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  • 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

  • Image: John Nagenda

    “The President cannot know everything”

    Nagenda: "annoyed" with donors, "tired of everything ending up in the hands of the president"

    President Museveni’s long-serving senior media adviser, John Nagenda, freely admits that he knows more about cricket than oil.   Yet, he tells Oil in Uganda in this exclusive interview, Ugandans are perhaps too inclined to forge ahead without advice—and none more so than the president.  Oil could transform Uganda, he argues, but more parliamentary oversight would help prevent abuse, and it needs to be treated as a national resource.

    Read More

  • 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: Irene Sekyana

    New leadership for civic oil coalition

    Irene Sekyana, newly elected Chair of CISCO (Photo: NY)

    Transparency and access to information will be the key demands and objectives of the Civil Society Coalition on Oil and Gas (CISCO) under its newly elected Chair, Irene Sekyana.

    “We want to see how the coalition can be broadened out to reach grass roots people in the oil producing areas because they are vulnerable and they will be impacted most by oil and gas development”  Ms. Sekyana told Oil in Uganda.  “We want to reach these people and give them information and then see how they can use that to advocate for having their rights respected—property rights, land rights, environmental rights and social rights.” Read More

  • Ugandan fields not for sale, says Tullow, despite cash, tax issues

    Uganda and East Africa as a whole remain “a core asset” for Tullow Oil, despite investment analysts’ speculation that the company may sell its Albertine Graben licences, and despite a new tax dispute with the Government of Uganda, according to the company’s Media Relations Manager, George Cazenove.

    Tullow “absolutely” intends to stay the course in Uganda, Mr. Cazenove told Oil in Uganda in a telephone interview, adding that “arbitration in Washington will sort out” a dispute over Value Added Tax.

    The remarks come in the context of what appeared to be a strategic shift in Tullow’s global portfolio, with renewed emphasis on exploration, as opposed to field development and production. Read More

  • Museveni lashes civic critics and foreigners, praises oil scientists

    Some MPs and NGOs “acting on behalf of foreign interests” are “trying to cripple and disorient the development of Uganda’s oil sector,” President Yoweri  Museveni told parliament yesterday in a combative address that played strongly to nationalistic sentiment but also proclaimed “science” as the beacon of government policy on oil.

    MPs Theodore Ssekikubo, Wilfred Nuwagaba and Abdu Katuntu were singled out for personal mention and attack in the two-hour presidential address.  “What they are doing is an unforgivable sin. It is sacrilege. To stand here and use the forum of Parliament which I created for you, through sacrificing blood, is unacceptable”  Mr. Museveni  said of the small group of MPs who had voted against the government’s proposals for structuring and regulating the oil industry. Read More

  • Image: Loïc Laurandel

    TOTAL expects “compromise” with government soon—but no oil for five years

    Loïc Laurandel, General Manager of Total’s exploration and production division in Uganda

    International companies working Uganda’s oilfields expect to agree on a development plan with the government within the next few months, according to Loïc Laurandel, the General Manager of TOTAL Exploration and Production Uganda, but he emphasises that it will still be at least five years before oil can come on stream, and this will be “physically impossible” without substantial improvement to the entire stretch of road from Kenya’s port of Mombasa to the oil-bearing Hoima District in Western Uganda.

    “We are meeting [government] regularly and we hope to get to compromise some time before Spring next year” Mr. Laurandel told Oil in Uganda in an exclusive interview.  Read More