Great, South Africa Found Gas. Now What?

By Zwelakhe Gila

Coming at a time when South Africa’s policy makers are struggling to diversify the country’s energy mix, Total Exploration and Production Southern Africa recently announced a major offshore gas discovery.

The Brulpadda well off the shore of Mossel Bay is one of a number of highly anticipated exploration prospects in South Africa. First reports of the field indicate that it holds between 500 million to over 1 billion barrels of oil equivalent. In comparison, neighbouring Mozambique’s 2012 discovery held over 350 billion barrels of oil equivalent.

Those familiar with the history of Africa’s energy sector, and even those that aren’t, rejoice with a faint concern of what has been the outcome for many other resource abundant countries on the continent.

Granted, while Total’s finding alone is not enough to eclipse the plethora of other resources in South Africa – coal and gold in particular – it does find the country at a weak moment of energy policy and, more importantly, energy security. South Africa’s Integrated Resources Plan (IRP) that covers the 2010-2030 period was indeed reviewed only once since its release in 2011.

The 2018 IRP draft, yet to approved, does expect to see 8,100MW of additional gas-to-power capacity set up by 2030, but remains what it is: a draft.

This further justifies the need for adequate and timely gas regulatory policy and balanced local content regulations to avoid squandering an opportunity to catapult South Africa into a booming African energy frontier.

This crucial need is further highlighted considering that month’s prior to Total’s discovery; Minister of Mineral Resources Gwede Mantashe halted all applications for oil and gas exploration in order to change its licensing process.

The move notably saw super major Royal Dutch Shell relinquish a license to search for oil off South Africa, citing legislative uncertainty. Uncertainty does indeed prevail across South Africa’s oil & gas licensing and regulation.

Careless expedience to reopen the licensing process given the inevitable interest that follows such a discovery could still ultimately be detrimental to the country’s benefit from possible reserves.

Natural gas allows for the creation of a cheaper, domestically-sourced, and more environmentally-neutral energy grid that has now become a global imperative. Natural gas is widely considered to be a key component to this impetus.

Although South Africa is the largest electricity producer in the continent, and even exports electricity to neighboring countries like Namibia, it still suffers from inadequate infrastructure management that has seen an increasing rate of nation-wide blackouts.

This begs many to question if the popularization of gas-to-power infrastructure – electric power generated by gas-powered turbines – motivated by the recent Total find will have a true impact on energy security or suffer the same fate as the coal-powered plants.

Given natural gas's primary usage and function as a source of heat and power production, South Africa is now posed with answering the difficult question of how invested the country will be in its coal reserves and coal-reliant power infrastructure that practically serve the same purpose as gas.

Especially when considering that South Africa holds approximately 11% of the worlds total coal reserves, coal mines being the largest direct job creator in the mining industry, and coal being South African economy’s highest foreign exchange earner.

President Cyril Ramaposa’s recent announcements to debundle the debt ridden Eskom is detailed to be an effort to motivate private power producers. This progressive approach to incentivize private companies, if conducted through a fair and inclusive manner, stands to be a significant determinant in attracting investment into gas-to-power facilities.

The trend for discoveries of this scale, especially in countries whose markets and infrastructures are unable to absorb the resource, is for immediate exporting of the resource to more lucrative European and Asian markets.

Natural gas consumption in such regions as Western Europe, South or East Asia are currently at the highest level since 2001 and on the 20th consecutive monthly high deliveries.

Natural gas exports are also the highest since EIA began tracking monthly in 1973. The incentive to move the natural gas found in South Africa to international markets is overwhelmingly promising and would follow recent trends adopted by African countries that have recently discovered gas such as Mozambique or Senegal.

It is the duty of the Department of Energy and the Department of Mineral Resources to ensure that the regulatory master plans for such discoveries are adequately aligned with further developing local natural gas infrastructure as well as further incentivizing International Oil Companies to carry out more exploration. It is a task whose failure to deliver accordingly has led to a litany of wasted gross domestic prosperity.

Zwelakhe Gila, is the Head of Commodities, African Energy Chamber 

Dangers Of Using Nile Water In Uganda’s Oil Exploration

Uganda is planning to use water in the process of extracting oil from the ground by pumping the water into the oil wells which will displace the oil which will eventually migrate up the well.

However world over there is growing public concern of using water in the exploration of oil and in particular freshwater resources and waste water storage and disposal should be our concern.

Unfortunately the licensed oil companies in Uganda are planning to use the water from lake Albert and the Nile water to help them in the process of getting oil out of the ground, this is expected to reduce the Nile water levels to between 4 to 10 percent and this might bring about tension with the countries that share the Nile waters. However science asserts that oil and water don’t mix, but when it comes to oil and gas drilling, water and oil are practically joined at the hip.

A recent Colorado State University study showed that drilling and hydraulically fracturing a vertical well as Ultra’s initial exploratory wells will be takes an average of 387,000 gallons of water but production wells branch off the bottom of a vertical well and run laterally to access sections of oil bearing rock up to 5,000 feet away and they eventually take an average of 2.8 million gallons of water.

River Nile is a subject to political interactions with Egypt claiming it has a natural historical right on the Nile River, and principles of its acquired rights have been a focal point of negotiations with upstream states.

And the fact that this right exists means that any perceived reduction of the Nile water supply to Egypt is tampering with its national security and thus could trigger potential conflict. Egypt and Ethiopia almost went to war recently over Nile water when, Ethiopia started construction of a dam on the same river. Sudan also has hydraulic potential and has created four dams in the last century.

This has resulted in the development so far of 18,000 km² of irrigated land, making Sudan the second most extensive user of the Nile after Egypt. Egypt has such an agriculturally dependent economy which is dependent on virtual water imports, a strategy which may lead that country to attempt future water conflicts.

However it is important to note that disposing of wastewater is a costly challenge for drillers and at every step along the way, preventing groundwater contamination is the paramount concern for citizens and the National Environmental Management Authority. The cost of using advanced UV and ozone treatment technologies is disregarded of in our production plans and budgets.

 Uganda needs to deploy the most sophisticated technology in the oil exploration to avoid biodiversity destruction since river Nile and Lake Albert are major contributors and connectors of the biodiversity of Uganda and conservation them would as well be very important not only for future generations but for mother nature as well.

Written by Edwin Mumbere - Africa Institute for Energy Governance.

How To Get 70% Scholarship At Victoria University

One of the reason why many scholars never achieve their dreams of completing their education cycle is financial. This financial hardship gets tougher as one nears the finishing line of school learning.

This is why learning institutions like Victoria University Kampala is offering interested students a chance to get scholarships which can cater to about 70 percent of tuitions fees to study a course of their choice.

The University says the objectives of the scholarships are to promote equity in the communities by supporting strong and talented students, attract talents, address the skills gap in the economy and support human capital development.

The categories of scholarship include Academic Excellence, Alternatively talented Persons, Sportsmanship, Art & Creative Talent, Innovation and Youth. As a condition, successful candidates in any of the above category must be willing to use their talents in the interest of the University whenever called upon.

How To Apply For Scholarship

  • You may physically visit the University on Jinja road, Kampala.
  • Download the application form HERE
  • Attach a motivational letter along with this application
  • Attach copies of previous academic documents to support your eligibility
  • Attach copies of National Identity Card and Birth Certi­ficate
  • Attach 5 coloured passport photographs

Your application can BE SUBMITTED in the following ways:

  • By physically dropping your application at Victoria Towers, Plot 1-13 Jinja Road, Kampala, Uganda.
  • By Emailing it to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Alternatively, you can ­ ll our application online at https://www.vu.ac.ug/application-guidelines

Or call +256 759 996 146 for help.

Premier Recruitment Sends More Housemaids To Saudi Arabia

Premier Recruitment Limited Monday announced it was sending another batch of six ladies ready to leave for Jeddah, Saudi Arabia to work as housemaids for two years. This is the third group the agency is sending to Jeddah.

On 3rd March, five other ladies jetted off to Jeddah & Tabuk, Saudi Arabia, still to work as housemaids under a two year contract. The first lot, of eight ladies, left the on 19th February, 2019.

Rajiv Ruparelia, the CEO Premier Recruitment, said the Uganda labour externalisation industry is a vital source of livelihood for both the employees and their families and a major pillar of the economy that ought to be protected by all the stakeholders and bad apples weeded out

“Uganda has a competitive advantage over a number of African countries because of our good English that we need to leverage just like our neighbours in Kenya. According to the World Bank and IMF Balance of Payments as well as Bank of Uganda data, personal remittances to Uganda have grown by 174.6% from $451.6 million (UGX1.66 trillion) in 2007 to $1.24billion (UGX4.5 trillion) in 2017, but our neighbours, Kenya raked in $1.962 billion (UGX7.2 trillion) in 2017 and $2.5 billion (UGX9.2 trillion) in 2018,” noted Rajiv.

Adding: “Diaspora remittances to Uganda are equivalent to 30% of Uganda’s traditional export earnings- $3.4bn (UGX12.5 trillion) in 2017 and $3.6bn (UGX13.2 trillion) in 2018 and almost 3 times bigger than coffee export receipts- $555.4m (UGX2 trillion) in 2017 and $436.4m (UGX1.6 trillion) in 2018. Protecting and harnessing more value from this vital sector should be the responsibility of everyone.”

According to the Uganda Association for External Recruitment Agencies, there are 140,000 skilled and semi-skilled Ugandans working in the Middle East as blue-collar professionals as well as technicians, security personnel, porters, drivers, cleaners, housekeepers, catering and hospitality personnel. Domestic workers only account for about 30%.

Premier Recruitment has committed its resources to help decrease the high level of Ugandan unemployment by providing opportunities for Ugandans here in Uganda and abroad, Kanak Shah, the Premier Recruitment Ltd, General Manager said. “We are committed to providing a superior level of customer service, compliance, integrity and honesty to both our clients and recruits and those already deployed to the field,” he said, reiterating that the company’s commitment to provide “gainful and dignified employment opportunities” to Ugandans here and abroad.

Premier Recruitment, a Ruparelia Group subsidiary, in November last year entered into the labor export industry and is now helping Ugandans get good jobs in the Gulf States of Saudi Arabia and Jordan. To effectively do this kind of job, the agency started training girls and equiping them with the necessasry domestic management skills.

Universities Must Unite, Share Knowledge To Improve Quality Of Education

There is need for universities in Uganda to come together and share knowledge in order to facilitate quality education in the country, Dr. Krishna N. Sharma, the Vice Chancellor of Victoria University (VU), recently said at the 7th Uganda University Quality Assurance Forum held at Victoria University in Kampala.

“If we must do more to solve some of the current challenges the education sector is grappling with, then the first thing we need to do is to come together and share knowledge as institutions for the benefit of the students and the country at large,” Dr. Sharma said.

Dr. Sharma noted that he was proud to note that the Quality Assurance Committee recognized Victoria University, which he heads, as one of the Universities that are fully compliant with all the Education guidelines as set by government.

Quality Assurance personnels of all Uganda Universities under the Uganda Universities Quality Assurance Forum (UUQAF) met at Victoria University to discuss how as universities they can ensure that graduates are of the right quality and are performing well at their employers.

The President of UUQAF, Dr. Rita Makumbi Oola, wants universities and other higher institutions of learning to follow up their students even after graduation.

Dr Makumbi noted that it is the duty of the higher institutions of learning through Quality Assurance departments to follow up their students after graduation to assess if they are successful and how they are performing at their work places.

Victoria University VC, Deans Now Professors

Victoria University has announced that three of their staff members who had applied for professional ranks had been approved by vetters selected by University Council from United Kingdom, South Africa and Uganda.

These included Vice Chancellor, Dr. Krishna N. Sharma who is now Associate Professor, Dean of the faculty of Business and Management, Dr. Omotayo Adegbuyi, the Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences Prof. Stephen Lawoko. This was on the 19th December 2018.

Prof. Stephen Lawoko (Health Sciences) - Dean Faculty Health Sciences

Having completed secondary and high school at St. Mary’s College Kisubi and Caltec Academy respectively, Stephen Lawoko relocated to Sweden in 1989. He completed a MSc. in Statistics at Linkoping University, and a PhD and Associate Professorship in Public Health at the world re-known Karolinska Institute, where he served for 13 years, publishing over 65 research papers in world class research journals.

Now elevated to Professor of Public Health at Victoria University which he joined in 2017, Professor Lawoko has been monumental in transforming the research culture at the University.

Student’s theses are now being internationally recognized through Publication in peer-review international journals, and there has been an exponential growth in outflow of research publications from members of staff and students as well.

In a short interview, Professor Lawoko revealed that the mission of the University is to become a centre of Excellence for Higher Education, which he added entails a good balance between teaching and learning, research and community engagement.

He argued that re-designing curricula delivery to address these three components in an optimal manner is essential. In his view, Victoria University under the current leadership has taken a lead in this process.    

Prof. Omotayo Adegbuyi (Marketing) –Dean Faculty Business and Management

 Prof. Omotayo hails from Nigeria with a firm background in marketing and currently he is the Dean of the faculty of Business and Management at Victoria University.

The established Professor started hi educational career and Enugu State University of Technology in Nigeria where he studied and attained his first degree in marketing and in 1998 worked at Nigerian Breweries PLC where he got his practical and important marketing experience.

After years in formal business employment he got appointment to Covenant University, also a private University like Victoria University as an Assistant Lecturer. Covenant University was two years old when he joined in 2013.

He later applied for his PhD in marketing at the same University. All through his life has been all about marketing. He attained his Ph.D. in 2011; eight years later he is now a respectable Professor in his field.

Victoria University and indeed Uganda has a lot to gain from such a professional. His contribution to the faculty in invaluable in nurturing the much needed entrepreneurial culture, this effort is changing students’ lives at the university and slowly but surely improving the employment problem in Uganda.

Assoc. Prof. Krishna N. Sharma (Health Science)-Vice Chancellor Victoria University  

Dr. Sharma's literary career began in Mau in 2005. He has written over 100 books on medical and health sciences, music and literature and a few of them were listed in the bestsellers list on amazon.com.

Starting in 2007, Krishna N. Sharma started as an Assistant Lecturer and then Head of Department & Vice Principal at Jeevan Jyoti Institute of Medical Sciences, Allahabad, India; Dean at St. Louis University, Cameroon; and Dean Faculty of Health Sciences at Victoria Univeristy Kampala and now our Vice Chancellor.

He is at the Vanguard giving strong leadership and firm strategic direction to the University’s mission and vision.

Dr. Krishna N. Sharma the youngest Vice Chancellor in the world is 3 times world record holder educator, researcher and prolific author with more than 25 best-sellers out of his more than 125 published books. He sold books in trains at the age of 12 years and started his first business at age 16.

He studied Physiotherapy and became a celebrity physiotherapist, serving in various famous TV shows. He is also a graduate in Music and is certified in Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM).

Labour Export To Boost Skills Transfer, Improve Household Incomes, Says Premier Recruitment’s Rajiv

The Uganda labour externalisation industry is a vital source of livelihood for both the employees and their families and a major pillar of the economy that ought to be protected by all the stakeholders and bad apples weeded out, Mr. Rajiv Ruparelia, CEO Premier Recruitment has said.

Rajiv also said, beyond direct economic gains, labour externalization had other benefits such skills transfer, mobilization of capital for investment and improving household incomes and standards of living for their dependents back home.

“Uganda has a competitive advantage over a number of African countries because of our good English that we need to leverage just like our neighbours in Kenya. According to the World Bank and IMF Balance of Payments as well as Bank of Uganda data, personal remittances to Uganda have grown by 174.6% from $451.6 million (UGX1.66 trillion) in 2007 to $1.24billion (UGX4.5 trillion) in 2017, but our neighbours, Kenya raked in $1.962 billion (UGX7.2 trillion) in 2017 and $2.5 billion (UGX9.2 trillion) in 2018,” noted Rajiv.

Adding: “Diaspora remittances to Uganda are equivalent to 30% of Uganda’s traditional export earnings- $3.4bn (UGX12.5 trillion) in 2017 and $3.6bn (UGX13.2 trillion) in 2018 and almost 3 times bigger than coffee export receipts- $555.4m (UGX2 trillion) in 2017 and $436.4m (UGX1.6 trillion) in 2018. Protecting and harnessing more value from this vital sector should be the responsibility of everyone.”

The Bank of Uganda, Personal Transfers Survey 2017 indicated that the Middle East was the second biggest source of remittances to Uganda (28.6%) after Africa (29%). Europe (20.7%) and North/South America (18.41%) were third and fourth respectively.

According to the Uganda Association for External Recruitment Agencies, there are 140,000 skilled and semi-skilled Ugandans working in the Middle East as blue-collar professionals as well as technicians, security personnel, porters, drivers, cleaners, housekeepers, catering and hospitality personnel. Domestic workers only account for about 30%.

Last week, Premier Recruitment, which opened its doors to the labour export business last year, sent its first batch of 8 Ugandan ladies to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, where they will work as domestic workers on a two year contract, 6 months after it entered the private labour recruitment market.

Kanak Shah, the Premier Recruitment revealed that all company staff have been trained about the relevant labour laws, so as to be able to “deliver a professional recruitment service” but also keep everyone up-to-date and compliant with “any changes and updates within Employment Law, both here and abroad.”

Premier Recruitment Commits To Decrease Unemployment In Uganda

Premier Recruitment has committed its resources to help decrease the high level of Ugandan unemployment by providing opportunities for Ugandans here in Uganda and abroad, Kanak Shah, the Premier Recruitment Ltd, General Manager said in a press statement released last week.

“We are committed to providing a superior level of customer service, compliance, integrity and honesty to both our clients and recruits and those already deployed to the field,” he said, reiterating that the company’s commitment to provide “gainful and dignified employment opportunities” to Ugandans here and abroad.

Premier Recruitment, a subsidiary of Ruparelia Group, last week sent its first batch of 8 Ugandan ladies to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, where they will work as domestic workers on a two year contract, 6 months after it entered the private labour recruitment market.

Marley Ritah, the External Recruitment Operations Manager, advised the ladies to continue acting professionally and work hard so as to pave way for more Ugandan recruits. “This being our first batch of recruits in under 6 months since we entered the market, is significant in our history and in the life of these ladies.

This is the first of many, many more to come. We are very proud of this moment and wish all the eight (8) ladies the best of luck in this new chapter of their lives,” said Marley. In Jeddah, they were received by partners and associates of Premier Recruitment, for onward placement at their respective places of work.

Kanak added that all company staff have been trained about the relevant labour laws, so as to be able to “deliver a professional recruitment service” but also keep everyone up-to-date and compliant with “any changes and updates within Employment Law, both here and abroad.”

Premier Recruitment is licensed by Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development for Internal Recruitment and a member of the Uganda Association of External Recruitment Agencies.

UNBS Gets Council To Provide Oversight & Policy Guidance

The Minster of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives, Amelia Kyambadde, has appointed ten members of the 8th National Standards Council (NSC) for a period of three years. The ten members of the Council were sworn in at an inauguration ceremony at UNBS Head Office in Bweyogerere.

 The NSC is the supreme governing body of UNBS that is responsible for providing oversight and policy guidance to management to ensure effective service delivery. The council is responsible for approval of draft standards as national standards. 

Speaking at the ceremony, Hon. Kyambadde congratulated the Chairperson and members for their re-appointment to serve on UNBS Board for the next three years.

She noted that there were delays in appointing the NSC because of the proposed restructuring of government agencies. “The delay in the appointment of the 8th NSC was due to discussions within government on the restructuring processes of Departments and Agencies but due to the critical nature of the Council in the implementation of UNBS mandate, Cabinet agreed, after consultation with the Attorney General, to reappoint the 8th NSC,” Hon. Kyambadde added.

Hon. Kyambadde acknowledged the achievements and challenges of the 7th Council as detailed in their report and encouraged the members to find innovative ways and solutions to resolve them.

She added that work such as standards to be approved had accumulated and urged them to adhere to good governance practices as they provide oversight to UNBS activities and programmes.

“I would also wish to see better policies and strategies put in place in supporting various Government programs and the private sector while delivering UNBS services,” she said.

In her inaugural address, the Chairperson of the National Standards Council, Eng. Masitula Munyaami Male pledged to work with Government and UNBS management to ensure that the institution delivers on its mandate.

Premier Recruitment Sends 45 To Work In Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Forty five females have this week left the country to start working in Saudi Arabia city of Jeddah courtesy of labour recruiting agency, Premier Recruitment, a subsidiary of Ruparelia Group.

“This is our first departure and is the first of many, many more to come. We are very proud of this moment and wish all 8 ladies the best of luck in this new chapter of their lives,” Premier Recruitment said in a statement.

In November last year, Rajiv Ruparelia, managing director of Ruparelia Group, announced that Premier Recruitment had entered into the labor export industry and will be helping Ugandans get good jobs in the Gulf States of Saudi Arabia and Jordan.

“We have finalized all the requirements to export labor from Uganda. We have also secured ourselves a license from the ministry of labor and social development which is number 52,” Rajiv said in November, adding that they were targeting getting 1300 housemaid jobs.

He said that the company will be running on the principles of transparency and professionalism. “We shall remain strict and stick to the rules and guiding principles of our contract. Like we have always been doing in other Ruparelia Group establishments, you will get total confidence in us.

“We shall not only be sending workers abroad but we shall also arrange and open up liaison offices in the host export countries to cater for all our migrant workers”, Rajiv added.

Premier Recruitment helps their beneficiaries to get passport, visas and airticket. The forty five girls have undergoing intense training to prepare them perform their duties in a professional manner.

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