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
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
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
The African Centre for Media Excellence (ACME) has awarded three Uganda journalists and recognised two others for their reporting on the oil and gas industry.
Patience Atuhaire from the Uganda Radio Network carried the broadcast category prize for her piece Will Ugandan technicians get oil jobs?, while the New Vision’s Gerald Tenywa won the print category for his article How prepared is NEMA for oil waste?
The Monitor’s Isaac Imaka was the overall runner-up. Read More
Uganda’s Petroleum (Exploration, Development, Production) Bill completed its stormy passage through parliament on December 7 when the Deputy Speaker finally brought the matter to a vote, after a fortnight of intense lobbying and extra-parliamentary debate on contentious clauses.
The controversial Clause 9, which gives control over exploration and production licensing to the minister in charge of petroleum, is retained in the final version of the bill, which also establishes a national oil company to advance the state’s commercial interests in the oil sector, and a Petroleum Authority as the industry regulator. Read More
President Yoweri Museveni’s struggle to assert his authority over ruling party MPs may finally bear fruit today as parliament moves yet again to vote on the controversial Clause 9 of the Petroleum (Exploration, Development, Production) Bill, after weeks of fractious debate and procedural impasse.
According to MPs, the president has himself been contacting them by telephone to muster support for re-introducing Clause 9, which gives the minister in charge of petroleum—and, in effect, the president himself—decisive powers to award and revoke exploration and production licenses.
It is not known whether these conversations include the offer of financial rewards for political obedience, but some political observers regard this as a characteristic feature of President Museveni’s recent rule. Read More
A defiant Parliament yesterday again refused to vote on the controversial Clause 9 of the Petroleum Bill it has been debating for the last month, but agreed to stand-over the clause for one more day to allow both sides to study a compromise position.
It emerged that Energy Minister, Hon. Irene Muloni, together with some key MPs from the ruling and opposition parties had met at length on Monday and agreed on a ‘win-win’ position to propose to the House. Read More
Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi has urged MPs to vote in favour of extensive executive power over oil in a lengthy New Vision newspaper article, most of which is plagiarised from an essay on The Politics of Oil and Water sold online by www.docstoc.com.
The premier’s main argument, which appears in the closing paragraphs of the 1,600 word New Vision opinion piece, is that the Petroleum Authority, as industry regulator, should not both issue licences for exploration and production and at the same time enforce industry standards. This, he says, “tantamounts to one checking oneself!” Hon. Mbabazi, who is considered a possible successor to President Yoweri Museveni, also complains that “removing the Minister [from licensing decisions] is tantamount to removing the President from control of the oil resource.” Read More
The Speaker of Parliament, Hon. Rebecca Kadaga, has said she will not reconvene the House until MPs who allegedly disrupted proceedings on Wednesday, as a vote was about to passed over the controversial Clause 9 of a bill to regulate the petroleum sector, are punished for indiscipline.
Hon. Kadaga has ordered the parliamentary Committee on Rules, Privileges and Discipline to review the matter and report back to her by Monday so that appropriate disciplinary action is taken against lawmakers considered guilty of fanning the fracas in the debating chamber. Read More
“No vote! Our oil!” chanted a section of the House.
“Let’s Vote!” chorused another.
The Speaker’s chair vacant, the Sergeant at Arms and his assistants jealously guarded the Mace, the symbol of parliamentary power, as some members of the opposition appeared to be making a move for it.
This was the dramatic scene that played out in a fully-packed parliament yesterday as Uganda’s law makers clashed over whether to vote on re-introducing Clause 9 of a draft oil bill, giving sweeping powers to the minister in charge of oil. Read More