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  • Douglas Oluoch points to where Heritage buried oil waste

    Heritage Oil malpractice reveals waste management flaws

    Douglas Oluoch points to where Heritage buried oil drilling wastes on his farm (Photo: NY)

    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

  • Image: Eoin Mekie

    Tullow: National Oil Company may share in production, but government must make up its mind over basin development

    Eoin Mekie, General Manager of Tullow Oil’s Uganda operations, maps out the company’s prospects in the Albertine Rift (Picture: NY)

    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

  • Image: proposed refinery site

    Kabaale: the human prequel to a refinery complex

    Proposed site for Uganda’s oil refinery: sparsely inhabited, yet full of human complexity (Picture: T. White)

    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

  • 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