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  • Ghana set to join the league of big African oil producers

    Oil and gas are likely to play an ever more prominent role in Ghana’s fast-growing economy following new discoveries both in the Jubilee field and the Tano Basin.

    Italian giant Eni, made a major discovery last month in the offshore Cape Three Points block, some 50 kilometres from the coast. Eni is continuing to drill other wells to confirm the feasibility of commercial development, but the production test revealed that this new well is capable of producing about 5,000 high quality barrels of oil per day (bpd). Read More

  • Image: Lake Malawi border map

    Oil fuels border disputes over Lake Malaŵi and Ilemi Triangle

    Source: www.tzaffairs.org

    Oil and gas discovers in East Africa have re-ignited long-standing territorial disputes in areas believed to possess significant petroleum deposits.

    This week, Malaŵi announced it would take Tanzania to the International Court of Justice in The Hague, Netherlands, over the disputed ownership of Lake Malaŵi, known in Tanzania as Lake Nyasa.

    Tanzania claims that colonial era treaties between Great Britain and Germany demarcated the border down the middle of the lake but since independence Malaŵi has claimed sovereignty over the whole of its northern reaches. Read More

  • oil paint by Ismael Kateregga

    Analysis: Despite ‘new’ oil, government and companies remain deadlocked over refinery; Tullow’s woes accumulate

    TOTAL MAY BE SET TO MOVE CENTRESTAGE IN UGANDA'S OIL INDUSTRY (Painting: Untitled, oil on canvas, by Ismael Kateregga)

    The international oil companies licensed to develop Uganda’s oilfields submitted a joint ‘field development plan’ to the government last Thursday, but rapid agreement on the plan is unlikely, given continuing differences over the size of the proposed refinery.

    Whilst CNOOC has made no public comment, Tullow and Total representatives say they do not object to a refinery in principle but feel that it should be a modest one, able to process 25,000-30,0000 barrels of crude per day (bpd). That would be enough to supply Uganda with petroleum products. The remaining crude, the companies say, should go in an export pipeline to the East African coast. Read More

  • Tema_thumb

    Uganda needs a refinery, despite our problems, say Ghanaians

    Visiting Ghana, a historic seed-bed of pan-Africanism, Oil in Uganda staff writer, Chris Musiime, found strong support for President Yoweri Museveni’s determination to establish a Ugandan oil refinery, in an effort to break the raw material export mould that has characterised—many would say, trapped—African economies since independence.

    Ghana’s Tema Oil Refinery: expensive and inefficient, critics say, but the Government of Ghana appears committed to keeping it going.

    Some key figures in Ghana are urging Uganda to set up its own oil refinery, so as to reap maximum benefits from the country’s oil resources—even though Ghana’s own refinery experience has proved costly and contentious.

    Hon. Kwabena Appiah-Pinkrah, the Member of Parliament from Akrofuomi in the gold-rich Ashanti Region, points out that for the entire Ugandan population to benefit, there must be value-addition to the crude oil from within Uganda. Read More

  • Pie chart: Ghana mining revenues (2009)

    Ghana: taking revenue transparency seriously

    Source: Ghana EITI aggregated report, 2009. EITI yearly reports give detailed information on revenue flows to government, broken down by company, sector, type and destination of receipts.

    In a fifth report from Ghana, Oil in Uganda staff writer, Chris Musiime, describes the country’s efforts to institutionalise transparency in the handling of revenues from oil and mining industries.

    Mismanagement of revenues from the extraction of natural resources is widely cited as a major factor leading to the much-feared “resource curse”—the paradox that countries with an abundance of natural resources tend to have slower economic growth and, in many cases, more instability, than their less endowed counterparts.

    To avoid this, Ghana joined the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) in 2003, as a way of tracking revenues from its minerals trade, eventually extending the practice to the oil and gas industry in 2010. Read More

  • Image: Ghana's FPSO

    Ghana: the environmental costs of oil

    The Kwame Nkrumah Floating Production, Storage and Offloading facility in Ghana’s offshore Jubilee Field, operated by Tullow and partners. The powerful lights attract fish into a ‘safety zone’ that local fishermen cannot enter, and some fishermen complain of health problems associated with excessive gas flaring. (Photo: Tom Fowler)

    Oil production worldwide has been synonymous with environmental damage, and Ghana is proving to be no exception. Oil in Uganda staff writer, Chris Musiime, reports from Takoradi, Ghana’s coastal ‘oil city,’ two hundred kilometres south west of Accra.

    Oil production 60 kilometres offshore has created problems for the environment and the locals, according to Solomon Kusi Ampofo, the Program Officer in charge of the Extractives Industry at Friends of the Nation (FON), an environmental NGO based in Takoradi.

    “Since the exploration and subsequent production of oil, nine whales have been washed ashore the coast in Jomoro and Ellembelle Districts,” he says.  Read More

  • Image: Ghana's FPSO

    Ghana: coping with gas

    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

  • 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

  • Ghana: the mixed blessing of rapid oil production

    Oil in Uganda staff writer, Chris Musiime, visited Ghana in July to discover what Uganda might learn from that country’s experience of oil and gas. In the first of a series of reports, he notes that the government was in a hurry to get oil flowing, yet civil society activists regret the relative haste of the progression from discovery to production.

    In June 2007, Tullow Oil announced that it had found oil at Cape Three Points, off Ghana’s coast. Three months later, the U.S. firm, Kosmos, made a second discovery in the same area. The country had finally struck oil in commercial quantities, burying the disappointments of the 1970s when announcements by earlier regimes turned out to be too optimistic. Read More

  • Image: Lake Kivu

    Rwanda offers exploration deal, Tanzania opens up Serengeti

    Lake Kivu: full of stored methane and carbon dioxide; maybe oil-rich too (Picture: www.lakescientist.com)

    The government of Rwanda is negotiating an oil Production Sharing Agreement with a small Canadian company, Vanoil Energy, according to Dr. Michael Biryabarema, Director General for Mines and Geology in the Ministry of Natural Resources, speaking to The New Times newspaper.

    Vanoil has been surveying the Lake Kivu Graben since 2007, following oil discoveries in Uganda’s geologically related Albertine Graben. The company is now analysing the results of 2D seismic data gathered during short-term Technical Evaluation Agreements with Rwanda.

    Dr. Biryaberema says the government has now sent Vanoil a draft Production Sharing Agreement for review. It is expected to award the company exclusive exploration rights over a 1,631 square kilometre area for a period of five years. Read More