Government and oil companies will not bend rules in favor of local suppliers in the oil and gas sector because of local (national) content demands, an official in the ministry of energy and mineral development told this website in an exclusive interview at the 4th local content conference on oil and gas at Kampala Serena Hotel on Tuesday Morning.
“The oil business is known to be capital intensive, of high risk, rewarding but requires high health safety standards. There is no way we are going to bend the rules, standards must be adhered to,” uncompromising Bernard Ongondia, the coordinator – national content development and capacity building at the ministry said.
Ever since Uganda announced that it has commercially viable deposits of crude oil and gas, Ugandans have been upbeat to cash in on the oil money. Some of them feel it is their right as Ugandans to get a portion of this money while others, who have a better understanding of the operations of the oil business, are putting themselves in positions where they can play a part in the industry as services providers and suppliers.
As it has been evidenced in the past years, during the exploration period, many of these people putting themselves in positions to be part of the oil industry lack the skills and standards required by oil companies. Many, especially those with money, are frantically building capacity while those with limited access to capital are crying out to government, banks and oil companies for help.
One fact that stands out though is the government and oil companies are not about to relent and accept poor standards in the nascent industry. Ongodia in his presentation at the conference said all stakeholders must abide by the standards of the industry.
“People complain that standards are stringent – I don’t understand what they mean. We have to abide by the standards of the industry. We will continue to set new standards as demanded by the industry,” Ongodia stated. He said they are working with Uganda National Bureau of Standards to harmonize these standards national and at an international level.
The lack of exposure to these standards has been an impendiment to many local businessmen in the country. Many have lost business to international companies because of the lack of this knowledge. Many standards have been formulated by government, oil companies and other stakeholders and have been adopted by Uganda National Bureau of Standards but remain alien to many service providers. Many say that there has been little sensitization to create awareness of such standards.
The one day conference which has been bankrolled by Stanbic Bank Uganda has been organized by Association of Uganda Oil and Gas Providers (AUGOS) under the theme ‘Repositioning local service providers for the next phase of oil development’.