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  • Kenya’s deeper oil find adds pressure on Ugandan policymakers

    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

  • Advocates fear “shrinking space” over land row–but grassroots groups say business as usual in oil regions

    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

  • ADF threat to oil is under control, authorities say

    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

  • Picture: Kigumba graduates passing out parade

    Caribbean cooperation for Uganda’s nascent oil industry

    Upwardly rising: Kigumba students in passing out parade before departing for hands-on training in Trinidad and Tobago

    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.

    Read More

  • Tullow’s ‘better deal in Kenya’ claim may lead to tax-break race

    “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

  • Kabaale parishioners

    Anxious communities at refinery site not yet consulted

    These Kabaale parishioners will have to move but don't yet know where or when

    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.

    Read More

  • “How do we make money?” Banyoro ask oil info centre

    Amid the excitement and uncertainty surrounding Uganda’s impending oil production, the Kitara Heritage Development Agency (KHEDA) has set out to provide information on the latest developments to people in the oil-rich Bunyoro region. Oil in Uganda talked to Wilberforce Bigabwenkya, the Project Manager of the KHEDA Oil Information and Resource Centre, about the project. Read More

  • Image: Activists from Kibaale District wait to hear the court ruling

    Activists vow to continue battle for disclosure of oil agreements

    Activists from Kibaale District wait for the court ruling. (Andrew Kaahwe, quoted in article, third from left)

    Oil transparency activists were disappointed by a ruling against them yesterday in Nakawa High Court, Kampala, but have vowed to continue a legal battle to require the government of Uganda to publish Production Sharing Agreements (PSAs) that it has reached with international oil companies.

    Lady Justice Faith Mwhonda rejected an application from the African Institute for Energy Governance (AFIEGO) and three other civil society organisations for permission to present evidence at an appeal by two journalists against a separate ruling which denied them access to the PSAs. Read More

  • Tullow Oil’s Kenya strike may change the game for Uganda

    A promising oil discovery in north-western Kenya, announced yesterday by Tullow Oil Plc, may have consequences for Uganda’s oil production plans, according to a seasoned international energy expert consulted by Oil in Uganda.

    “The more oil they find in this region the more difficult it will be to defend building a refinery in every country,” said the source.

    Uganda’s 2008 oil and gas policy pledged the construction of an oil refinery to maximise the value-addition benefits of national oil production. Two weeks ago the government announced the demarcation of a 29 km2 site for the refinery and related installations in Buseruka sub-county of Hoima district. Read More

  • Fisherman guts his catch on Lake Albert

    Oil opens markets for fish, but also brings too many fishermen

    A Lake Albert fisherman guts his catch — but how long will stocks last? (Photo: Thomas White)

    BULIISA DISTRICT: Forty five-year-old fisherman, Blazio Sempangere, smiles with satisfaction as he smears salt over his catch on a drying stall at Wanseko landing point on the shore of Lake Albert.

    “For years, sun-drying, smoking and salting were the only ways we had to preserve fish,” he says. “We often lost a lot of our catch due to rotting. Sometimes there is no sun and sometimes the salt is too expensive.”

    Primitive methods and long distances from markets meant poverty for fishing communities on the shores of Lake Albert.  According to the Uganda Bureau of Statistics, 30% of Ugandans live below the national poverty line, but in Buliisa District the figure is 70%.

    But things are changing fast for the local fishing industry as a result of oil prospecting in the area. Read More