Earth Finds

Earth Finds

Buliisa Residents In Panic Over New Planned Relocations

By Peter Akugizibwe Araaali   

Residents in Buliisa district are leaving in fear after unconfirmed reports hinted that government and oil companies plan to relocate them to free up the entire Buliisa district for oil and gas exploration, development and production.

According to residents from Ngwedo Sub County, who requested that their names are not published by this magazine, stated that a number of strange faces have frequented the area surveying different parts of the land. These strangers have not given much details to residents who now live in fear.

A male resident explained that a surveying guide told them government plans to relocate them because the entire Buliisa will be inhabitable once oil and gas production commences. “He said government plans to take us to a safer place. He did not specify when oil and gas production will start,” the male resident said. Government extended the start of oil production tentatively from 2020 to 2022.

When the process of exploring and extracting oil is not well managed, it distorts the eco-system and biodiversity of the production area and neighboring area. This destroys the environment, animals, birds, vegetation and humans in extreme conditions. Once this happens, it becomes hard for humans to stay in such a dead place.

FEARING FOR THEIR LIVES

This information is scantly finding its way into the Buliisa community and is causing panic. Many people are fearing for their lives and wouldn’t want to be relocated as this will alter their way of life, culture and norms. Many of the residents in Buliisa depend on Lake Albert as fishermen. Relocating them to a new place would be hard to adapt as they would lack the needed skills to survive.

However, when Western Media for Environment and Conservation (WEMECO) contacted the Buliisa District Community Development Officer Mr. Bernard Barugahara, he had no information in relation to that development but promised to investigate and come up with facts.

Mr. Barugahara challenged the residents of Buliisa to desist from rumors because it will not help their development agenda. “Oil and gas developments do not work like market days. Stakeholders are involved before any step is taken so people of Lower Buliisa take heart,” Mr. Barugahara said

The Buliisa LC 5 chairperson Mr. Simon Kinene says there is no meeting that had ever taken place to that effect saying that whoever is vending such rumors is an enemy of government looking for personal gains and cheap popularity.

Mr. Kinene adds that community members have been engaged by Joint Venture partners and the Resettlement Planning Committee a number of times at community meetings to get their views on several oil and gas projects including the Tilenga Project operated by Total E&P Uganda.

He also noted that early January 2019 the presidential Advisor on Oil and Gas Dr. Kaliisa Kabagambe chaired a meeting that involved both residents of Nywoya and Buliisa districts who are going to be affected by Tilenga Project in Bulisa. “Why was that issue not raised?” he questioned.

OIL PRODUCTION CAN’T CO-EXIST WITH HUMANS

Mr. Rajab Yusuf Bwengye, the Senior Project Officer in charge Oil Governance and Projects Coordinator at National Association Of Professional Environmentalist (NAPE), says relocation of Buliisa residents has been long overdue.

“World over there is no way oil and gas development can co-exist with communities in harmony especially with the nature of the land space of Buliisa where majority of the land is filled with national endowments such as parks, game reserves and Lake Albert,”

Mr. Bwengye further explains that construction of a central processing facility, feeder oil pipelines and park yards among others will leave the communities squeezed and without any alternative for their livelihood.

“This can force them to go into illegal activities such as poaching in Murchison National Park and Bugungu Wildlife Reserve,”

He points out that Buliisa being a fishing community and oil companies targeting to use lake water during oil and gas activities, oil activities will not only drive members communities from fishing but also pollute the water in case of oil spills.

“When we talk about environment we don’t mean only plants. We talk about plants and also aquatic life. All this will go,’’ Mr. Bwengye warned

LAND GRABBERS SCARE

Mr. Bwengye stresses that with the existing oil developments, land speculators are likely to increase in search of new opportunities. This, he said, is likely to cost the host communities. “They will lose their ancestral land to land grabbers because they’re coming with big money and are conniving with greedy leaders to steal land.’

Of recent past, residents of Kasenyi led by their chairperson Mr. John Tundulu refused to take 3.5 million that was offered by the government for each acre of land arguing that this was not enough to enable them buy same piece of land in Upper Buliisa or Hoima.

On the issue of Kasenyi, Mr. Kinene says the leadership of Buliisa has played their part and now the matter sits in the hands of government and the chief valuer waiting for decisions to be taken regarding land valuation. He said the district authority cannot influence determination of land rates but he is optimistic government will offer the best.

The writer is Executive Director Western Media for Environment and Conservation   

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U.S Firms Dash For Angola's Oil Sector

Angola has emerged as the hub of foreign direct investments within Africa, and the prospects of attracting more FDI this year are bright, particularly in the country's oil and gas sector.

The ambitious reform agenda of President João Laurenço and that of the Minister of Mineral Resources and Petroleum, Dr. Diamantino Pedro Azevedo, has already resulted in increased investment from the country's biggest European operators.

This current state of play now presents an opportunity for North American companies to re-engage and re-invest in the Angolan market.

"Angola has repositioned itself as a strategic oil investment hub and has made itself attractive to American oil firms to take a new look as Africa becomes once again a target for the US oil industry," said Jude Kearney, former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Service Industries and Finance at the U.S. Department of Commerce during the Clinton Administration and President of Kearney Africa.

"American and many other foreign investors are paying close attention to the wave of reforms in Angola and will embrace it by investing their dollars. The Angola Oil & Gas Conference on June 4-6, championed by the President, will be key in this regard."

Angola, the second-biggest oil producer in Africa after Nigeria, has just released a new oil licensing strategy up to 2025, and is about to launch next month and for the first time a bidding round that includes marginal oil fields with an attractive fiscal framework.

Angola's economic recovery is being driven by investments in the country's oil and gas sector, with the country's energy sector attracting well over $1bn of investment commitments over the past few months.

The charge is notably led by international oil companies increasing the size of their operations in the country, including Total at Kaombo, ExxonMobil in the Namibe Basin or BP at the Platina Field.

US oil & gas service companies like Halliburton or Baker Hughes GE also still dominate the sector and are likely to further invest in technology as the country ramps up exploration efforts.

American firms have traditionally led investments within Angola's oil sector, especially under the Strategic Partnership Agreement the US has with Angola, one of just three in sub-Saharan Africa.

"Angola is back and the oil and gas sector is posed to rebound after the economic recession. We believe the new investment must also include strong support for job creators in the oil sector and for the socio-economic empowerment of Angolans.

The market-driven policies are working, and we will encourage the oil industry and the government to work together and do more deals," declared Sergio Pugliese, President of the African Energy Chamber in Angola.

Eni's recent light oil discovery this year in Block 15/06 confirmed that Angola does not disappoint for whoever is ready to bet on the country's vast reserves.

"Seeing new oil discoveries in Angola, is yet again great news that there is still a lot more oil and gas to be found in Angola and also solidifies the impression of many US firms that Angola is still the place to be.

The gas potential is massive and US technology, if used properly, will redefine Angola's gas market. Angola has been smart to work hand in hand with US investors and the African Energy Chamber to ensure its reforms meet market demands," stated C. Derek Campbell, Chief Executive Officer of TransGen Energy, Inc., an integrated global energy conglomerate based out of Maryland.

"This sends a strong message to the industry and we will continue to advocate for the presence of US companies when in comes putting world class fields into development and also focusing on exploration as there is no production without investing in exploration to find more oil," added Sergio Pugliese,

The African Energy Chamber (AEC) is the only Africa-wide association that represents all aspects of Africa's oil and gas industry. The AEC represents more than 120 partners involved in all aspects of the African energy industry.

Consortium Attempts To Insure Uganda’s Oil Businesses

The oil and gas industry is a risky business especially when you look at the monies involved. And with the kind of bulky risks involved, businesses turn to insurance companies to cushion their investment and protect their operation in the event that a disaster occurs.

Uganda as a first time oil producer is even faced with much more risks that must be covered by insurance companies. And with an investment in the region of $20bn expected to make its way into the country to kick start oil production, the capacity of local insurance companies will be put to test.

Over the years, insurance companies operating locally in Uganda have been trying to figure out how they can wholesomely take up the opportunity that is selfishly presenting itself. The culmination of this thinking was been creation of Insurance Consortium for Oil & Gas, Uganda in 2016, which now is being capitalized to capacitate its functions as Uganda nears start of oil production.

RAISING FINANCIAL CAPACITY

The chairperson of the consortium Mr. Azim Tharani, also Managing Director of Goldstar Insurance, speaking at Uganda Chamber of Mines and Petroleum recently said that they currently 14 member companies. He said are looking at raising financial capacity of $200m. They have so far raised $2m to cover some of the risks under the oil and gas sector.

The members were mobilized by Uganda Insurance Association (UIA), an umbrella body that brings together all insurance firms and insurance brokerage firms.

The consortium has reportedly partnered with other international insurers and reinsurers including: Munich Reinsurance, Swiss RE-Insurance, Chaucer, Beazley, Aspen and many others from the Lloyds market in London. Just under $3 billion is spent globally in insurance premium on oil and gas per year; hence re-insurance is inevitable.

Insurance opportunities in the oil and gas sector include oil well drilling equipment, rigs, in-hole equipment, bulk cargo, Construction All Risk (CAR), business interruptions, delayed start-up, waste in transit, works and infrastructure of disposal units, pipeline, heating equipment, oil and gas stocks, storage facilities, production storage facilities goods in transit and vessels and camps amongst others.

“It is sensible for the local Uganda market to build up its capital base slowly and efficiently; and not take on more than it can afford to pay out in claims,” says, Mr. Neil Genders, a director at AON, UK, said at an an oil and gas training in Kampala organized by their correspondent partner Minet Uganda.

EXPAND EXPERTISE IN OIL AND GAS INSURANCE

At the same training, Mr. Deepak Pandey, CEO, Jubilee Insurance, said insurance firms have to expand their expertise in oil and gas insurance. "We have to develop and grow steadily with the economy. As we retain more of the insurance premium in Uganda, our ability to cover the bigger part of the risk will grow year on year. So while our capacity may look small now, the key thing is that we have to start from somewhere. This is why the government of Uganda is insisting on Local Content participation,” said Mr. Pandey.

Uganda’s Local Content Policy 2018 commits to supporting participation of Ugandans in the oil and gas sector, through improving the country’s human resources, employment of local citizens and enterprises plus improve local competitiveness and in-country research, development and technology transfer to Ugandans.

AON/MINET’S EXPERIENCE 

Minet (then trading as AON, Uganda) was very instrumental in Uganda’s exploration stage, where it offered insurance solutions to a number of clients. “Just like other potential support sectors, insurance companies in Uganda are doing all they can, both privately and under their various umbrella bodies, to understand the oil industry as well as train their personnel to appreciate the risks that might manifest in this new market,” says Mr Maurice Amogola, the CEO, Minet Uganda.

“While risks can be mitigated in various ways, insurance is very critical and must not be ignored by the government, the oil companies or their services providers. As an insurance consultancy, Minet’s job is to discuss with clients about the potential risks and subsequently connect them to suitable insurers to cover them,” says Mr. Amogola.

Kasekende, Masembe Helped Bank Of Uganda Recruit New Lawyers

Incoming reports are suggesting that Bank of Uganda deputy governor Louis Kasekende and Timothy K. Masembe of MMKAS Advocates played a key role in central bank’s recruitment of new lawyers, J. B. Byamugisha Advocates.

J. B. Byamugisha Advocates last week in a notice to court said they had been recruited to represent Bank of Uganda in a case against Sudhir Ruparelia. However Eagle Online reports that Byamugisha is a close ally of Masembe.

It should be remembered that in December 2017 Commercial Court disqualified city lawyers Timothy K. Masembe and David Mpanga from representing Bank of Uganda against Sudhir Ruparelia due to conflict of interest. The dual had prior done some work for the businessman and were privy to information they could use against him.

But according to emerging report, Masembe as a lawyer and a friend to Kasekende is still running or influencing matters at the central bank officially or unofficially.

The central bank's recruitment of Byamugisha came after court said Lule and Sebalu advocates are too conflicted to represent any entity against Ruparelia because, like Masembe and Mpaga, they are conflicted having recently worked for the businessman.

Eagle Online has reliably learnt Counsel Masembe who was a lawyer for Dr. Byamugisha during his tenure when was an external lawyer for National Social Security Fund had participated heavily in having Byamugisha replace Lule and Sebalu.

Eagle Online has also reliably learnt that Dr. Byamugisha was a legal counsel for Mr Masembe representing him on the transaction of the legal fees that were paid by BoU during the Crane bank takeover.

Byamugisha who also comes from Kabale district like BoU Governor Emmanuel Mutebile is also a member of a well networked group of influential individuals who hail from same district.

Source. Eagle Online

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