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Poor Buliisa Landowners Continue Facing Land Abuses

The continued land related disputes in the oil-rich Buliisa district are likely to affect the development of the oil industry, Buliisa residents have said.

Since oil was discovered in Bunyoro sub-region in 2006, the value of land adjacent to the oil sites have increased dramatically. The discoveries triggered a rush for land acquisition by investors and speculators.

Oil wells were discovered in communal settlements, game parks and on the shores of Lake Albert. The area is mainly inhabited by fishermen, subsistence farmers and hunters, who lived on customary land and had no formal documentation to prove the ownership.

Consequently, investors continue to acquire land for oil-related projects such as oil waste treatment plants, central processing facilities, pipelines, industrial parks and other petroleum- related investments.

Blasio Mugasa, the former Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom lands minister says this has raised the stakes for land ownership and the rights of customary land owners are at risk as the wealthy and influential elites attempt to gain titled land in what is called the Albertine graben.

Customary land ownership is one of the three ways acknowledged by Article 237(3) of the Constitution, along with freehold and mailo tenure systems.

He states that the presence of the resource has seen a number of people face land rights abuses which range from land grabbing by speculators, denial of access to community land fenced by oil companies, delayed compensation, and change of Bagungu traditional customs over land.

In an interview with Earthfinds, Mugasa explains that the weak land governance systems are also to blame for the continued land rights abuses in Buliisa district. He adds that many residents have lost their lands to tycoons without any compensation.

John Kyomu and Tom Kahibwa residents of Bulisa town say the District is heading for a disaster if the government doesn’t intervene to sort out land wrangles. They note that Uganda’s land laws are clear but oil companies and few rich individual speculators are doing the contrarily as the government remains silent.

Other residents Earthfinds spoke to partly blame the overwhelming land rights abuses to corruption tendencies among the government officials in the Energy Ministry. The residents fear that if oil production begins, there will be shedding of blood as people start fragmenting community land into portions.

Hotel Review: Dolphin Suites, A Home From Home

The quality of Hotels in Uganda are fast changing, becoming super good and of high international standards. Take Dolphin Suites located at Plot 36, Princess Anne Drive, Bugolobi in Kampala for example. The hotel opened its doors to guests in May 2010 by Speke Group which is a subsidiary of the Ruparelia Group and has proved the ultimate luxury destination for people in Kampala.

The hotel on inception committed to provide ‘a friendly and courteous service’ and to provide a ‘a perfect ambience that will ensure value for money’ to its traveling guests. Dolphin Suites has established itself as the epitome of relaxed grandeur, welcoming visitors to the city with stunningly appointed rooms and a host of facilities.

It is a unique boutique style hotel offering 27 luxurious and comfortable guest rooms with individual balconies overlooking the hillside of Bugolobi and city of Kampala. An Ideal choice for those who want a quiet stay, close to business and corporate houses, while being located just 5 KM from the city centre and 35 KM north from the Entebbe International Airport.

A combination of services and dedication of the trained and motivated staff will make your stay comfortable leaving you feeling home-away-from-home. Members, residents and guests can also take time out to relax and de-stress with a little pampering.

“We offer an array of beauty and relaxation treatments for members to enjoy—from a massage to ease any worries away, to a relaxing facial or an invigorating body exfoliation treatment. The hotel also has an excellent bar, restaurant and outstanding banqueting facilities where one may relax, meet friends or even discuss business.” Management said in a statement.

On the side of accommodation, the hotel offers Single Deluxe Rooms featuring a king size bed made with premium linens and features exquisite duvets for absolute comfort. Also available are Double/Twin Deluxe rooms featuring two single beds in a large spacious area with beautiful lights and well-designed beds. All the beds are fitted with mosquito nets and are in large spacious rooms with added specials.

The hotel offers services like a health club, gym, massage, steam & sauna, swimming pool, family friendly facilities, restaurant, parking space and conference facilities. Others are swimming pool, laundry, security, health services, wake up call, internet, car hire, photocopying, email and fax facilities.

Guests can host their special occasions like conferences and meetings, weddings, birthday, corporate parties, anniversaries, graduation, retreats and team building activities, product and media launches among others. 

The guests have the pleasure of two dining options: at the restaurant and in the garden area. The restaurant offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner as well as a breakfast buffet, featuring made-to-order eggs of your choice. You'll find a delicious selection of hearty or light fare for lunch and dinner.

Since the restaurant is multi-cuisine, it serves famous & mouth-watering local, continental and authentic Indian dishes and live cooking of charcoal grilled “Muchomo”. It also serves world-class drinks and cocktails as per our guests' liking.

Sonangol Says Bureaucracy Is Not Favoring Oil Development In Angola

In a meeting with João Lourenço, the new President of Angolan, Sonangol EP, along with several oil operators, said bureaucracy in the oil sector is ‘unfavorable to the overall development of the industry.’

Reinforcing the alignment with the concerns of Sonangol's partners, and anticipating some solutions, the statutes of Sonangol have recently been revised in light of these identified issues.

A hierarchical level has thus been eliminated in the approval pyramid, which will make the whole process of analysis much faster, including approvals of the operators' dossiers.

Other critical areas for improvement have also been identified, which require total dedication and specialization due to their importance in the business. These include: the management of the concessionaire; the review of old approval processes that have long existed within the company; and the replacement of the Ex-CEO who oversaw the concessionaire's management and the relationship with its operators.

These functions are now being carried out by two Directors who guarantee full commitment to the best management practices and the appropriate treatment of the challenges to the sector.

In the recent meeting with the President, Sonangol's commitment to the ultimate goal of defending and protecting the interests of the Angolan State were reaffirmed.

Sonangol has maintained a constant and transparent dialogue between the operators, the company and the government in order to advance the interests of the national industry.

In July of this year, Sonangol held an international roadshow at the headquarters of the main oil companies to discuss investment plans in Angola and the challenges facing the industry. This event was accompanied by meetings held with each of the operators based in Angola.

Sonangol reached an agreement with the operators to significantly increase the competitiveness of the national oil industry. As a result, production costs per barrel fell by 48% from 2014 to 2016, and cost-cutting and investment efforts led by Sonangol resulted in additional savings of US $ 1.7B in 2017.

Sonangol has also worked with the operators to identify new investment opportunities. Despite the reduction of recent investment in Angola, which is no more than a reflection and consequence of reduced investment worldwide, there are still very interesting opportunities in both oil and gas, which is enough to keep production levels attracting profitability for the long-term future.

In Sonangol's opinion, investment in this opportunity goes through for better management of costs and projects in industry.

The meeting ended with a strengthened feeling that the company is on the right track and in total harmony with our partners in responding to the challenges facing the industry.

The creation of a joint team led by the Ministry of Petroleum, which includes the Ministry of Finance and Sonangol, show the alignment of the main decision-makers in the analysis of the most competitive framework for this sector in Angola.

 

The Board of Directors at Sonangol remains highly involved and strongly committed, together with all the players of the national oil industry, to fulfill its mission of increasing revenues for the Angolan State.

  • Published in Africa
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Battery Costs In Stationary Energy Could Fall By Up To 66%, Says IRENA

The cost of battery storage for stationary applications could fall by up to 66 per cent by 2030, according to a new report published recently by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

The falling price of batteries could stimulate 17-fold growth of installed battery storage, opening up a number of new commercial and economic opportunities, the report highlights.

Launched during the ‘Innovation for Cool Earth Forum’ in Tokyo, Japan, IRENA’s Electricity Storage and Renewables: Costs and Markets to 2030 assessment of electricity storage in stationary applications also found that global storage capacity could triple if countries double the share of renewables in the energy system.

“As storage technology improves and prices decline, both utility-scale and small-scale, distributed applications could grow dramatically, accelerating renewable energy deployment” said IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin. “In this dynamic, low-carbon energy environment, now is a crucial time for storage technology.

“This research demonstrates that the business case for renewable energy continues to strengthen," continued Mr. Amin, "positioning it firmly as a low-cost and secure source of energy supply."

The report, which is focused on stationary applications, highlights that while pumped-hydro systems currently dominate total installed power storage capacity, with 96% of the installed electricity storage power globally, economies of scale and technology breakthroughs will support the accelerated development and adoption of alternative storage technologies, such as lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries and flow batteries.

Stationary electricity storage can directly drive rapid decarbonisation in other key segments of energy use, such as in the transport sector where the viability of battery storage for electric vehicles (EVs) is improving fast. At the end of 2016, the cost of Li-ion batteries had fallen by as much as 73 per cent for transport applications from 2010.

While Li-ion batteries in stationary applications have a higher installed cost than those used in EVs, in Germany, small-scale Li-ion battery systems have also seen their total installed costs fall by 60 per cent between the fourth quarter of 2014 and the second quarter of 2017.

“The growth of lithium-ion battery use in electric vehicles and across the transport sector over the next 10 to 15 years is an important synergy that will help drive down battery costs for stationary storage applications,” said Dolf Gielen, Director of the IRENA Innovation and Technology Centre and an author of the report.

“The trend towards electrified mobility will also open up opportunities for electric vehicles to provide vehicle-to-grid services, helping feed a virtuous circle of renewable energy and storage integration.

“Storage technology will deliver service flexibility to the grid and electricity storage to small-scale rooftop solar applications in markets where commercial and residential electricity rates are high, and grid feed-in remuneration is declining,” concluded Mr. Gielen.

By 2030, the calendar life of Li-ion batteries could also increase by approximately 50 per cent, while the number of full cycles possible could potentially increase by as much as 90 per cent. Other battery storage technologies also offer large cost reduction potential.

High temperature “sodium sulphur” batteries could see their costs decline by up to 60%, while the total installed cost of flow batteries could potentially fall by two-thirds by 2030.

Although they are subject to higher up-front costs compared to other technologies, flow batteries often exceed 10,000 full cycles, balancing the costs with very high lifetime energy throughputs.

  • Published in Energy
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