More than a million tourists visited Uganda in 2011, bringing US$ 805 million in foreign exchange—the country’s biggest forex earner by a large margin. The Lonely Planet travel guide company has since named Uganda “top tourist destination for 2012.” But what has been the impact of the 16 oil exploration wells drilled inside Murchison Falls National Park, one of the main tourist attractions? What is happening to the animals that the tourists flock to see? Oil in Uganda visited Murchison to ask park staff and neighbouring communities, and also contacted tour operators who expressed concern for the future of their trade as the oil industry ramps up for production. Read More
“Although the government of Uganda has made significant efforts to put in place fairly elaborate policy, legal and institutional mechanisms to address the environment[al] challenges of the gas and oil sector, the lack of capacity to implement these policies and enforce the corresponding laws has grossly undermined their effectiveness,” according to a recent Capacity Needs Assessment for the Environmental Pillar Institutions in Uganda conducted on behalf of the National Environment Management Authority by an independent consulting company with funding from the Norwegian goverment through their Oil for Development programme. Read More
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
Uganda should deploy oil revenues to create universal old age pensions and universal health insurance to make a more humane society. This would be a real investment in the future of the nation. So says Dr. Ezra Suruma, Uganda’s former Minister of Finance, in this exclusive interview with Oil in Uganda. He accepts that it will be prudent to place some of the revenues in an Investment Fund—because too much money flowing too fast into the general budget would be difficult to absorb. But, he argues, all Ugandan citizens should become individual shareholders in the Investment Fund, in order to ensure that each and every citizen benefits directly through annual dividends—and also to create citizen-shareholder pressure for transparent and corruption-free management of the funds. Read More
Oil and gas are likely to play an ever more prominent role in Ghana’s fast-growing economy following new discoveries both in the Jubilee field and the Tano Basin.
Italian giant Eni, made a major discovery last month in the offshore Cape Three Points block, some 50 kilometres from the coast. Eni is continuing to drill other wells to confirm the feasibility of commercial development, but the production test revealed that this new well is capable of producing about 5,000 high quality barrels of oil per day (bpd). Read More
Electric power is coming for the first ever time to parts of outlying Hoima District, whose underground wealth is matched by surface poverty. But the electricity generated by a small hydropower plant, which comes online in November, is only a fraction of what the proposed oil refinery will need.
HOIMA DISTRICT: The sun disappears below the hills of oil-bearing Hoima District and darkness descends over Hoima town, bringing another long night of rumbling generators. Read More
Oil and gas discovers in East Africa have re-ignited long-standing territorial disputes in areas believed to possess significant petroleum deposits.
This week, Malaŵi announced it would take Tanzania to the International Court of Justice in The Hague, Netherlands, over the disputed ownership of Lake Malaŵi, known in Tanzania as Lake Nyasa.
Tanzania claims that colonial era treaties between Great Britain and Germany demarcated the border down the middle of the lake but since independence Malaŵi has claimed sovereignty over the whole of its northern reaches. Read More
The international oil companies licensed to develop Uganda’s oilfields submitted a joint ‘field development plan’ to the government last Thursday, but rapid agreement on the plan is unlikely, given continuing differences over the size of the proposed refinery.
Whilst CNOOC has made no public comment, Tullow and Total representatives say they do not object to a refinery in principle but feel that it should be a modest one, able to process 25,000-30,0000 barrels of crude per day (bpd). That would be enough to supply Uganda with petroleum products. The remaining crude, the companies say, should go in an export pipeline to the East African coast. Read More
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?”
WANSEKO VILLAGE, BULIISA DISTRICT: Surrounded by a dozen women and men seated on the bare ground, Mary Nabanja goes through the financial records of her group in a large book, counting each penny of their group savings.
Nabanja is the chairwoman of the Buliisa Women’s Environmental Protection and Savings Group, based in Wanseko village, some 450 kilometres from Kampala.
Those who had not yet paid up bring their balances forward, and the meeting turns to the day’s main agenda—environmental protection.
Richard Kajura, who facilitates the meeting, begins by going through the fauna and flora that their region is proud of—including parks, lakes and rivers and the climate itself. Read More