TotalEnergies Reveals Plan To Set Up Electric Car Charging Infrastructure In Uganda

French oil company, TotalEnergies Uganda, plans to set up electric car charging infrastructure in Uganda, General Manager, Philippe Groueix, told Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja.

Groueix made the revelation while Nabbanja was inspecting a TotalEnergies stall at Kololo Independence grounds during Monday's  celebration to mark World Environment Day.

While TotalEnergies is an oil major, it has significantly invested in electric cars. It has erected electric car charging points at its fuel retail stations across Europe. 

In Uganda, TotalEnergies is leading the efforts for Uganda to become an oil and gas producing country in a joint venture with CNOOC Uganda and the government of Uganda.

The company is also heavily invested in renewable energy. In Uganda, on 1st February 2022, TotalEnergies and the energy ministry signed an MoU to develop renewable energy in the country.

This was on the sidelines of announcing the Final Investment Decision (FID) for the Lake Albert Development Project. The objectives of the MOU were to develop 1GW of installed renewable energy capacity.

The other objectives were to promote access to electricity and clean energy, supporting national climate change objectives through carbon footprint reduction projects.

Uganda has already started manufacturing electric cars at the Kiira Motors Corporation project. It is, therefore, good news that investors like TotalEnergies are planning to set up such an infrastructure.

TotalEnergies offers scholarships to female PLE top performers

BY George Busiinge


TotalEnergies EP Uganda (TEPU) has awarded scholarships to 20 girls who passed their 2022 Primary Leaving Examinations (PLE) in first grade in Buliisa and Nwoya Districts. Each district received 10 scholarships.

Besides the scholarship, each student was also given a mattress, one dozen petroleum jelly, one dozen laundry soap, reams of paper, exercise books and Shs200, 000 for upkeep among others.

The beneficiaries are studying at St Andrea Kaahwa’s College in Hoima city and Sacred Heart Secondary School in Gulu.

Handing the items to the beneficiaries at the function that took place on 15th February 2023, the Buliisa District Chairman, Fred Lukumu, urged parents to encourage and support their girl children in education now that TotalEnergies EP Uganda is lending them a hand to ensure that girls also continue with education like their male counterparts.

He urged them to ascertain that they advise their girl children not to drop out of school to avoid ruining their chance at this time when they are being sponsored by France’s oil giant.

“We appreciate TotalEnergies for promoting education for girls in the district. We also appreciate the efforts by parents to have these girl children perform well.

“However, we encourage them to ensure that they advise them to focus on education only so that they don’t drop out of school due to other trivial issues that can ruin their future,” Mr Lukumu said.

Speaking at the ceremony held at Buliisa district headquarters, the Buliisa District Education Officer (DEO), Tyson Kasangaki Kiiza, attributed the low academic performance among girl children in the district to some parents’ failure to support them in different aspects.

He observed that stakeholders have also for long disregarded exposing girl children to a wider education spectrum causing them to lag in academic circles.

“Most parents are unsupportive of their girl children educationally, subject them to child labour and conceal defilement cases. Taking a long time to introduce girls to education makes a girl child unable to continue with education because they feel having become old enough past primary seven.” Kiiza said.

The DEO was concerned that 316 unqualified teachers are serving in the 30 primary schools in the district and only 13 appointed ones.

Calorine Namyalo, the CSR manager of TEPU, said the developer of the Tilenga oil project took the initiative of providing scholarships in 2015 after realizing that the girl child in Buliisa and Nwoya districts was so disadvantaged in attaining education.

However, she said that the company provides scholarships for both male and female students who excel in their advanced level of education to enable the two genders to be on the same footing in education.

Robert Mukonyezi, a parent to Patience Atuhurra, who is among the scholarship beneficiaries appreciated TotalEnergies Uganda for offering the girl children the scholarship saying despite their children performing well academically, some parents are too poor to pay tuition fees for them.

Atuhurra passed in Division One after scoring an aggregate of 12 at Ndandamire primary school.

Mukonyezi revealed that several challenges are hindering girl children from climbing more academic ladders due to the conditions in their environs.

The parent wants local leaders at all levels to sensitize parents about the benefits of education.

DR Congo Entry Into EAC Good For Uganda Oil & Gas Sector

By Dr. Abel Tindao

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has joined the East Africa Community (EAC) at a critical time for Uganda and its quest to become an oil and gas producer. Uganda and partners - Tanzania, TotalEnergies, CNOOC Uganda and others – in February announced the Final Investment Decision (FID) that will see international oil companies invest about $15bn in the Albertine Graben, western Uganda.

Uganda, with 6.2bn barrels of yet to be extracted crude oil (1.7bn said to be recoverable) shares a political boundary with DRC. Already, endowed with various minerals like gold, diamond and other, DRC, according to a 2012 seismic survey, suspects to have about 3bn barrels in the blocks around the Lake Albert basin. This basin is shared by both countries.

It is important to note that while Uganda and DRC are politically friendly, the continued instability in East DRC, including harbouring Ugandan rebels is detrimental to regional peace, doing business, development and social welfare. But now that DRC has joined the EAC, there is hope that the bloc can as a group pacify that part of DRC.

Existing collaboration between Uganda & DRC

Late last year, Uganda and DRC collaborated to help Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) flush out Allied Defense Forces (ADF) rebels out of their hideouts inside DRC using what has been called Operation Shuja. The ADF, backed by terrorism groups like Al Shabaab and Al Qaeda, had bombed two separate targets in Uganda’s capital Kampala. This collaboration is an indication that more collaborations can be achieved more so if they are economic.

In December of 2021 it was reported that Uganda had started building 223km of roads in the DRC at a cost estimated to be USD330m to improve trade in the two countries.

In 2020, DRC exported $17.7M to Uganda. The main products that DRC exported to Uganda are Raw Tobacco ($4.65M), Scrap Iron ($3.73M), and Sawn Wood ($3.15M). In the last 25 years the exports of DRC to Uganda have increased at an annualized rate of 16.1%, from $421, 000 in 1995 to $17.7M in 2020.

In 2020, Uganda exported $265M to DRC. The main products that Uganda exported to DRC were Cement ($40.6M), Palm Oil ($24.2M), and Rice ($12.2M). In the last 25 years the exports of Uganda to DRC have increased at an annualized rate of 8.03%, from $38.4M in 1995 to $265M in 2020.

With these number as provided by the Observatory of Economic Complexity (OEC), an online data visualization and distribution platform, Uganda stands to benefit from this arrange by exporting more to the DRC< a country with a population of 90 million people.

The two above collaboration show to what extent the two countries eying economic transformation can go. And now that they are endowed with rich natural resources, there is so much they can achieve if they focus on being good neighbors, promote peace, economic recovery and pan Africanism.

Untapped potential waiting

Of the entire Albertine Graben endowed with huge potential of hydrocarbons, Uganda has explored only 40 percent and will in the next 25 years when the confirmed recoverable oil is expected to be depleted, Uganda will have earned a humongous USD50bn. But that is anything to be worried about. Already Oranto Petroleum and Armour Energy have been licensed to do exploration in that area.

Also, the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development (MEMD) has sent out expression of interest for oil and gas exploration. Uganda National Oil Company (UNOC) is teaming up China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC Uganda) to venture into that. This is an indication of how rich the Albertine Graben is and the prospects for Uganda continue to look good.

The DRC is already an oil producing country, positioned number 12 in Africa, depending largely on its coastal production activities in the western part of the country. But Sub Sahara’s largest country has huge untapped potential on borders of Uganda.

TotalEnergies, the oil company commandeering the development and eventual production of Uganda’s oil is said ‘to be chasing for business in DRC’ with a mission to tap into their resources. The oil company and Uganda & DRC can harmonize their interests and come up with a formula that will see the natural resources exploited and benefit the citizens.

Protecting the environment, rich biodiversity

Of course this has to be done sustainably since it is in an eco-sensitive area rich in biodiversity. You wouldn’t want to extract the hydrocarbon at the expense of the environment. That would be disastrous and irresponsible. Already, Civil Society Organisations (CSO) have sounded worries that fossil fuels is putting the environment in Lake Albert basin at risk and fueling climate change.

To avert such fears, Uganda has a good National Oil Gas Policy whose mission is to create everlasting value from the resources and law regimes that are protective of not only revenues that will be accrued from the oil and gas production but also the environment. DRC can bench on what Uganda has achieved, and of course, Uganda can offer what it has learnt so far.

Tightening security & ensuring peace

In the jungles of eastern DRC, proximately next to Uganda, there over 133 rebel or militia groups funded by the illicit minerals trade. These militias are a menace and if not dealt with can curtail the proper and sustainable exploitation of these natural resources.

We have seen this happen in Nigeria’s Delta where militia bomb and set oil pipelines ablaze. Uganda and DRC need to find a domestic solution to this because, like we have seen, even with the presence of United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), a UN peacekeeping force hasn’t stopped these militias from causing havoc.

Sometimes Lake Albert has seen Ugandan fishermen attacked by armed civilians or DRC soldiers and robbed clean while on the lake in Ugandan waters. This continues to happen even when the Ugandan government protested to their counterpart in Kinshasa. This cannot continue especially when exploration for oil is ongoing on the lake. Gun wielding bandits are a risk to manpower undertaking exploration. Oil companies wouldn’t want to invest and risk the lives of their workers like that.

It is therefore important that the two countries work out a solution and give investors and oil companies a guarantee that they are safe. Investor confidence is earned.

The writer is a Ugandan marine security expert.

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