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  • 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

  • Small scale oil production may start in “one or two years”

    The government is considering adapting power stations that now run on imported fuel so that they can burn Uganda’s crude oil instead, leading to small-scale oil production “within one or two years,” Petroleum Exploration and Production Department chief, Ernest Rubondo, tells Oil in Uganda in this exclusive interview.

    Land is meanwhile being acquired for the oil refinery project, says Mr. Rubondo.  The country, he adds, “will take a decision on the extent to which they want to participate [through the proposed National Oil Company] in the risk aspects of the business.”

    The full text of the interview follows. Read More

  • Uganda must integrate oil and climate change policy

    David Ebong

    Oil exploitation can bring immense negative impacts on the environment. These would have a significant influence on Uganda’s development pathway because environmental sustainability is intricately linked with growth. The government has focused on oil at the expense of environment and climate change despite the Government of Uganda being a signatory to the climate change convention and Kyoto Protocol. Read More

  • Religious leaders spotlight oil governance

    The Inter-Religious Council of Uganda (IRCU), which held a two-day meeting for religious leaders in the oil-rich Albertine region at the end of January, is planning to follow this up with a national conference later this year and to establish a Peace Institute to train people of different faiths in issues related to natural resources and extractive industries.

    Read More

  • Luckless Neptune abandons third well

    Neptune Petroleum (Uganda) Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of UK-based exploration company, Tower Resources, has struck unlucky for a third time in the West Nile region where  a 590 metre well drilled in February failed to find any oil.

    The Mvule-1 well was drilled in Exploration Area 5, a 2,491 km2 strip following the course of the Nile as it flows north to the border with South Sudan.  Neptune has been surveying and prospecting the area since 2005. Two earlier exploration wells— Iti-1 and Avivi-1—were drilled in 2009 and 2010 respectively, but neither struck oil. Read More