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Report Pins BoU On Collapse, Sale Of Commercial Banks

A new audit report sactioned by Parliamentary Committee on Statutory Authorities and State Enterprise (COSASE) but conducted and compiled by the Auditor General (AG) office reveal that Bank of Uganda (BoU) id not follow the lawful procedures in the closure of Crane Bank and six other commercial banks.

The audit by COSASE was meant to guide a wider investigation the committee intends to carry out and understand circumstance under which seven commercial banks collapsed unceremoniously.

The affected banks include Crane Bank, Teefe Bank, International Credit Bank Ltd, Greenland Bank, The Co-operative Bank, National Bank of Commerce and Global Trust Bank.

On 28th November 2017, COSASE requested the Auditor General, John F.S Muwanga to undertake a special audit on the closure of commercial banks by Bank of Uganda.

The Auditor General report, according to media reports, has been handed over to COSASE. It indicates that BoU did not follow any guidelines/regulations or policies in the sale of Crane Bank to dfcu Bank last year and in the closure of the other banks.

“I observed that there were no guidelines/regulations or policies in place to guide the identification of the purchases of the defunct banks. There were also no guidelines to determine the procedures to be adopted by Central Bank in the sale/ transfer of assets and liabilities of the defunct banks to the identified purchaser,” the AG report reads in part.

The AG, Mr John Muwanga, also said the Central Bank did not carry out an evaluation of the assets and liabilities of Crane Bank before they were transferred to dfcu Bank.

“On April 10, 2018, I requested for P&A agreement, including details of the assets and liabilities transferred after taking into account the requisite valuation. I noted that BoU did not carry out a valuation of the assets and liabilities of CBL. In the absence of the valuation, I could not establish how the terms for the transfer of assets and liabilities in the P&A were determined,” Mr Muwanga’s report reads in part.

The AG’s report has also raised questions on how BoU signed a Purchase of Assets and Assumption of Liabilities agreement with Dfcu on January 25, 2017, for the purchase of Crane Bank.

“I was not provided with the negotiation minutes leading to the P&A agreement. In the absence of the minutes, I could not determine how BoU selected the best-evaluated bidder and how the terms in P& A were determined. I also noted that the P&A did not have complete details of assets and liabilities transferred to dfcu with their corresponding values; I was, therefore, unable to establish the status of assets and liabilities transferred to dfcu,” the report adds.

The AG has also questioned the source of Shs478.8b the Central Bank injected into Crane Bank in 2016 to keep it liquid.

 

Little Hands Go Green Goes To San Francisco Climate Change March

Climate change is increasingly becoming a hot topic globally and has brought together all nations to find a long lasting solution to the impending catastrophe.

In Uganda, Uganda’s Little Hands Go Green is leading the charge by initiating a number of projects that teach children how to preserve the environment as a measure of mitigating climate change.

This has worked just fine, as the organization has manged to organize a number of environmental events and inspired a multitude of children and parents to embrace the idea of preserving the environment.

And recently the CEO of Uganda’s Little Hands Go Green was in San Francisco, United States of America, joining the reset of the world, participating in this years Rise For Climate March.

While in San Francisco, Joseph Masembe and thousands of activists marched from the Embarcadero to Civic Center to take a stand against climate change.

The march came days before world leaders, researchers and activists arrive in San Francisco for the Global Climate Action Summit, organized by the UN and Governor Jerry Brown.

The Global Climate Action Summit will start on 13th September with a two-day program of invitation-only events, report launches and climate commitment announcements aimed at “Taking Ambition to the Next Level.”

It will end with a Call to Global Climate Action and the Summit outcomes on Sept. 14, asking national governments to raise their ambition by 2020 and looking forward to the UN secretary-general’s leaders’ Summit happening in New York in September 2019.

Throughout its program, the Global Climate Action Summit will bring together state and local governments, businesses, and citizens from around the world to showcase climate action taking place, demonstrating how the tide has turned in the race against climate change and inspiring deeper national commitments in support of the Paris Agreement.

The Summit’s five headline challenge areas are Healthy Energy Systems, Inclusive Economic Growth, Sustainable Communities, Land and Ocean Stewardship, and Transformative Climate Investments.

Total Commences Specialised Training Of Oil & Gas Manpower

Total E&P Uganda, the lead company on the Tilenga and EACOP Projects has unveiled the first batch of welding students to be trained as part of the welders training programme launched earlier this year.

The welders form the 1st batch of 25 out of the 200 students targeted for this initiative. The shortlisted candidates will undertake specialised training in 2G and 4G coded welding levels in line with the industry standards and requirements.

The training comes at a time when the company is preparing for a Final Investment Decision on the Tilenga and EACOP projects which will kick start the construction phase of the projects.

The training is therefore aimed at enhancing the employability of Ugandans from the Albertine region and East African Crude Oil Pipeline areas.

The commencement of the training follows a transparent selection process carried out by the training consultant The Assessment and Skilling Centre (TASC) with the involvement of the local leaders from the Albertine districts and along the pipeline route in Uganda.

So far, two training centers have been set up, one in Buliisa to cater for candidates from the Albertine districts, and the other in Lwengo district to cater for candidates from the pipeline districts.

Each batch of 25 candidates will undergo 3 months training which will involve technical classroom training as well as practical welding.

While speaking at the unveiling ceremony held at Buhimba Technical Institute in Hoima recenty, Total E&P Uganda Integrated Project Representative Jean Yves Petit said the programme is very important. 

"It signifies our commitment not only to the development of Uganda’s oil project but also to the empowerment of Ugandans to take an active and crucial part in the overall development of the oil project in Uganda.

“It is a strong commitment on our part specifically towards our host communities as all of the welders being trained here today originate from the areas around the pipeline districts and the Albertine region.”

The training will enhance the students’ knowledge and skills in order to meet the anticipated demands of the project as well as also ensure adherence to the highest standards of Quality, Health, Safety and Environment.

At the conclusion of the training, the students will be internationally certified welders of the American Welding Society Standard if they pass Certification tests. This will increase their employability not only within the oil and gas sector in Uganda but also in other sectors and in other countries.

“The training of the welding students comes at a crucial time in the project cycle as we prepare for the Final Investment Decision for the Tilenga and EACOP projects.

When this decision is taken, we can all expect that activities will rapidly increase shortly thereafter as we start construction of all the project facilities such as the Central Processing Facility and the pipelines.

The importance therefore of these welders cannot be understated. They are receiving training that is of international standards and this will make them employable not only in Uganda but internationally”, said Petit

"We are equally happy to announce that we have decided to train welder inspectors because quality control is absolutely key in the industry," Petit revealed.

The welders training programme is expected to equip 200 students with the highest level of oil and gas welding skills. The programme is fully funded by Total E&P Uganda.

Total E&P Uganda has also partnered with GIZ, the German development agency through a Memorandum of Understanding under which GIZ will use its expertise and experience in capacity building programmes to closely monitor the project’s implementation

Equatorial Guinea Warns Of African Asset Grab By Oil Majors

The return of oil majors to African exploration projects as upstream spending recovers threatens to slow down, rather than accelerate, the pace of new finds in the region, Equatorial Guinea’s energy minister has warned.

With oil prices recovering to $70/b this year, interest in Africa’s oil and gas potential has been reignited, with profit-making oil majors picking up exploration acreage abandoned by less cash-rich independents. 

But oil majors can often take longer to assess, prioritize, execute and appraise frontier exploration drilling compared to more nimble, tightly focused independent explorers, Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima told S&P Global Platts. 

“Majors are like big elephants, they are very slow. That means that the development of fast-tracking initiatives will slow down,” he said on the sidelines of an oil conference in Cape Town. 

Acknowledging that deep-pocketed global oil majors are well suited to developing existing discoveries, he said the return of oil and gas “superpowers” to African exploration drilling makes less sense. 

“Majors have big portfolios and take time to evaluate, they definitely slow down exploration, that’s the negative part.” 

SPENDING UPTICK

Oil majors have emerged leaner and cash-flow positive from the downturn, and competition is heating up for quality exploration acreage to rebuild resources depleted during the spending slump. 

Last October, Total took a majority stake in a Namibian block, and one in South Africa, from UK-based independent Impact Oil and Gas.

Shell secured its first exploration acreage offshore Mauritania in July while ExxonMobil acquired stakes in Namibian fields from both Portugal’s Galp in February and from minnow Azinam in August. 

Meanwhile Total has consolidated its position in Uganda’s maiden oil fields in recent years while BP is building its African natural gas assets in Egypt, Mauritania and Senegal. 

“What are the majors like Total, Exxon, Shell seeing that the rest of us are not? The independents are leaving but the majors are coming back, and are coming very aggressively,” Obiang Lima said. 

In Equatorial Guinea, ExxonMobil is still assessing the commerciality of its Avestruz oil find announced in late 2017, which lies close to the oil major’s Zafiro field in Equatorial Guinea’s northern maritime area. 

NEW LICENSING ROUND

Equatorial Guinea became OPEC’s smallest producer, behind its neighbor Gabon, in May last year and is currently pumping around 120,000 b/d of crude, according to S&P Global Platts estimates. 

But the Central African country is struggling to halt the decline in its oil production with new projects to offset an average 10% annual decline in output from its existing fields. 

Obiang Lima said he expects the country to be producing “at least” 120,000 b/d of crude in 2020 but is looking to new discoveries to boost the figure. 

Including condensates from its gas-rich producing fields and LNG, which don’t count under OPEC production targets, Obiang Lima said the country is producing a total of around 300,000 b/d of oil equivalent. 

He said Equatorial Guinea will launch a new exploration bidding round in January next year in the hope of attracting new upstream spending across the country’s oil and gas basins. 

Companies with existing upstream acreage in the country, which include ExxonMobil, Kosmos, Ophir, Marathon, and Noble Energy, will also be expected to commit to more spending as part of upcoming license extension talks, he said. 

“We need someone to go into the next cycle. We need to drill, that’s the only way and we want companies that are willing to do that. If you want to be in Equatorial Guinea, you drill. If you don’t want to drill, we’ll look for someone else,” he said. 

Equatorial Guinea began producing oil in 1995 and saw its production peak at 425,000 b/d in 2004. Before joining OPEC, Obiang Lima had said he hoped the country could recover its oil production to around 300,000 b/d by 2020, before raising it to 500,000 b/d within five years. 

www.hellenicshippingnews.com

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