The view held by some Ugandans that oil companies are on a spending spree because they stand to legally recover their expenses when they eventually commence oil production is misled, says Eoin Mekie, the General Manager of Tullow Oil in Uganda.
While speaking to members of civil society at a meeting jointly hosted by Tullow, TOTAL and CNOOC, Mr. Mekie said that whereas the public believes that there is no incentive for the oil companies to be cost effective, it is in fact in the best interests of the oil companies to keep exploration costs low. Read More
A farmer who says that Heritage Oil dumped dozens of truckloads of waste in a pit dug on his land, a few kilometres north of Murchison Falls National Park, is still waiting for the National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) to give him the results of tests they conducted in 2009, and for the waste to be removed for permanent disposal elsewhere.
Douglas Oluoch, 43, relates that he first came into contact with Heritage in his capacity as a local councillor (LC II) in Purongo sub-county of what is now Nwoya District. In 2008, he says, a Heritage official, who he can identify only as “Albert,” offered to pay him for accepting waste from exploration wells dug within the National Park.
Oluoch told Oil in Uganda that he received 750,000 shillings (USD 300) for accepting the waste, adding that “They said it was not harmful and would act as a fertiliser.” Read More
Uganda’s proposed National Oil Company will have the right to acquire a 15 percent stake in the oil fields that Tullow Oil, TOTAL and CNOOC are developing, according to Eoin Mekie, Tullow’s General Manager in Uganda, speaking exclusively to Oil in Uganda.
The arrangement was included in the agreements signed between Tullow and the government in early February, in defiance of a parliamentary moratorium on further oil contracts.
Mr. Mekie welcomes the creation of a National Oil Company, saying that “It will certainly cement our relationship with the government once we actually start working alongside them.” He adds that Tullow, CNOOC and TOTAL are ready to build the capacity of a National Oil Company that may also want to take up exploration options in other blocks when new licensing rounds begin.
However, Mr. Mekie also reveals that the government has “not yet shared its refinery plans” with the international oil companies, and that the companies and government need to reach “a concensus on what a basin-wide development will look like over the next five to ten years.” Read More
Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development sources confirm that they have commissioned a private company to design a compensation and resettlement package for residents of Kabaale parish, in Hoima District’s Buseruka sub-county, who will be displaced by the 29 square kilometre refinery complex to be built there.
It’s not going to be an easy job for the consultants.
Since the discovery of oil, the trickle of informal settlers has been swollen by a veritable tide of hopefuls. Many of them have taken up fishing on Lake Albert.
Now, as news of the refinery spreads, longer term residents tell Oil in Uganda that more people are arriving every day, hoping to catch some crumbs from the compensation cake.
Land tenure in the area is largely informal, relying on deals with local leaders and between private individuals, so it will be no simple matter to work out who ‘owns’ what.
The five pen-portraits that follow illustrate the human complexity of an area that will soon be covered in concrete. Read More
Just over a month after Tullow Oil’s Ngamia-1 exploration well in Kenya found significant deposits of oil, the company has announced that it has now drilled the same well deeper, encountering five times more oil than the initial find. Read More
A stand-off between central government and a policy advocacy group, the Uganda Land Alliance (ULA), has alarmed national level civil society organisations but seems not to have affected work by grassroots organisations in oil exploration areas.
According to a public statement by the ULA, the Minister for Internal Affairs, Hillary Onek, has demanded that the Alliance withdraw a report on ‘land grabbing’ and apologise to the government for bringing Uganda into international disrepute. Onek, the Alliance says, has threatened the group with closure if they fail to meet these conditions. Read More
Following a raid on his Nairobi home last year, the leader of Uganda’s rebel ‘Allied Democratic Forces’ appears to be cornered in the forests of eastern DRC—but the insurgent group seems to be regrouping and, analysts say, may target oil installations for terrorist attacks. This article by Oil in Uganda staff considers the security implications. Read More
The first graduating class from the Uganda Petroleum Institute-Kigumba has gone to Trinidad and Tobago for hands-on training in the oil industry. This is a great opportunity for the lucky 24 students—but shows how much remains to be done for Uganda’s rapidly increasing and largely jobless young population. Vocational training for the sector lags way behind demand, and oil is unlikely to bring direct employment on the scale that Uganda needs.
“The revelation by senior officials of Tullow Oil Pty that the company negotiated a better deal with the Kenyan government may escalate tax competition between Uganda and Kenya as both governments race to offer better incentives to the oil company,” according to Peter Okubal, Programme Director of Panos East Africa, speaking at a workshop in Kampala last week. Read More
BUSERUKA, HOIMA DISTRICT: Lawrence Ozelle pushes aside his tool box and steps forward to confront us as we photograph Kyapaloni market—a trading centre in Kabaale parish, Buseruka sub-county, some twenty kilometre west of Hoima town
“Who are you people?” he demands. “Do you want to steal our land?”
Ever since oil was discovered nearby, the locals say, they have had no peace. Strangers come to Kabaale on a daily basis. Some promise development, while others come and go quietly.