Baz Waiswa

Baz Waiswa

Congo To Announce Licensing Round At Africa Oil Week

Africa Oil Week and the Ministry of Hydrocarbons of the Republic of Congo have announced the promotion of the Congo-Brazzaville Licence Round Phase 2 2018/19 at Africa Oil Week, 5th – 9th November 2018.

Congo Minister of Hydrocarbons, Jean-Marc Thystère Tchicaya stated, "With the support of PGS and AOW, we have scheduled the promotion of Phase 2 of the Congo Licence Round to take place at Africa Oil Week. The Ministry is currently finalizing the details and we expect to use what is the most important oil and gas summit in Africa to act as a springboard for the success of this bidding round."

"We are committed to welcoming the global upstream operators to Congo - we will have an exhibition stand, host a seminar and have private meetings with prospective partners throughout the event, so we encourage the global oil and gas community to join us at Africa Oil Week"

Hon Minister Thystère Tchicaya went on to say, "The Republic of Congo will focus on building on the momentum of the Licence Round Phase 1 in 2016, which saw 30 international companies register to participate. The timetable for the Licence Round Phase 2 will see the opening of the call for tender in September 2018, followed by a major promotion campaign in Cape Town at Africa Oil Week in November 2018. The closing date for receipt of tender offers in Brazzaville will be June 30th 2019."

The Congo Licence Round promotion highlights the importance of Africa Oil Week in driving new business opportunities for explorationists in Africa. Paul Sinclair, Conference Director for Africa Oil Week, added "The Congo bidding round offers a level of excitement that continues to position Africa Oil Week as the must-attend event in Africa."

"It is in this context that the Congo Licence Round Phase 2 will offer an exclusive opportunity for the international oil and gas industry, permitting them to take strategic positions in areas of the Republic of Congo with a significant proven potential for hydrocarbons."

Vivo Energy, Chinese Business Community In Partnership

Vivo Energy Uganda, the company that distributes and markets Shell branded fuels and lubricants in Uganda, together with the Chinese business community have held a business forum to discuss greater partnerships and investment opportunities in Uganda.

The forum,held on 18th May 2018 at the Sheraton Hotel Kampala,was graced by the Executive Director, Private Sector Foundation, Mr Gideon Badagawa and the Economic and Commercial Counsellor, Office of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Uganda, Mrs. Zhao Xiufen.

It brought together members of the Chinese business community to celebrate their achievements resulting from the partnership with Vivo Energy Uganda and to discuss further investment opportunities.

Gideon Badagawa encouraged the Chinese community to continue doing their best to share technical knowledge with Ugandans during the life of their projects to encourage technology transfer and long term skills development of the younger population of Ugandans who make up the majority of the population. He commended Vivo Energy for bringing the brilliant minds in the room together to continue promoting the growth and development of Uganda and the strong relationship between Uganda and China.

Gilbert Assi highlighted that Vivo Energy is a Pan African company with a focus on fuelling Africa’s future. “We share this focus with China who are investing heavily to support Africa’s development - especially through investment in industry growth and agricultural modernisation. Our commercial operations extend to aviation, construction, power, road transport and other industries.

We work in close partnership with our commercial customers to provide in-depth technical assistance relating to fuels and lubricants, to improve the usage of their machinery and to deliver long-term reductions in fuel and maintenance costs. We are recognised as a business partner who focuses on innovation and value improvement and who has both the willingness and ability to adapt to the changing needs of customers in every sector.” said Assi.

George Kibondwe, Vivo Energy Uganda’s Commercial Manager also noted that “For more than ten years, we have enjoyed rewarding business relationships with the Chinese business community.We have served these customers with Shell products during the construction the 126km Soroti – Lira highway, the 103km Fortportal – Bundibugyo – Lamia stretch, the soon to be launched Entebbe Express highway, as well as other major projects like the Karuma 600MW Dam construction and the Entebbe Airport Expansion.”

“We have grown to serve over 40 Chinese customers who are directly dealing with us in construction, manufacturing, hotels and restaurants. We have invested in fuel storage facilities for these customers to ensure steadysupply for them to meet their project needs.

These facilities are regularly maintained to ensure they are safe to use and compliant with our stringent Health and Safety standards. Over 30 Chinese customers are using our Shell fuel card services and enjoying the convenience and benefits that come with the Shell card solution.” He added.

Today in Uganda,China has been reported as the largest foreign investor. It is a significant trade partner,managing the largest projectsin road construction, power generation, hospitals and communications. The investment by Chinese investors in 2017 was estimated at over $300m with an estimated 20,000 local jobs created.

CSOs Ask Museveni, Kabila To Save Virunga

Fifteen civil society organizations from Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) working together to promote cross-border conservation of natural resources in the Great Lakes region have written to President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and Joseph Kabila of DRC to stop oil activities in greater Virunga landscape.

Early this year DRC moved to reclassify two UNESCO-protected World Heritage Sites –Salonga and Virunga National Parks – to allow oil exploration to take place. This move was condemned by regional Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) who believe such actions would be devastating for their unique ecosystems.

Africa Institute for Energy Governance (AFIEGO), a CSO from Uganda, said destabilizing Virunga ‘could cause a high spread of diseases since animals that have been affected by oil activities in Congo, could cross and affect the ones in Uganda.’

This, AFIEGO said, will affect tourism in Uganda and ‘furthermore the livelihoods of Ugandans that have been benefiting from this lake could be shattered because of the pollution that could take place on the other side of Lake Edward in Congo.’

In the communiqué to the two presidents the CSOs expressed their disapproval of oil activities in eco-sensitive areas and rallied the leaders and international oil companies to avoid such activities in both countries.

Previous attempts to have ecologically sensitive area explored for oil have been swatted by CSOs through outcries and engaging government officials, oil companies and two presidents.

As a result Ngaji oil block in the eco-sensitive transboundary Greater Virunga landscape was saved from being licensed out for exploration in Uganda and British oil company, SOCO International PLC, was talked out of conducting oil exploration activities in Virunga National Park.

And with renewed interest in Virunga by DRC, the CSOs are ‘calling on both Uganda and the DRC to officially commit, through a statement by Your Excellencies, never to conduct any oil activities in or around protected areas in accordance with international commitments.’

They say it is ‘disheartening to see that the government of DRC has set in motion plans to redraw the boundaries of UNESCO listed World Heritage Sites, Salonga and Virunga national parks. These efforts by the DRC are targeted at allowing oil exploration activities in the parks.’

“Your Excelliencies, it will be recalled that the Greater Virunga landscape, of which Virunga National Park is a part, is a biodiversity hotspot harboring some of the planet’s endangered species. Other biodiverse protected areas so critical to humanity that they are listed by UNESCO as World Heritage and Ramsar Sites in the landscape include Bwindi Impenetrable and Rwenzori Mountains national parks (World Heritage Sites), Queen Elizabeth National Park (Man and Bisophere Reserve), and Lake Edward (Ramsar site).

The fifteen CSOs recommended that the presidents cancel indefinitely plans by DRC to redraw boundaries of the Salonga and Virunga national parks to allow oil activities in the parks and indefinitely cancel all plans by the Ugandan government to licence out Ngaji oil block located in Lake Edward and Queen Elizabeth National Park for oil activities.

They also recommend that both governments increase investment in renewable energy as both countries have enormous renewable energy potential in solar, promote tourism over oil to diversify the economic base and increase investments in social infrastructure such as health services, education, roads and others.

They said they are willing to work with both governments to ensure that the sensitive ecosystems in Greater Virunga landscape are protected amidst the oil development threats.

The communiqué released in Uganda’s capital Kampala was signed by), Innovation pour le Développement et la Protection de l’Environnement, CPSC- NK/FPJDD, MAIDENI Asbl, Federation of fishermen of Lake Edward (FECOPEILE), SORADEC/SEPD DR Congo and MERV/SEPD from DR Congo.

Others are Africa Institute for Energy Governance (AFIEGO, National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE), Guild Presidents’ Forum on Oil Governance (GPFOG), World Voices Uganda (WVU) and South Western Institute for Policy and Advocacy (SOWIPA) from Uganda.

Other Ugandan CSOs include Kasese Consortium on Climate Change Adaptation and Biodiversity Conservation (CABIC), Center for Constitutional Governance (CCG), Green Organisation Africa (GOA) and Oil Refinery Residents Association (RRA).  

Refinery Consortium Speaks Out On Unique Opportunity To Work In Uganda

High ranking officials of companies making up the Albertine Graben Refinery Consortium (AGRC) have said working in Uganda presents them with a ‘unique opportunity’ adding that they ‘look forward to the execution phase and delivering a world class facility’ to help Uganda ‘fully realize its oil and gas sector’ ambitions.

In a press statement released on Wednesday, up the Albertine Graben Refinery Consortium officials said the oil refinery projected when executed will this will ‘help develop the industry infrastructure and provide livelihood for the Ugandan people and, by extension, other East African countries.’

Following the favourable evaluation of its private sector-led offer by the Ugan Government, the Albertine Graben Refinery Consortium (AGRC) comprised of YAATRA Ventures, Baker Hughes, a GE company, LionWorks Group and Saipem, signed a project framework agreement confirming its selection for the realization of a 60,000 barrels per day capacity refinery with a project estimated value of around $3 billion.

YAATRA Africa is an infrastructure development and financing company which provides innovative infrastructure solutions on the continent. LionWorks is a private equity company focused exclusively on pan-African infrastructure opportunities.

Other companies involved are Saipem, a global leader in engineering, procurement, construction and installation, as well as drilling, in the oil and gas market that will act as services provider to the project investors, and BHGE, the only global Fullstream company, which will provide a comprehensive portfolio of equipment, technical and financial services.

The refinery, to be located in Hoima district, will process crude oil from fields developed by Total, Tullow and China's CNOOC and future upstream operators. The Ugandan government has included in the project scope a refined-product pipeline to Kampala for transporting finished products from the facility as well as the distribution of refined products.

"The Ugandan Government's commitment to fully realize its oil and gas sector and acceptance of the innovative solution provided by AGRC is driven by its strategic goals, leading to achieving middle income status.

We look forward to the execution phase and delivering a world class facility that represents a unique opportunity for investors. The Project will deliver a broad, significant economic development impact for Uganda and the East Africa region." Rajakumari Jandhyala, President & CEO, YAATRA Ventures, said.

"The Government's selection of our Consortium as preferred bidder is a testament to the collaborative efforts of these best-in-class enterprises leveraging each other's strengths to produce a solutions-focused proposal.

When executed, this will help develop the industry infrastructure and provide livelihood for the Ugandan people and, by extension, other East African countries" said Ado Oseragbaje, BHGE's Vice President, Sub-Saharan Africa.

Ronald Mincy, CEO & Managing Partner of LionWorks, commented "This is a unique opportunity to work with Uganda on a transformational project that will provide jobs and skills to the country through improved access to substantially cleaner refined products for Uganda and the East Africa region."

Maurizio Coratella, Saipem E&C Onshore Division Chief Operating Officer said, "The selection of AGRC will allow the development of a robust proposal leveraging both financial capabilities of YAATRA Africa and LionWorks and the technical resources and expertise of Saipem and BHGE, addressing the Government's expectations for the growth of the energy sector. We are pleased to have been selected to help Uganda delivering this Project."

The Albertine Graben Refinery Consortium will have each member undertake a specific role during Pre-Final Investment Decision (Pre-FID) Activities and Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) of the refinery.

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