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  • Image: RVR repairs

    Working together: good idea, but hard to do

    Repairs to the railway network operated by RVR in Kenya and Uganda: a modest start to getting the region ready for oil production. (Photo: WMC Africa)

    A regional deal on oil infrastructure would likely be in the best interests of all East Africa’s players—but it doesn’t seem likely to happen, writes Chris Musiime in this special report, which will appear in our fourth print newsletter.

    With the recent oil discoveries in Kenya, confirmed commercial quantities in Uganda and prospecting under way in Somalia and Ethiopia (as well as huge gas discoveries in Tanzania, which is also prospecting for oil), some estimates indicate that East Africa could soon be producing upwards of a million barrels of oil per day. Read More

  • 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

  • Kenya sets tough terms for next oil acreage licensing round

    Kenya’s Prime Minister Raila Odinga is set to contest for the Presidency in March. Oil revenue will be key to the success of the incoming government’s programmes.

    Any oil company intending to acquire an oil exploration licence in Kenya will have to present audited – accounts showing a minimum cash balance of at least one hundred million dollars. Successful bidders will be required to part with a signature bonus of one million dollars, as well as spend at least half a million dollars on “Community Development Projects” in Kenya every year. The oil companies will also have to spend a minimum of 200,000 dollars per year on training Kenyans to equip them with skills for the oil and gas industry.

    Speaking to Oil in Uganda in an exclusive interview in Nairobi last week, Kenya’s Commissioner for Petroleum Energy, Martin Mwaisakenyi Heya, revealed that Kenya had decided to take measures to discourage smaller oil companies from entering its oil and gas sector. Read More

  • Proper revenue management, infrastructure development top agenda at regional oil and gas forum

    South Sudan’s Hon. Mary Jervase Yak  chats with Uganda’s Prof. Edward Rugumayo at the forum (Photo: Wandera Ouma)

    Key speakers at the ongoing regional forum on oil and gas in Kampala have emphasised the need for proper management of oil revenues as the East African Region prepares to join the world’s oil and gas producers.

    While opening the forum, Uganda’s Finance Minister, Hon. Maria Kiwanuka, stressed that oil revenues should be used to boost the sustainability of other productive sectors. “We want the black gold underground to facilitate the green gold above the ground”, she said. “Agriculture and tourism are all renewable resources vital to our economy. They need good financing for sustainability”. Read More

  • Image: Bukenya Matovu

    “As soon as the president assents, everything will be in motion”

    Bukenya Matovu, Senior Assistant Secretary in the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development

    What are the next steps in establishing the Petroleum Authority and National Oil Company mandated by the upstream Petroleum Bill passed at the end of last year?  Why has the president, who repeatedly intervened to push the bill through parliament, not yet got round to signing it?  When will the government invite bids from companies keen to take up new exploration licences?   What are the prospects for East African countries to come up with a joint, win-win, oil infrastructure development plan?  And with so much oil and gas prospecting in the region, can Uganda be sure that there will be a local export market for products from the country’s planned oil refinery?  These are the among the questions addressed by Mr. Bukenya Matovu, Senior Assistant Secretary in the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development and the ministry’s main spokesperson , in the following, exclusive interview, transcribed in full. Read More

  • Image: the Ondiek exploration well

    Hope and frustration in Nebbi, Uganda’s new oil frontier

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

    PANYIMUR SUB-COUNTY, NEBBI DISTRICT:   “It came around Christmas time” says Sylvester Odongo, LC-1 chairman of Abok village, referring to the red and white drilling rig that towers over the bush a few hundred metres from his compound of four, grass-thatched huts.

    It doesn’t trouble them much in the day, he adds—except that when villagers get close to the fenced-off rig, to tend their gardens of cassava and cotton, security guards order them away. Then, at dusk, extra generators kick in to light up the 24-7 drilling operation.  “The noise is terrible and it’s really hard to sleep” the tired chairman complains. Read More

  • Exclusive: Total makes new oil discovery in Nwoya

    The landscape in Nwoya District where Total has found more oil.

    Total S.A. has made a new discovery of oil in Nwoya District, according to a senior member of the government, although details remain sketchy and no official announcement has been made.

    State Minister for Minerals, Peter Lokeris, revealed the news a week ago in an exclusive interview with Oil in Uganda. “Now that [new] oil has been discovered in Nwoya, the company should improve the infrastructure and create job opportunities,” he said. 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.

    Read More

  • MP Ssekikubo, leading critic of oil bill, arrested

    Lwemiyaga MP Theodore Ssekikubo

    Member of Parliament, Theodore Ssekikubo (NRM Lwemiyaga), a vocal critic of the petroleum bill recently passed by Uganda’s parliament, was arrested last night on charges of “inciting violence” according to national media.

    Hon. Ssekikubo, who chairs the Parliamentary Forum on Oil and Gas, was reportedly arrested on Bombo Road in Kampala at around 9pm.   He had previously been summoned to appear in court on charges of inciting violence at Christ the King church during a requiem mass for the late Cerinah Nebanda, Read More