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Governance

  • Puppets spread information and, hopefully, peace in Ruwenzori

    FORT PORTAL: Inside a colonial style bungalow, partitioned into several rooms, the largest space is devoted to rows of shelves containing books, magazines and leaflets on petroleum. The library, its staff say, receives about 20 visits a day from people seeking information on Uganda’s newly discovered oil to know what is happening in the oil sector and how to benefit.

    This is the initiative of the Kabarole Research and Resource Centre (KRRC), based in Fort Portal, which has set out to sensitize the people in the Ruwenzori sub-region about Uganda’s newly discovered oil, so they will know how to benefit from the petro dollars while also holding their leaders accountable in use of public resources.

    The centre serves the six districts of Kabarole, Kasese, Bundibugyo, Ntoroko, Kyenjojo, Kamwenge and Kyegegwa, which have a joint population of around 2.5 million people. Read More

  • Ghana: a long road to managing petroleum resources

    Uganda plans to create a Petroleum Authority to regulate the oil industry and a National Oil Company to partner with international oil companies in extracting and marketing the resources. In a second report from Ghana, Oil in Uganda staff writer, Chris Musiime, describes the role and evolution of similar institutions in that country. Whilst at first sight Ghana appears to have followed a ‘fast track’ from oil discovery to oil production, this report shows that in fact the country has a long history both of oil exploration and of efforts to develop an institutional framework to manage the industry. Read More

  • Cultural leaders’ demands could cause conflict, analysts say

    Growing demands from cultural leaders for a share of oil revenues could spark ethnic conflicts among marginalized communities in mineral rich areas of Uganda, analysts say.

    “If communities begin demanding higher percentages, it will set precedents. Mineral sites may bring conflicts as they start fighting for their shares of royalties. Far from bringing wealth and health, we may not get political hygiene but ethnic politics,” according to Makerere University History and Development Studies don, Ndebesa Mwebestya. Read More

  • Image: Alpha Oil company application

    Alpha Oil was never “lucky,” says director; but mysteries remain

    The co-owners’ application to form Alpha Oil was submitted in November 2005 and approved one month later

    “How could you say we were ‘lucky?,’” complains Richard Kaijuka, referring to Oil in Uganda’s June 5 article, Dominion pull-out begs questions about mysterious Ugandan oil company.  “I can tell you that Alpha Oil [the mysterious company in question] did not make even one dollar out of this.”

    Mr. Kaijuka does not contest any of the facts in the published story—which revealed that Alpha stood to take five percent of any profits from petroleum discovered in a Lake Edward Exploration Area—but, in an interview last week, he explained some of the background to the company. Read More

  • Activists dispute improved transparency claim

    Civil society groups have challenged a recent news report on increased transparency in Uganda’s oil sector and repeated their call for the government to publish all oil deals. 

    An article that appeared in The New Vision on June 30 noted in its headline that “Government discloses oil deals.” However, campaigners argue, only limited information—on petroleum royalty rates—has been released to MPs. Read More

  • Makerere professor criticises MPs as they seek oil sector role

    While the Natural Resources Committee of Uganda’s parliament scrutinises the draft petroleum bills tabled in February, an ad hoc parliamentary committee set up last year is investigating allegations of corruption in the oil sector. MPs evidently feel they have an important role to play.  But what should that role be? Read More

  • 1955 Bunyoro Agreement signing

    Colonial agreement on resources still stands, says Bunyoro king

    September, 1955: Omukama Sir Tito Gafabusa Winyi IV and Sir Andrew Cohen, Governor of the Uganda Protectorate, sign a ‘Bunyoro Agreement’ that, the kingdom claims, remains valid today. (Picture: www.san-luigi.org)

    In an exclusive interview with Oil in Uganda, the Omukama (King) of Bunyoro, Solomon Gafabusa Iguru, and his principal private secretary, Yoram Nsamba, continue to press the kingdom’s claims for a much larger share in oil revenues than the central government appears ready to grant.

    They argue that a 1955 agreement between the then colonial Governor of Uganda and the then Omukama  guarantees the kingdom a substantial share in revenues from mineral resource extraction and continues to have legal validity.

    They add that international oil companies have promised much by way of support for the Bunyoro region, but that this has translated into “negligible” action. They further complain that outsiders are “distorting our culture.”

    Key excerpts appear below, followed by a historical note putting the 1955 agreement in context. Read More

  • This is as close as one can approach Ondiek well without attracting the attention of security guards.  (NY)

    No reason to delay on transparency, says former UK aid minister

    Uganda should lose no time in signing up to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), which requires companies and governments publicly to disclose oil and mining payments and revenues, former UK Secretary of State for International Development, Clare Short, told a group of journalists and civil society organisation leaders in Kampala yesterday.

    “Nothing is stopping Uganda from acting now,” said Ms. Short, who has served as Chair of EITI’s Board of Directors since 2011. “You could start tomorrow.  It’s always good to start before oil starts flowing, because then you’ve got transparency from the start.” Read More

  • Dominion pull-out begs questions about mysterious Ugandan oil company

    The withdrawal of Dominion Uganda Ltd from exploration around Lake Edward—an area which, according to independent petroleum geologists, may hold between 90 million and 1.1 billion barrels of oil—leaves a plethora of unanswered questions swirling around an industry that, in Uganda, remains no more transparent than a dollop of waxy crude.

    Why did Dominion pull out?  What happened to a ‘Letter of Intent’ its parent company, UK-based Ophir Energy, signed in March 2012 with Canadian wildcatter, Octant Energy Corp., giving Octant an 80 percent share in, and operatorship of, Exploration Area 4B?  Did the government of Uganda approve these deals?  And where does this leave the mysterious Alpha Oil—a Ugandan owned company that, in one of the sector’s best kept secrets, for many years held a 5 percent stake in Exploration Area 4B? Read More

  • No development plan for the oil region, officials admit

    As midwestern Uganda gears up for oil production that will entail billions of dollars in investments, a range of central government officials interviewed by Oil in Uganda admit that there is no overall development plan for the region, and no mechanism for coordinating the efforts of different departments. Read More