In the third of a series of reports from Ghana, Oil in Uganda staff writer, Chris Musiime, explains how the gas that accompanies oil discoveries can be a nuisance, and how Ghana finally overcame the problem.
“The bad news is that they didn’t find oil, but the good news is that they didn’t find gas either!”
This ironic witticism is recounted by John Peter Amewu at the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration in Accra, where he is teaching a summer school course in oil and gas for 46 participants from various African countries. He explains that, although countries like Mozambique and Tanzania have found sufficiently huge gas fields to make commercial extraction highly lucrative, energy explorers generally hate to encounter more gas than oil, especially in Africa, where the gas distribution system is not developed. Read More
A firm contracted by the government to design a resettlement and compensation package for people displaced by the Hoima oil refinery project expects to conclude its initial study this week, according to the contractor, Strategic Friends International (SFI).
“We are finishing a field study of the area this week. We shall then embark on writing up the findings and hand over the final resettlement study to the government in September,” Koseya Wambaka, SFI’s head of operations, told Oil in Uganda. Read More
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
Uganda’s proposed National Oil Company will have the right to acquire a 15 percent stake in the oil fields that Tullow Oil, TOTAL and CNOOC are developing, according to Eoin Mekie, Tullow’s General Manager in Uganda, speaking exclusively to Oil in Uganda.
The arrangement was included in the agreements signed between Tullow and the government in early February, in defiance of a parliamentary moratorium on further oil contracts.
Mr. Mekie welcomes the creation of a National Oil Company, saying that “It will certainly cement our relationship with the government once we actually start working alongside them.” He adds that Tullow, CNOOC and TOTAL are ready to build the capacity of a National Oil Company that may also want to take up exploration options in other blocks when new licensing rounds begin.
However, Mr. Mekie also reveals that the government has “not yet shared its refinery plans” with the international oil companies, and that the companies and government need to reach “a concensus on what a basin-wide development will look like over the next five to ten years.” Read More
Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development sources confirm that they have commissioned a private company to design a compensation and resettlement package for residents of Kabaale parish, in Hoima District’s Buseruka sub-county, who will be displaced by the 29 square kilometre refinery complex to be built there.
It’s not going to be an easy job for the consultants.
Since the discovery of oil, the trickle of informal settlers has been swollen by a veritable tide of hopefuls. Many of them have taken up fishing on Lake Albert.
Now, as news of the refinery spreads, longer term residents tell Oil in Uganda that more people are arriving every day, hoping to catch some crumbs from the compensation cake.
Land tenure in the area is largely informal, relying on deals with local leaders and between private individuals, so it will be no simple matter to work out who ‘owns’ what.
The five pen-portraits that follow illustrate the human complexity of an area that will soon be covered in concrete. Read More
Just over a month after Tullow Oil’s Ngamia-1 exploration well in Kenya found significant deposits of oil, the company has announced that it has now drilled the same well deeper, encountering five times more oil than the initial find. Read More
BUSERUKA, HOIMA DISTRICT: Lawrence Ozelle pushes aside his tool box and steps forward to confront us as we photograph Kyapaloni market—a trading centre in Kabaale parish, Buseruka sub-county, some twenty kilometre west of Hoima town
“Who are you people?” he demands. “Do you want to steal our land?”
Ever since oil was discovered nearby, the locals say, they have had no peace. Strangers come to Kabaale on a daily basis. Some promise development, while others come and go quietly.
A promising oil discovery in north-western Kenya, announced yesterday by Tullow Oil Plc, may have consequences for Uganda’s oil production plans, according to a seasoned international energy expert consulted by Oil in Uganda.
“The more oil they find in this region the more difficult it will be to defend building a refinery in every country,” said the source.
Uganda’s 2008 oil and gas policy pledged the construction of an oil refinery to maximise the value-addition benefits of national oil production. Two weeks ago the government announced the demarcation of a 29 km2 site for the refinery and related installations in Buseruka sub-county of Hoima district. Read More
BULIISA DISTRICT: Forty five-year-old fisherman, Blazio Sempangere, smiles with satisfaction as he smears salt over his catch on a drying stall at Wanseko landing point on the shore of Lake Albert.
“For years, sun-drying, smoking and salting were the only ways we had to preserve fish,” he says. “We often lost a lot of our catch due to rotting. Sometimes there is no sun and sometimes the salt is too expensive.”
Primitive methods and long distances from markets meant poverty for fishing communities on the shores of Lake Albert. According to the Uganda Bureau of Statistics, 30% of Ugandans live below the national poverty line, but in Buliisa District the figure is 70%.
But things are changing fast for the local fishing industry as a result of oil prospecting in the area. Read More