PAU Allows Resumption Of CNOOC's Kingfisher Operations

The Petroleum Authority of Uganda (PAU) has lifted the suspension of works at the Kingfisher Development Area (KFDA) in Kikuube District, paving the way for the resumption of operations.

Ernest Rubondo, Executive Director of the Authority said: “This step has been taken after rigorous examination of all standard procedures to ensure that the health and safety requirements are being robustly implemented by all contractors and sub-contractors. The Authority has reviewed and realigned the safety protocols with the operator for overall improvement in the HSE culture and practices during operations.”

The resumption of operations comes after additional preliminary safety measures have been instituted, and an overall strategy on contractor HSE management enhanced. 

The Petroleum Authority of Uganda is satisfied that the agreed procedures, when implemented, will ensure the safety and well-being for all during the oil and gas operations.

Kingfisher oil fields are operated by Chinese oil company called CNOOC Uganda, a subsidiary of CNOOC International. 

Chamber Of Mines And Petroleum’s 90-Day Showcase Of Uganda's Oil & Gas Potential

Uganda Chamber of Mines and Petroleum (UCMP) will for 90 days showcase what Uganda has to offer in the oil and gas sector. It will also show Ugandans what has been achieved in the sector whose commerciality was confirmed in 2006 when the country discovered reserves now standing at approximately 6.5 billion barrels. At least 1.4 billion barrels are estimated to be economically recoverable.

The Chamber’s 90 Days of Oil and Gas Media Campaign under the theme, “Facts Behind Uganda’s Oil and Gas Sector” kicked off on August 1, 2023 and will run till October 31, 2023. 

Humphrey Asiimwe, the Chief Executive Officer of UCMP said told a press conference at Sheraton Kampala Hotel on August 16, 2023, that they are offering space for sector players to interact, network, and share opportunities for growing their enterprises and the sector.

Asiimwe said the 90 Days of Oil and Gas Media Campaign is one of those vehicles that UCMP uses to pass on information to the general public about what is happening in the sector.

During this third edition, stakeholders will be treated to weekly topics like financing, taxation, insurance, sectoral linkages, environment social and governance issues, regulation, women and youth, local content and value addition.

The signing of the Final Investment Decision (FID) in February 2022 by TotalEnergies EP Uganda, CNOOC Uganda Limited, the Uganda National Oil Company (UNOC), and the Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation (TPDC) kicked off a bevvy of activities in the sector.

The FID came at a time when the government had provided the National Content policy that ensures that Ugandans and Ugandan businesses participate in harvesting natural resources. With the upstream and downstream laws, the national oil and gas policy and the national content policy, the ground was set for Ugandans to partake in extraction of oil and gas.

In the ongoing development phase of the sector, an estimated $20bn will be invested in the country to achieve its first oil in 2025. A sizeable amount of this money is going to local contractors contracted to provide goods and services like food, catering services, insurance, logistics, transport and financing among others. 

The Chief Executive Officer of the Uganda Insurers Association (UIA), Jonan Kisakye, reveals that insurance companies have written premiums in excess of $6m. The logistics players are hopeful, having already tasted on this oil money transporting rigs and other related materials needed in the oil fields. 

Jeff Baitwa of Bro Group expects to see other progressive activities and the sustainability of what is going on. "So, I think the message for the people who will be participating in that don't look at the glass as half empty, look at it as half full," Baitwa said.

The Chief Executive Officer of Uganda National Oil Company, Proscovia Nabbanja, told the press conference that with a 15% shareholding in the Tilenga and Kingfisher project they are the 'first class' of local content in the sector. 

"Oftentimes, we are left behind when they say National Content; most people look at the local person and forget that government intervention towards National Content started with having a national oil company running the business aspects of the oil and gas sector," Nabbanja said.

According to Petroleum Authority of Uganda data, as of the end of June, 12,949 people had been employed directly in the sector with Ugandans taking approx.94% of the jobs. A total of 3, 871 (excluding EACOP) are from host communities. 

More than 4,000 Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) have been trained in key oil and gas business requirements. 

According to UCMP, cumulatively $7.086bn has been approved for spending by the oil companies and $1.762b (25%) of this is going to the Ugandan companies.

Oil Projects Affected Persons Renew Call For Speedy Trial Of Compensation Cases

Fred Balikenda, a resident of Kirama village, in Kigwera Sub County, Buliisa district is a bitter man. His anguish stems from the discovery of oil and gas in his home district Buliisa. 

While the country is basking in the possibility of reaping billions of American dollars from the discovered oil and gas, Balikenda is counting losses and homelessness. 

When the International Oil Companies (IOCs) and the government of Uganda embarked on the development phase of the country’s oil sector, Balikenda’s land in Kirama village was identified to host an oil well. 

The process to acquire his land commenced and has since dragged on to no end leaving him distressed, bitter and broke. 

Balikenda and TotalEnergies, the operator of the Tilenga Project in Buliisa, agreed that he, and his 12 children, should be resettled at a piece of land which had been identified in Kirama. 

But years later, this hasn’t been achieved because, according to TotalEnergies, there were delays in acquiring land to resettle Balikenda. 

This has left Balikenda with no place to confidently call home because of the delays in resettling him. 

While TotalEnergies is building a house for him at a new site, the oil company has fenced off his old land leaving him to live in a cage of sorts. 

This restrictive fencing off by the French company has led to the death of his two (pregnant) pigs that have been a source of his income.

Also, because TotalEnergies has started developing his old land to prepare for the digging of the oil well, Balikenda cannot undertake any economic activity on the land. 

His children are not going to school because he has no income to facilitate their education and the family constantly hopes to be relocated. 

Balikenda is now demanding that TotalEnergies compensates him for the lost pigs and poultry, land, time and rights abused. 

TotalEnergies which is in constant dialogue with Balikenda has offered to rent him a house in Kirama village as it waits to complete the construction at the site where he is supposed to be resettled, an offer Balikenda turned down. 

The story of Balikenda is one of the many oil and gas Projects Affected Persons (PAPs) in Buliisa, Hoima and Kikuube districts have faced and live to tell, with sad faces.  

To get redress, Balikenda and other PAPs, with the help of the Africa Institute for Energy Governance (AFIEGO) have taken these matters to court, but even there, justice has not been forthcoming. 

Recently, AFIEGO and partners wrote to Dr Flavian Zeija, The Principal Judge, informing him of their planned protest showing dissatisfaction with Uganda’s judiciary for the delay in deciding Civil Suit No. 059 of 2021.

The affected PAPs, with support from AFIEGO, in March 2014, filed a case under Article 50 of the 1995 Uganda Constitution seeking redress over the violation of their constitutional rights including the right to receive prompt, fair, and adequate compensation before the acquisition or possession of their land.

And today, 9th March 2023, AFIEGO and some of the PAPs addressed a press conference in Kampala at Hotel Africana indicating that they had petitioned the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Norbert Mao, the chief justice Alfonse Owinyi Dollo and his deputy, Richard Buteera, over the delayed hearing of their compensation cases.

Through the petition, the PAPs and AFIEGO want the judiciary officials to intervene and stop the ongoing injustices caused by delayed hearing of their cases to save the oil-affected communities from further suffering. 

They also issued an ultimatum.

“Within one month from to date, if the judiciary fails to respect the people’s constitutional rights such as a right to a speedy trial, hundreds of the oil-affected persons will walk from the villages and protest at the offices of the Chief Justices, Deputy Chief Justice, Principal Judge, Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Inspectorate of Government and other authorizes,” the PAPs warned.  


Company Hired To Construct Oil Airport In Hoima Lays Down Tools Over Money

By George Busiinge

In February 2018, SBC Uganda Ltd commenced the construction of Hoima International Airport. The initial handover of what has come to be known as the oil airport was in February 2022 but was later extended to June 2023.

Barely four weeks to the handover, SBC Uganda has laid down their tools due to the government’s failure to address some of the concerns like variations of material prices brought about by the global economic crisis and inflation, among other factors.

SBC Uganda has asked the government to revise the terms of the contract because the prices of materials used to construct the airport, like cement, steel and fuels, among others, have gone up and surpassed the contract money agreed upon.

The government has refused to give the contractor more money, saying that what was given to them is enough to complete the remaining work something that has angered and rattled SBC Uganda who has since absconded from work.

In January 2018, Standard Chartered Bank, with guarantees from the United Kingdom Export Finance agreed to lend Uganda 307 million Euros for the construction of Hoima International Airport for a period of three years.

State Minister of Works and Transport, Fred Byamukama, has unsuccessfully intervened in the matter, saying the work has overstayed and should be handed over on the agreed time frame or else SBC Uganda risks having the contract terminated.

The Minister has accused some top officials in the government of trying to swindle 28 Million Euros. He said they are currently carrying out investigations on some of the top government officials involved.

He has further revealed that the government will not face any legal implications because it is the contractor who is running away from work.

Amos Muriisa, the SBC Public Relations Officer, says they have had several engagements with the government but their concerns have not been attended to for close to one and a half years.

He has however distanced the company from the allegations of working with mafias in government to scam the said money.

The Hoima District Chairperson, Kadir Kirungi, has asked the government to intervene in the matter because some of the workers of SBC are the ones suffering yet they have families to look after.

Hoima District Resident District Commissioner, Rogers Mbabazi, has requested workers to stay calm as government settles its grievance with their employer.

Petroleum Institute Gets Museveni’s Backing To Reach Full Potential

President Yoweri Museveni has asked Uganda Petroleum Institute – Kigumba (UPIK) to present its full development plan because the government has the money to support it.

The President made the call while commissioning new infrastructure projects undertaken by the institute on Saturday. UPIK, with funding from the World Bank and the government of Uganda, undertook a $32m infrastructure development including staff houses that the president commissioned.

“I really want to tell you that the problem here is bad planning by the overall government structure because this money that we are talking about, the $32 million which has been invested is not such a big amount of money given the importance of Kigumba Petroleum Institute,” the President said.

He said Government should plan well and prioritise investing in lucrative projects that will generate billions of dollars for the country in a few years to come.

“The question is how many oil projects do you have? We have only one in Mwitanzige (Lake Albert) Valley. It's the project we have that will give us billions of dollars in a few years’ time and it needs support of training which we planned Kigumba Institute should provide that,” he added.

“Even if we are to spend $50 million, 60 or even $100 million to make Kigumba Petroleum Institute a world class training centre, we shall do it. We have the money. Yes we have got very many needs, some want money to eat. We can constrain that. We can say stop travelling. Tell the civil servants, the MPs, the politicians to stop travelling abroad; money is being wasted in external travel and here Kigumba is crying for money!

President Museveni also disclosed that it was Uganda under the NRM Government that started the initiative of training people in petroleum in the whole of Africa.

“The people we sent abroad to train in petroleum are the ones who discovered oil here. They came and showed me on the computer. That is how they started now to look for these companies because we didn't have the money to dig but already, we knew the location of the oil,” he said.

“If you have that history of pioneering, let's also pioneer in this Education here by having a world-class petroleum training centre and later alone you can have other aspects of energy like solar and biogas. We can add them later. So, please let us get the full plan. We shall support it because it is unique. You cannot compare it with external travel and allowances inside Uganda. We can freeze all that and have this like we have done for other things.”

The First Lady also Minister of Education and Sports, Janet Museveni, said the Skilling Uganda Strategic Plan aims to skill Ugandans and unlock their potential for productivity.

Since then, the education ministry has been implementing various projects towards the achievement of that goal and interventions within these projects have led to improved infrastructure, systems and processes in the delivery of technical and vocational education training in this country. 

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education and Sports, Kate Lamaro, said the commissioned facilities were very significant to the government's journey of transforming skills development in the country.

“UPIK is earmarked to be transformed into a Centre of Excellence for oil and gas-related training. This is in line with the Skilling Uganda strategy and plan which strongly advocates for building centres of excellence to supply manpower for specific economic sectors,” Lamaro said.


Local Content Policies Set To Shape Energy Investments In Senegal

As Senegal’s first oil and gas projects are under-development and the first production is expected within two years, the African Energy Chamber conducted this week a working visit in Dakar to promote investment into the country and support local content development and capacity building.

Led by Executive Chairman NJ Ayuk, the African Energy Chamber’s delegation advocated for local content as a pillar of the industry’s sustainability efforts and offered all its support to continue pushing and financing Senegal’s initiatives to build capacity and build a new generation of Senegalese oil & gas workers and managers.

“Oil companies have an unmatched ability, and a profound responsibility, to support H.E. Macky Sall’s bold vision in shaping an economy that works for all Senegalese and preserves their freedoms,” said NJ Ayuk.

The team met with H.E. Macky Sall, President of the Republic of Senegal; H.E. Mouhamadou Makhtar Cissé, Minister of Petroleum and Energies, Ousmane Ndiaye, Permanent Secretary of COS-Petrogaz; Aguibou Ba, Director General of the National Institute for Petroleum and Gaz (INPG) and the majority of the oil and gas operators and service companies.   

“Moving closer and closer to becoming a large-scale producer of oil and gas, Senegal’s story is an inspiring one. And, as a hotspot for oil and gas development, it is only fitting that the nation cements market-driven local content frameworks that are rooted in capacity building and are driven by the determination to transform practices in its energy sector,” declaired Nj Ayuk.

“That is why initiatives such as the INPG are important in ensuring that industry revenue benefits the state while also guaranteeing employment for citizens. The INPG is a true social contract bringing the private and public sector together to plan for a prosperous future for Senegal,” he added.

The Chamber’s working visit coincided with that of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, during which state-owned SENELEC and GE signed an agreement for the development of 300MW of gas-to-power capacity, the modernization of Senegal’s power plants and the creation of a maintenance centre in Senegal.

In line with the US’ interests to increase cooperation with Africa, the Chamber reiterated the industry’s call for continued improvements in the ease of doing business and better operating environments for foreign investors.

“President Trump dispatching Secretary of State Pompeo and US companies to Senegal is a brilliant move. US companies understand that investing in Senegal is good business and a sustainable corporate strategy.

President Macky Sall’s government has built on positive trends to maximize foreign investments. This includes a commitment to transparency, improving safety and security, strengthening the macroeconomic environment, investing in quality education and skill development in science, technology and innovation, and avoiding the Dutch disease,” added Ayuk.

Last year, the African Energy Chamber and Centurion Law Group hosted a local content forum in Senegal, calling attention to local content development in the country. The ongoing visit serves as a follow up and a showcase of the Chamber’s continued commitment to the growth and development of African economies through ensuring that Africa’s natural resources benefit Africa’s people first.

“Senegal’s emergence as a key player in the oil and gas industry has been remarkable and, as this growth continues to surge, it is important that local communities have a seat at the table, It is also important that we continue to create an enabling environment investors and the oil sector. Cutting unnecessary red tape and fast-tracking project approvals will give the energy operators a boost,” said NJ Ayuk.

“This, however, is a goal that is achievable only through the collaboration of the private and public sector. Local content is value creation and it is pertinent that Senegal put in place policies and frameworks that will see its people benefit from its hydrocarbon industry,” he added.

Last month, Woodside Energy got the green light for its $4.2bn Sangomar oil project, Senegal’s first offshore oil venture where the first production is expected in 2023, with a capacity to reach 100,000 bopd. The Phase 1 development concept for the Sangomar field is a stand-alone FPSO facility with subsea infrastructure. 

Meanwhile, works are ongoing at the Greater Tortue Ahmeyim FLNG project, whose phase 1 will see the commissioning of a 2.5 mtpa facility by 2022. This month, Kosmos Energy, BP, Petrosen and SMHPM signed an agreement with BP Gas Marketing for the supply of 2.45 mtpa of LNG over 20 years.

The MSGBC Basin has become sub-Saharan Africa’s hottest exploration frontier. Senegal is currently holding a licensing round to further attract investment into its acreages and boost existing reserves. The round is expected to generate tremendous interest from foreign investors and further confirm Senegal as a new African energy leader.

Locusts, Climate Change & Oil Exploitation

On Sunday, February 9, 2020, media reports indicated that Uganda had been invaded by locusts. That same day, the 33rd African Union (AU) Heads of State and Government Assembly commenced in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The two-day meeting was held under the theme: Silencing the guns: Creating conducive conditions for Africa’s Development.

As the leaders deliberated on topics such as conflicts in the Sahel region, sustainable funding of Africa’s development agenda and others, scores of Ugandans panicked over the locust invasion.

A government inter-ministerial met to discuss measures to address the locusts, which the public was informed could eat food that could feed 2,500 people per year!

In addition, army officers and others were shipped off to Karamoja, the site of the reported invasion, to address the threat. Several other efforts were engaged in.


While some of the above was ongoing, the AU Heads of State and others deliberated on matters that would improve the wellbeing of African citizens.

However, they did not discuss how African Heads of State in alliance with national and international agricultural, oil and other companies are contributing towards climate change and are exposing Africans to more potential locust invasions.

With the permission of African leaders, activities such as destruction of forests such as Bugoma in Uganda for sugarcane growing and exploitation of fossil fuels (oil, coal and gas) including in eco-sensitive areas such as national parks, lakes, rivers and forests in Uganda, Tanzania and Nigeria among others are ongoing in Africa today.

Both the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation are drivers of global warming and consequently, climate change.

Yet climate change is part of the reason that Uganda, Kenya and other Eastern African countries are in the predicament they are in today. Moreover, this is a predicament that African countries are ill-equipped to deal with.

As pointed out by the UN Secretary General, Mr. Antonio Guterres, warmer cyclones caused by climate change have created the perfect breeding conditions for locusts. Per information from the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), the warmer cyclones resulted in rains in Oman, which enabled the breeding of the desert locusts. 

The locusts invaded Eastern Africa thereafter and have caused serious damage. FAO estimated that 200 billion locusts invaded Kenya. The locusts, which eat their own weight in food every day, destroyed pasturelands which had only been rejuvenated after drought.

Further, the damage caused by the locusts in Somalia was so much so that the country declared a state of emergency after the insects damaged about 70,000 hectares of food supplies in the country and in Ethiopia.

Experience shows that when food and pasturelands, which are major sources of income for many households are destroyed, other impacts follow.  Incomes reduce, children’s education suffers as parents lack incomes to pay school fees, and even domestic violence due to increased poverty in homes is seen.


Now, several countries in Africa including Nigeria, Angola, Cameroon Niger, Algeria, Equatorial Guinea, Ghana, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and others are oil producers. In addition, several countries including Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Togo and others are planning or are undertaking activities to become coal, oil and gas producers.

The above countries argue that they need to produce coal, oil and gas not only to create jobs but to generate revenues to support their respective economies among others.

However, the burning of fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas is the biggest contributor to climate change.

As earlier noted, climate change has been cited as the cause of the biggest locust invasion to be seen in Kenya in 70 years and in 25 years for Somalia and Ethiopia.

To continue to exploit oil to exacerbate climate change is to put the lives of African citizens at risk. Moreover, poorer African states are more vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. African states have too few resources to manage climate change impacts.

Indeed, the Ugandan government’s response to the locust invasion in Uganda on Sunday, February 9, 2020, was a testament to this. The country had no standby expert manpower and equipment such as airplanes to spray the locusts. Communities in Teso reported that they resorted to making noise to scare the locusts away.

One may argue that oil revenues could be used to make African states climate-resilient. However, experiences from Nigeria, Angola and other oil-producing countries show that oil revenues are never used for the benefit of citizens. Instead, they are largely abused by corrupt government officials at the expense of citizens’ wellbeing.

In line with available evidence that says that up to a 75% of known fossil fuel reserves including oil, coal and gas must be left unexploited for the Paris climate target to be attained, African countries must consider leaving fossil fuels unexploited. They should invest in other economic activities such as agriculture, tourism and others.

Further, in line with the AU’s 2020 theme, African countries should demiltarise oil production and should stop attacking citizens that critique oil activities in Africa.

The writer is the Senior Communications Officer at Africa Institute for Energy Governance (AFIEGO).

Government Strives To Increase Participation Of Ugandans In Oil Industry

By George Busiinge 

The Ministry of Works and Transport has heightened efforts to skill vulnerable youths in operating heavy load equipment to tap the public infrastructure employability.

John Baptist Ocola, a trainer from the Ministry of Works and Transport says the country has limited skilled operators of heavy equipment machines due to limited training institutions that offer such specific skills.

He says they have now partnered with Destiny Technologies Heavy Load Plant Services which has its head office in Hoima municipality to equip vulnerable groups mainly school dropouts and disadvantaged unemployed youths to equip them with skills on how to operate such machines.

He made the remarks Friday morning during the launch of the 2020 Heavy Equipment Operators training at Bulemwa Training Field in Bujumbura division.

Denis Kisha, the director for Destiny Technologies Heavy Load Plant Services has said due to the support of trainees and equipment from the Ministry of Works and Transport, they have managed to register 150 trainees for this batch the highest number ever since they stated.

He observed that the two-month course is highly marketable since the country is undertaking many construction projects in the roads and extractives sectors.

The trainees were drawn from different parts of the country. Alfred Ochen and Daniel Opiyo some of the trainees expressed high hopes of employability after the training.

The government of Uganda has in the recent past heightened efforts to provide hands-on skills to its nationals to curb the challenge of unemployment which is currently at 82%.

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