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  • Ghana: a long road to managing petroleum resources

    Uganda plans to create a Petroleum Authority to regulate the oil industry and a National Oil Company to partner with international oil companies in extracting and marketing the resources. In a second report from Ghana, Oil in Uganda staff writer, Chris Musiime, describes the role and evolution of similar institutions in that country. Whilst at first sight Ghana appears to have followed a ‘fast track’ from oil discovery to oil production, this report shows that in fact the country has a long history both of oil exploration and of efforts to develop an institutional framework to manage the industry. Read More

  • Ghana: the mixed blessing of rapid oil production

    Oil in Uganda staff writer, Chris Musiime, visited Ghana in July to discover what Uganda might learn from that country’s experience of oil and gas. In the first of a series of reports, he notes that the government was in a hurry to get oil flowing, yet civil society activists regret the relative haste of the progression from discovery to production.

    In June 2007, Tullow Oil announced that it had found oil at Cape Three Points, off Ghana’s coast. Three months later, the U.S. firm, Kosmos, made a second discovery in the same area. The country had finally struck oil in commercial quantities, burying the disappointments of the 1970s when announcements by earlier regimes turned out to be too optimistic. Read More

  • Image: Lake Kivu

    Rwanda offers exploration deal, Tanzania opens up Serengeti

    Lake Kivu: full of stored methane and carbon dioxide; maybe oil-rich too (Picture:

    The government of Rwanda is negotiating an oil Production Sharing Agreement with a small Canadian company, Vanoil Energy, according to Dr. Michael Biryabarema, Director General for Mines and Geology in the Ministry of Natural Resources, speaking to The New Times newspaper.

    Vanoil has been surveying the Lake Kivu Graben since 2007, following oil discoveries in Uganda’s geologically related Albertine Graben. The company is now analysing the results of 2D seismic data gathered during short-term Technical Evaluation Agreements with Rwanda.

    Dr. Biryaberema says the government has now sent Vanoil a draft Production Sharing Agreement for review. It is expected to award the company exclusive exploration rights over a 1,631 square kilometre area for a period of five years. 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

  • 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

  • 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