Uganda should lose no time in signing up to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), which requires companies and governments publicly to disclose oil and mining payments and revenues, former UK Secretary of State for International Development, Clare Short, told a group of journalists and civil society organisation leaders in Kampala yesterday.
“Nothing is stopping Uganda from acting now,” said Ms. Short, who has served as Chair of EITI’s Board of Directors since 2011. “You could start tomorrow. It’s always good to start before oil starts flowing, because then you’ve got transparency from the start.” Read More
The withdrawal of Dominion Uganda Ltd from exploration around Lake Edward—an area which, according to independent petroleum geologists, may hold between 90 million and 1.1 billion barrels of oil—leaves a plethora of unanswered questions swirling around an industry that, in Uganda, remains no more transparent than a dollop of waxy crude.
Why did Dominion pull out? What happened to a ‘Letter of Intent’ its parent company, UK-based Ophir Energy, signed in March 2012 with Canadian wildcatter, Octant Energy Corp., giving Octant an 80 percent share in, and operatorship of, Exploration Area 4B? Did the government of Uganda approve these deals? And where does this leave the mysterious Alpha Oil—a Ugandan owned company that, in one of the sector’s best kept secrets, for many years held a 5 percent stake in Exploration Area 4B? Read More
As midwestern Uganda gears up for oil production that will entail billions of dollars in investments, a range of central government officials interviewed by Oil in Uganda admit that there is no overall development plan for the region, and no mechanism for coordinating the efforts of different departments. Read More
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
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
“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
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
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
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
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.