partnering with Government in a positive way”, said the Buliisa Resident District Commissioner  Mr. Peter Bisoborwa.

    He pointed out that there are many escalating land conflicts in the district and urged the people to revive their traditional justice system of resolving conflicts amicably instead of always rushing to court where challenges of case backlog and adjournments affect expeditious access to justice.

    While commenting on the proposal by leaders to meet the President, he advised that the District Council should sit with Members of parliament who hail from the district and make a joint write up which he will forward to the President’s office for further action.

    “Give me your resolution with reasons why you need to meet His Excellency and I will forward it” he said.

    He encouraged all participants to remain vigilant and play their part in ensuring that the oil and gas project is protected. He also pointed out that the government is committed to ensuring peaceful resolution of issues and that it is important for the people to maintain the peace in order for development to happen in Buliisa.

    Oil in Uganda correspondent, Bunyoro and Didas Muhumuza

    OilinUganda@actionaid.org