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  • Image: Citizens try to enter parliament

    Bishop, MPs, prise parliament’s doors open to the public

    Police direct citizens to another entrance to parliament, where they must wait to see if they will be allowed to enter. (Photo: NY)

    As MPs gathered in Uganda’s parliament this afternoon to debate a bill that will structure and regulate the oil sector, police on the gates were busily refusing entry to activists who wanted to the watch the debate from the public gallery—until rescue for the citizens’ rights came from the intervention of a prominent cleric.

    Shortly before 2 pm Oil in Uganda  found a despondent huddle of barred activists at the parliamentary gate.  According to Henry Bazira, chairperson of the Civil Society Coalition on Oil and Gas, police had told them the public gallery was “full.” Read More

  • Image: ActionDealyed

    Showdown looms as government moves to reclaim power over oil

    Ugandan NGOs shut down in protest at government corruption on the same day that parliament voted to curtalil ministerial power over oil. But Mr. Museveni has bounced back with deals to keep his parliamentary troops in line. (Photo: NY)

    A controversial clause in Uganda’s Petroleum (Exploration, Development and Production) Bill, which was amended during a parliamentary debate two weeks ago in such a way as to limit ministerial powers, has been re-introduced at the eleventh hour and will again be debated on Tuesday, November 27, after intense efforts by the ruling party to quell potential rebellion in its own ranks.

    A National Resistance Movement caucus meeting held today (November 26) was widely seen as an attempt to railroad Movement MPs into supporting the original version of the bill, while civil society activists held their own press conference and issued statements denouncing the effort to overturn the earlier amendment. 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

  • Image: Open Oil contracts book

    ‘Booksprint’ sets out to throw light on oil contracts

    Written by a global team for a global readership

    A book published this month by the Berlin-based Open Oil consultancy group aims to shine a light on the production sharing contracts—known in Uganda as production sharing agreements (PSAs)—that lie at the heart of the multi-trillion dollar global oil industry.

    “Contract transparency is the next stage of the transparency movement” writes Open Oil founder, Johnny West, in a foreword to the book, which can be downloaded free of charge from the Open Oil website.  Part of Mr. West’s foreword is re-published below. Read More

  • Kenya to hike fees for oil explorers, introduce competitive bidding

    As Kenya prepares to become an East African oil producer, its Energy Minister has said that they plan to increase fees for oil companies operating in the country as more oil and gas is discovered.

    Speaking at the inauguration of the East Africa Oil and Gas Summit in Nairobi on Tuesday, an optimistic Hon. Kiraitu Murungi noted that the government needs to cater for the interests of its people by raking in more revenues from the oil and gas industry to finance the provision of basic services. Read More

  • Summaya Athmani, head of Kenya's National Oil Company, apeals for regional collaboration on oil infrastructure

    “We are not competing with Uganda” says Kenyan oil leader

    Summaya Athmani, head of Kenya’s National Oil Company, apeals for regional collaboration on oil infrastructure

    Updated, November 15, 2012, with exclusive interview added.

    Speakers at an East Africa Oil and Gas Summit in Nairobi yesterday urged the region’s governments to cooperate and harmonise their plans for processing and transport infrastructure.

    “We are not competing with Uganda,” the Managing Director of Kenya’s National Oil Corporation, Summaya  Hassan Athmani, told delegates.  “The challenge is to expand our thinking beyond national boundaries and to think about this as a regional issue.” Read More

  • No oil without roads overhaul, logistic experts confirms

    Uganda’s roads are utterly inadequate to support the volume and weight of heavy equipment that will be needed for oil production, according to a senior manager in a major international logistics company that ships oil and gas rigs around the world. Read More

  • Image: cartoon

    It’s all about money! Ten key questions on oil revenue

    Everybody knows that oil is all about money for the companies, the contractors, the government, the speculators rushing to buy up land in Bunyoro . . .  But if we re-phrase that thought as “It’s all about economics”  it suddenly seems complicated and remote—something that non-economists struggle to understand.   Yet, with parliament currently considering a Public Finance Bill that will make key decisions on oil revenue management, much wider public debate is needed over how Uganda’s share of the money should be spent and invested.  The 3rd issue of Oil in Uganda’s quarterly, print newsletter, which is now rolling off the presses, tries to demystify the economics as a contribution to the debate.  Here we re-publish one of the main articles from the newsletter, UGANDA’S OIL REVENUES:  TEN KEY QUESTIONS Read More

  • Elephants are not fleeing oil—but pressure will grow, says expert

    An elephant mother and calf by the Nile in Murchison Falls National Park. The animals can detect vibrations from their peers’ footfalls at distances of up to 20 miles, according to a 2001 study in the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America (JASA). Which must make ‘seismic 3D’ testing rather jarring. (Photo: NY)

    An increase in reported cases of crop damage by elephants straying outside of Murchison Falls National Park is probably not due to oil exploration, according to the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) country representative in Uganda, Dr. Alistair McNeilage.

    But, he stresses, wildlife management challenges will certainly grow as companies put in the infrastructure needed to extract the oil.

    “Lots of people have been saying that elephants are coming out of the park because they’ve been chased out by the oil,” McNeilage told Oil in Uganda.  “But if you look at the areas they’re coming from, it’s mainly on the north east side [of the park]. Those elephants don’t seem to be the same ones that are in the areas [in the west of the park] where the oil activities have been going on.” Read More

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

    Lands ministry moves to protect customary rights in oil region

    Following widespread land wrangles in the oil-rich Albertine region, the Ministry of Lands has announced plans to resolve this through guidelines to aid in compensation of customary land owners.

    “It is crucial at the moment since people’s rights are at stake and we have the responsibility of protecting the poor and their property. We therefore have to put in place guidelines to ensure that those big oil companies and investors have an arrangement to adhere to and operate within the laws,” Ministry spokesman, Dennis Obbo, told Oil in Uganda. Read More