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  • Gradual development of higher-level oil training

    Tullow Oil Uganda’s General Manager, Jimmy Mugerwa. Many Ugandans are going overseas to obtain qualifications to compete for jobs like his.

    With Uganda continuing to discover more oil and slowly moving towards oil production, many top jobs in the industry will be up for grabs.

    But who is going to take up these top posts considering that few Ugandans have the qualifications needed? With an eye to future opportunities, forward-looking Ugandans have been applying to internationally recognized universities for further studies.

    In Uganda, three higher education institutions—Makerere, Nkumba, and Uganda Christian University (UCU)—now offer petroleum-related studies at some level. UCU has begun with optional courses for students studying other subjects, while Nkumba is offering a two-year diploma course and a three-year Bachleor’s degree. Makerere, ranked ninth in Africa, has key departments in Geology and Petroleum Studies and will this year offer, for the first time, a Masters degree in Petroleum Geosciences. Read More

  • Image: foundation stone at Kigumba

    Oil training site develops fast, but jobs are still uncertain

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

    KIGUMBA, KIRYANDONGO DISTRICT:A foundation stone  laid last October by President  Museveni on a 200 acre plot, about four kilometres outside Kigumba town,  is all there is so far to mark a permanent home for the Uganda Petroleum Institute, Kigumba.

    But construction is going on nearby, with several sturdy blocks of temporary classrooms, dormitories and laboratories already complete, and expected to be ready for a new intake of students in March of this year. Read More

  • UCU ramps up oil and gas training capacity

    The oldest building at the UCU campus. The university is looking to the future with new oil courses.

    Uganda Christian University, one of the country’s oldest and most prestigious higher education institutions, is seeking to develop petroleum management expertise through an Oil and Gas Leadership Institute which is expected to evolve into a fully fledged department. Established in 2010 and currently housed within the university’s School of Research and Postgraduate Studies, the institute is the product of a visit to the University of Queensland in Australia in 2009.

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  • Image: Christmas turkey

    So you think you know about oil? And want to be a millionaire?

    For this young man, a bird on the shoulder is worth more than a barrel of oil in the bush (Photo: NY)

    The Oil in Uganda team extends warm, seasonal greetings to all our readers.  Also, to entertain you in between bouts of feasting, we have prepared a little quiz to test your general knowledge of oil  in Uganda and beyond.  Doing the quiz won’t, alas, make you a millionaire, but you may glean some interesting–and some shocking–facts. The answers to the following twenty questions appear at the end of the text—together with a ‘performance assessment’ depending on how many questions you answered correctly. Read More

  • Image: Moses Arupei

    Uganda’s first batch of oil trainees cannot find work

    Moses Arupei has plenty of certificates, but no job.

    Thirty Ugandans who recently returned from Trinidad, where they received six months’ practical training to follow up on a two-year vocational course at the Uganda Petroleum Institute Kigumba, now find themselves unemployed and uncertain how to find a foothold in Uganda’s nascent oil industry.

    “At this age you can’t really stay home and depend on people again; it’s really hard,” says thirty year old Moses Arupei, who came back from the Caribbean oil and gas producing island with three globally recognised vocational qualifications, but has not been able to land a job. Read More

  • U.S.A. to fund oil management training in Uganda

    The United States government through its donor agency U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) plans to finance the creation of energy-management Doctorate and Master’s degree programs at Makerere University to help “current and future Ugandan professionals” and others to develop expertise “in sound environmental management and biodiversity conservation in relation to oil and gas development.” Read More

  • Picture: Hoima farmer, Sayuni, tending cabbages

    Private-sector approach brings oil opportunities to Hoima farmers

    Hoima farmer, Sayuni, tends cabbages she hopes to sell to the oil camps. (Photo: C. Sirisena)

    Farmers in oil-rich Hoima District were keen to sell produce to the camps accommodating oil workers in the district, but didn’t know how—and for several years the camps sourced their food from Kampala or even overseas.  Now, with the camps set to expand as Uganda moves towards oil production, the door has been  prised open by Traidlinks, a non-profit organisation backed by some of Ireland’s leading businesses, including Tullow Oil.  Chantal Sirisena reports. 

    HOIMA DISTRICT: “Accessing the new market was difficult,” says Paul Kasaija, a farmer in Hoima. “We were asking ourselves – why can’t we supply [the oil camps]?  Why does produce have to come from South Africa and elsewhere?”

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  • Drilling below the surface of Uganda’s oil industry

    If you thought Uganda’s fledgling oil industry was all about Tullow, Total and CNOOC, think again. Those companies own rights to explore for and extract the resources, but their operations depend on an army of contractors. Some specialist contractors—such as Halliburton, Baker Hughes, Schlumberger or Saipem—are huge corporations in their own right, with multi-billion dollar annual turnovers. Others are more modest, locally grown enterprises. Contractors do everything from supplying, transporting and operating the drilling rigs, mixing chemical lubricants and sealants to pour down the holes, building pipelines and refineries (if Uganda ever gets round to that), insuring the operations against environmental and/or legal catastrophe . . .  right down to laundering the oilmen’s clothes and making their lunches.

    Chantal Sirisena and Allan Ssempebwa spent the month of August exploring this wider sector. Recently published, in our OIL PLAYERS|OIL INDUSTRY  section, are their results: profiles of 23 oil industry contractors, great and small, headquartered in Milan, London, Houston, Cracow or Kampala, doing business in Uganda. Below, the authors summarise and reflect on their findings.

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  • 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

  • Nkumba University gets first foot on oil training ladder

    Uganda’s oil discovery has created market openings in several sectors, and universities are among those seeing opportunities, aiming to create petroleum courses that can supply professionally qualified technical and managerial staff.

    For a long time only Makerere University’s Department of Geology and Petroleum Sciences offered a petroleum-related qualification: a Bachelors degree in Geology. Yet before the discovery of oil in 2006, its graduates had few chances to work in a relevant field and some were forced to move on to other fields.

    Things have now changed. Read More