Last modified, 25th September 2013
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Oil in Uganda Newsletter
Issue 16, September 2017: Enormous Opportunities, Limited Potential; Will Ugandans seize the opportunities in the extractives sector?
The blessing of extractive resources (oil, gas and minerals) for Uganda since their discovery and confirmation of commercial viability is highly touted. Uganda is currently described by the World Bank as one of the hottest inland exploration frontiers in the world and the country to watch in the oil and gas space, due to the commercial discovery of an estimated 6.5 billion barrels of oil equivalent, with about 1.4 billion barrels of recoverable resources. With oil production expected to begin in 2020, there has been a multitude of activities, in the oil and gas sector with more work yet to be done as well.
Issue 15, July 2017: Extractives and the Law
This issue-the 15th edition of Oil in Uganda newsletter has been coined under the theme “Extractives and the Law”. It presents stories that depict ‘disharmony’ and ‘conflict’ between the oil, gas and mining sector and the law- disharmony depicted in the policies, laws and institutional frameworks facilitating the extractives sector. Uganda is known for having great petroleum and mining laws that only exist on paper, but not in action. The Petroleum laws in particular are new and well-intended, just like the newest Public Finance Management Act that is meant to govern proper management of the oil sector revenues. The Mining Policy 2001 and Mining Act 2003 are on the contrary under review and their passing into new laws has been long overdue, calling on public concern. This is what the edition centers on, the need to enact these powerful laws in place to protect proceeds from the extractive sector, and as well protect those operating in the sector for the benefit of all citizenry. The articles in this newsletter are a signal to all Ugandans to take keen interest in the way the extractive sector is developed and governed, including the issues of the ‘rule of law’; respect of human rights, conflict avoidance, environmental development among others.
Issue 14, March 2017: Infrastructural Development in the Oil Sector, What is in for Ugandans
This 14th edition of the newsletter whose focus is on Infrastructural development in the oil sector, what is in for Ugandans’ brings you an update of the ongoing developments within this nascent industry. The extractive sector in Uganda, particularly oil discovery brought an aura of excitement among both locals and foreigners. With the plans and predictions for the sector laid fourth before us, the sector seemed like a saviour coming down on a drought-filled area that had for long waited on intervention.
According to Uganda Vision 2040, the extractives sector presents opportunities of spurring economic growth, employment, technology transfer, and generating revenues for investments in development of other strategic sectors such as infrastructure and human resource development. At the same time, the sector will require massive investments in infrastructure such as access roads, pipelines, refinery, and petrochemical industries among others. Among the many plans, the sector will require massive investments in infrastructure such as access roads, pipelines, refinery, and petrochemical industries among others which are projected to be a major driver in employment creation and GDP growth.
Issue 13, Dec 2016: Extractives and Human Rights-an Intimate Dichotomy
This newsletter focuses on the theme “Extractives and Human Rights - an Intimate Dichotomy”. Although extractive and human rights are separate contexts that often clash or contradict each other, in practice they are intimate and inseparable and when managed properly they can coexist harmoniously. However, what we often see in reality is a clash between human rights and extractives development, which should not be the case. This newsletter presents articles that demonstrate that it is possible to develop our extractive sector whilst respecting human rights in a win-win situation
Issue 12, Oct 2016: Local content in the Extractives Sector
This newsletter highlights articles that give insights on local content. Since the discovery of commercially viable oil reserves in the Albertine Graben in 2006 and Uganda’s decision to develop the oil industry towards realization of “first oil” in 2020, a lot of talk about Local Content has occurred. This comes at a time when Ugandans had little knowledge and understanding about local content. Local content has meant different things to various people including Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), direct and indirect employment in the oil industry, among other things. Local content is a broad context that needs to be well-understood. It also includes investments in the petroleum value-chain and government’s decision-making in respect to financing for development. But in all this, we focus on what is in for Ugandans in this sector.
Issue 11, June 2016: EITI is a viable option for Uganda
This issue focuses on oil transparency and makes a case for the Uganda government to consider signing up to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), a global transparency and accountability mechanism where oil and mining companies publish what they have paid to governments and governments in turn disclose what they have received from the companies. The Uganda government has over time expressed reservations about joining the initiative. But if the government is banking on oil revenues to drive its ambitious ‘middle income status’ project, then misuse of oil money should be the one risk they must mitigate. President Museveni has declared a war on corruption in his new political term and he should let Ugandans help him fight that war. They are, after all, the victims of a corrupt system and therefore too willing to help. Like any war, the fighters need adequate ammunition which in this case is reliable and current information. This information can only be available if the government commits to full disclosure by joining EITI today.
Issue 10, April 2015: Oil for Agriculture
This issue focuses on the role of agriculture in lifting Uganda’s rural poor out of poverty and calls on government not to ignore that sector in preference for oil and gas. A section of the newsletter is dedicated to the mining sector in Uganda, which for long has been ignored by the majority of Ugandans despite its massive potential. Uganda is endowed with at least 27 minerals, all with immense economic potential. Just like oil and gas, we see a big opportunity for Uganda to build its economy and transform its rural poor using these resources, but their exploitation has to be transparent and sustainable. We have also taken the oil discourse out of Kampala and the Albertine Region, to a few of the non-oil-producing districts in Western and Central Uganda. The results are quite surprising.
Issue 9 August 2014: Don’t Ruin It!
With huge infrastructural developments imminent as Uganda prepares to start exporting and refining oil in a few years’ time, what will be the fate of the pristine environment and the poverty-stricken communities that depend on it for a living? In this issue, we call on government and the oil companies to exploit oil resources sustainably and responsibly. We also bring you an explanation of just how exactly oil activities can harm the environment in oil-bearing areas, as well as stories of hope from compensated refinery residents who have successfully started a new life elsewhere. This issue also carries an elaborate story on the land grabs going on in the Albertine Region, largely fuelled by oil.
Issue 8 April 2014 The long road to oil
It has been eight years since Uganda announced commercial discoveries of oil in its Albertine area. Over the years, the production timeline has changed several times but it now appears set for around 2017/2018, according to government officials. In this issue, we analyse what it will take for the government to pull this off having already jumped the hurdle of the production strategy by signing the MoU with the companies. We also bring you an update of the compensation process in the refinery area in Hoima, as well as two articles on mining: one from Mubende in Central Uganda and the other from Western Australia-thousands of miles away.
Issue 7, December 2013
What’s in it for Ugandans? This issue looks at the topic of Local Content, exploring how Ugandans can take advantage of their budding oil sector, as well as the challenges they may have to overcome for the oil companies to take them seriously. We also ask: how local should ‘local content’ be? Is it good enough for Ugandans in general to profit from oil, or should special efforts be made to give preferential treatment to people in the oil-bearing regions?
We have introduced a new page: The ‘Research Agenda’ and in this issue we look at how oil is diminishing the decision-making power of local governments in the oil producing areas and finally, we bring you an interesting perspective of the centuries-old Lake Katwe salt mining industry.
Issue 6, August 2013
Ugandans deserve to know! This issue attempts to establish exactly how much money Uganda has earned from oil activities since 2006-with surprising results. It also carries some vox pops that show that Ugandans don't really know much about their oil sector, and would rather keep away from it, and looks at EITI in relation to the International Oil Companies operating in Uganda.
Issue 5, May 2013
Not just a man’s world. This issue delves into the key gender issues in the oil and gas industry, highlighting the possible ways in which oil activities may affect women differently from men. It shows how some women have benefited from the oil and gas industry, through jobs and business opportunities, and also reports on the swelling sex trade in Hoima. Enjoy.
Issue 4, February 2013
Uganda is not an island. This issue focuses on possibilities of the East African region working together to develop their oil and gas resources. It examines the potential collaboration between East African states to harmonise their production, infrastructure and market development strategies.
It also contains an analysis of the relationship between oil and conflict, as well as a summary of the population of countries in East, Central and the Horn of Africa, vis a vis their GDP and military spending per citizen.
Issue 3, November 2012
Oil is all about money. This issue of the newsletter centres on oil revenue management – how much money will Uganda get, how will it be used, and who gets to decide? Includes analysis of key issues raised by a Public Finance Bill currently before parliament. Other articles include an introduction to the numerous service provider companies competing for a stake in Uganda’s oil industry; an analysis of weaknesses in Uganda’s environmental impact assessment process; a report on the disturbance to wildlife in Murchison Falls National Park; a case study of how Ghana has handled oil; an update on the oil company-government deadlock over the size of Uganda’s proposed refinery, and a report on the current situation of the refinery site residents who are facing relocation.
Issue 2, August 2012
This second issue of the newsletter focuses mainly on issues of land rights in relation to oil and gas. Additional material includes a report on Heritage Oil’s malpractice in disposing of oil waste, an article summarising the short history of Alpha Oil (the Ugandan company that hoped to cash in on Lake Edward exploration), and a piece by external contributor, Halima Abdallah, reporting on the demands of cultural leaders for a share of oil revenues.
Issue 1 May, 2012
This launch issue of the Oil in Uganda print newsletter includes a summary of comments on the Petroleum (Exploration, Development and Production) Bill that was tabled before Uganda's parliament in February. Other content includes: a map showing the current status of oil exploration in the Albertine Rift; an exploration timeline from 1890 to March 2012; an article on the 'rocky start' to the oil refinery project; a feature article on how roads opened up by oil companies have boosted fishery production--and, perhaps, over-fishing--in Lake Albert.