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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • “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

  • Oil bill “well thought out” but “blurry” in places, international expert says

    The  Petroleum (Exploration Production and Development) Bill currently being reviewed by the Natural Resources Committee of Uganda’s parliament is “detailed, well thought out and covers a lot of bases” but contains some ambiguities and in some respects is “tilted in favour of oil companies,” an international expert told civil society representatives in Kampala on Thursday. Read More

  • Picture: upmarket housing under construction in Masindi

    Masindi prices soar as town gears up for oil boom

    Upmarket housing under construction in Kigunya zone of Masindi town

    Before a drop of Uganda’s oil has been produced for sale, the small and once sleepy town of Masindi, 40 kilometres from the prospective oilfields of Butiaba, is bustling with investment and anticipation.  Hopes are high—but so are prices, as demand soars for land and services.  Property developers and service industries are reporting quick profits, but Oil in Uganda staff writers found losers as well as winners in this boom town in the making.

     

    MASINDI, March 12, 2102:  Fifty-year-old farmer, Yoram Kwebiihe, who has toiled all his life on his 15-acre farm, growing mainly maize and beans for home consumption and selling a small surplus, cannot believe his luck. Read More

  • Oil bills give too much power to minister, say Global Witness and U.S. researchers

    Bills to regulate Uganda’s oil and gas sector, tabled in parliament in February, leave too much power in the hands of the minister in charge of petroleum and fall short on transparency, accountability and environmental protection, according to international NGO and academic critics.

    “Tight ministerial control, absence of parliamentary oversight and a lack of guarantees on contract and financial transparency remain key features of both Bills,” according to the UK based NGO, Global Witness in a new report, Uganda’s petroleum legislation: Safeguarding the sector. Read More