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  • youth-ent-workshop

    Youth cautioned to dispel oil politics, focus on tapping opportunities

    Participants at a youth entrepreneurial and innovations “clinic” in Gulu organized by ActionAid Uganda and partners have been urged to look beyond the petty politics being peddled about the oil and gas sector and instead channel their energies on positioning themselves to benefit from it.

    The call was made following emotional outbursts by some participants who raised concerns about the perceived discrimination against the region by locating crucial oil infrastructure outside their region. They also argued that youth from the region were not benefiting from skilling and training opportunities being offered by oil companies (and the government).

    “If you are to benefit from this sector you must think about yourself and how you are going to gain out of it. The oil sector is global and the politics will always be there. What will you do about it? We are not the first to have oil and will not be the last. Are you going to move the airport from Kabaale (in Hoima) to Nwoya?” Paul Twebaze stung the participants.

    He added: “These decisions are informed by detailed studies on cost-benefit and economic analyses. Investors do thorough feasibility studies that cost a lot of money before committing their money.”

    Information gaps

    During a courtesy visit to the Albertine region in 2017, local leaders at Got Apwoyo sub-county headquarters voiced similar sentiments. A riled L.C 3 Chairperson particularly wondered why crude oil would be transported to the central processing facility (CPF) in Buliisa district via a network of pipelines yet it would be extracted from Murchison Falls National Park which is in Nwoya district.

    Didas Muhumuza, Extractives Governance Coordinator at AAIU, narrated how during his time at Tullow Oil as a community liaison officer, got wind of information that young people in Hoima were planning to beat him up because they contended that oil companies were discriminating against them and that he was their agent in doing so.

    “I communicated to the management teams in Uganda and the UK about the situation but also advised that the problem was due to lack of information among the population. We thus devised a strategy to start regular sensitization of all stakeholders through radio and workshops. Some introductory training(s) to oil and gas aspects were also undertaken,” he said. This was very helpful in ameliorating the situation overall.

    Twebaze Paul, a civil society stakeholder in the sector, once shared a story of how he and a team of colleagues were given an ultimatum of an hour to exit Amuru district by security people after their meeting to brief the community about the sector was stopped.

    “Talking about oil then was risky. In 2012 we went to Amuru to talk to the community about oil and how the resource can benefit everyone and not become a curse. Security people arrested us and tasked us to explain who had given us authority to talk about oil,” he narrated.

    Muhumuza noted that lack of information among the general public remains a challenge. However Ronald Kaija, Senior Community Relations Officer at CNOOC Uganda, the developer of the Kingfisher oil fields, says information is now more readily available across many public domains but it is upon the young people to seek it out.

    “Recently we have held public hearings on the ESIA report for the Kingfisher Development Area (KFDA). How many have accessed or tried to read this technical extract explaining what we are going to do?,” Kaija asked participants while showing the copy that was freely distributed at the hearings.

    Notably the public hearings were commended by civil society actors as a step in the right direction in as far as access to information is concerned. James Muhindo, the Coordinator of the Civil Society Coalition on Oil and Gas, noted that the hearings were unprecedented and presented an opportunity for the people to get involved in the sector by being heard and appraised on its developments.

    The entrepreneurship development workshop(s) presented a unique opportunity for participants to appreciate the challenges of operating a business in a very intricate oil and gas sector with very high competitiveness. Participants, mostly drawn from the districts of Hoima, Kikuube, Buliisa, Masindi, Nwoya, Amuru and Gulu districts also shared their experiences of exploiting business opportunities in the Albertine region amidst the oil developments that have thus far taken place. They have been provided with vital insights on what opportunities the development (and production) phases will provide.

    Participants were also tipped on skills and knowledge on how to go about doing business in the oil industry by appreciating the standards that have been set by government (and oil companies) for those willing to conduct business in the sub-sector as it gears for transition into the development and production phase(s).

    Jackson Etwop, a social movement’s facilitator and motivational speaker, spoke to participants in Acholi to drive home the message of mindset change and hope. “We are our own obstacle to changing our situation. Opportunities are there and amongst us are fellow youth that have made it and can inspire us. Unless we change the mindset we will not change our situation”. Jackson emphasized. The clinics shall be concluded in Pakwach district but the participants shall be followed up to ensure appropriate measurement of impact of the trainings undertaken.

    By Robert Ben Mwesigye Edited by Muhumuza Didas

  • oil-image-3-1

    Registration of employers on the national oil and gas talent register

    BACKGROUND

    The Petroleum Authority of Uganda (PAU) is established under the Petroleum Exploration, Development and Production (PEDP) Act of 2013 to monitor and regulate oil and gas activities in the country.

    This includes ensuring that petroleum operations in Uganda are carried out in accordance with the relevant laws, regulations and in line with international best practice for the petroleum industry. The PAU is required, amongst other obligations, to monitor the participation of Ugandans in the sector by ensuring that National Content as a statutory requirement is adhered to.

    Employment of Ugandans is among the key National Content areas spelt out   in   the regulatory   framework.

    Specifically, Regulation 31(1-2) of the Petroleum (Exploration, Development and Production) National Content Regulations 2016, requires the Authority to put in place a National Human Capacity Register to aid the monitoring of human capacity.

    The PAU in consultation with key stakeholders, therefore designed an e-government monitoring system called the National Oil and Gas Talent Register (NOGTR) where all talent in the oil and gas sector is encouraged to register. This system was launched on 1st February, 2019 and is fully functional. Over 1,000 talent and 97 companies have registered on the system as of 28th May, 2019.The NOGTR is classified into the supply and demand side users. The supply side users include individuals who meet the eligibility requirements for the workforce demands of the oil and gas sector and are likely to be recruited by the demand side users.

    The demand side users consist of the International Oil Companies, contractors, subcontractors, International oil servicing companies, skills development providers and manpower recruiting agencies. The demand side also includes all Government entities required to navigate the system to identify and possibly recruit/ contract qualified engineers, technicians and other skilled and basic skilled workers across oil and gas projects. All companies that have registered on the National Supplier Database (NSD) are automatically entitled to credentials for the NOGTR system.

    The PAU hereby invites all companies and Government entities to post all their jobs on the NOGTR system and also consider recruiting from the portal to aid in achieving the Authority’s objective of employing Ugandans in the oil and gas related activities.

    The system enables all the potential employers to access information, search for suitable candidates and extend requests to qualified candidates to apply for the job openings.

    The Authority also requests companies that are registered on the NSD but have never got their login credentials of the NOGTR to communicate to the Authority for further assistance.

    Registration to the NOGTR is free and the Authority guarantees automatic inclusion of a company that is registered on the NSD.

    PETROLEUM AUTHORITY OF UGANDA NEW VISION TUESDAY 18, 2019 PG 19

  • Oil-CPF-1

    Oil money: Is gov’t emptying the Petroleum Fund?

    Finance Minister Matia Kasaija

    Latest reports on the inflows, outflows and assets of the Fund reveal a patterns of irregular withdrawals of monies to the consolidated fund to finance budget deficits.

    A new report from the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development reveal that has withdrawn Shs 200bn from the Petroleum Fund to finance budget deficits. A semi-annual report to Parliament on the inflows, outflows and assets of the petroleum fund for the period ended 31st December, 2018 indicate the money was withdrawn to finance the 2018/2019 budget priorities. The report is authored by Matia Kasaija, the Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development.

    According to the report, by June 2018, the Fund had Shs 507 billion mainly from Capital Gains Tax, surface rentals, technology and training fees from oil companies as well as signature bonuses from the signing of Production Sharing Agreements with Nigeria’s Oranto Petroleum Limited and Australia’s Armour Energy Ltd.

    According to the report, the Fund stands at Shs 288.7bn as at December, 2018.  “This is a reduction in the Fund value reported as in June 2018 report, which stood at Shs 507 billion,” the report notes. “The report details the status of the Fund for six months ending 31st, December, 2018.

    “In accordance with section 61(1) of the Public Finance Management Act, 2015 as amended, this is to lay on table the semi-annual report of the Petroleum Fund for the financial year 2018/2019,” Kasaija’s wrote in a letter forwarding the report to the Speaker of Parliament. Kasaija’s letter is dated March, 28th, 2019. The Public Finance and Accountability Act, 2015, mandates the Minister of Finance to report to parliament on the status of the Fund in terms of inflows, outflows and assets every after six months.

    Justifying the withdrawals, Lawrence Semakula, the Accountant General recently said, “We have all these priorities such as financing infrastructure, so what do we do when we have a deficit. Rather than go out and borrow, we would rather use the money from the Fund,” he told Members Parliament.

    The report notes that since production has not yet started, nil volumes and values of petroleum production have been reported.

    “The further notes that during the reporting period, URA collected petroleum related taxes worth Shs 30.3bn of which Shs 2.5bn had not been submitted to the Fund by closing of the reporting period,” the report reads in part.

    WORRYING TREND

    Analysing the audited reports from the Petroleum reveal a trend of withdrawals that the Office of the Auditor General (OAG) has sometimes described as irregular.  For instance, a report for 2017 reveals that in November, 2017 Shs 125 billion was transferred from the Petroleum Fund to the consolidated fund to finance budget. Another Shs 200bn was also withdrawn from the Fund to the consolidated fund to finance 2018/2019 budget priorities.

    The Auditor General in a report to parliament described the withdrawal as irregular since it didn’t follow the procedures and processes laid down in the Public Finance and Accountability Act, 2015. The same Act, ring fences oil revenues to finance only infrastructure projects following an Appropriation Act.

    BANK ACCOUNT IN NEW YORK

    The Petroleum Fund is maintained in two separate accounts in the Bank of Uganda (BoU) –one account denominated in Uganda Shilling (UGX) and another in United States Dollars. “Another account was opened in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to facilitate investments of the fund under the Petroleum Revenue Investment Reserve,” the report reads in part.

    Edward Ssekika

  • EITI-1-4-1

    Uganda’s journey to EITI

    The Oil-rich Uganda is set to join the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), an independent, internationally agreed upon, voluntary standard for creating transparency within the extractives sector. Ever since Ugandan discovered commercially oil reserves in 2006, civil society actors started a campaign to convince the Ugandan government to join EITI.

    The campaign registered headway when Parliament in 2008 passed the National oil and gas policy that among others asked Government to join EITI. The policy states that joining EITI would help “ensure collection of the right revenues and use them to create lasting value for the entire nation,”

    As Uganda made little progress in joining EITI, the Western Uganda Youth MP Gerald Karuhanga who is presently the Ntungamo Municipality lawmaker presented to parliament documents which he alleged implicated Uganda’s foreign affairs Minister Mr Sam Kutesa, internal affairs minister Hilary Onek, and Mr Amama Mbabazi, the then Uganda’s prime minister in receiving millions of dollars from Tullow Oil.

    He alleged that between June 1st and July 16th, 2010, Tullow paid up to $100 million to “expert” bureaucrats, among them the three ministers. Tullow Oil denied the allegations. Parliament instituted an adhoc committee to investigate the matter and after two years of investigation, the committee did not find any evidence to confirm any wrongdoing by Tullow Oil and the Ministers.

    In a stormy parliament session when the oil bribery allegations were discussed in parliament in October of 2011, Parliament passed a resolution re-affirming Uganda’s need to join EITI.

    The European Union delegation to Uganda has been urging Uganda to join EITI, a source at the EU told oil in Uganda.

    “We have been having discussions with the Ugandan government to embrace EITI. We are pleased that Uganda has embraced the initiative. We wait to see how it will be implemented” a diplomatic source said before referring this author to the EU website that has a short statement about EU’s stand on EITI.

    The decision taken by Uganda’s Cabinet on January 28 and publicly announced by the Government of Uganda on January 29, is a very positive step towards improved public financial management and accountability of natural resources, said the EU statement dated January 30, 2019.

    “The EITI is the global standard to promote the open and accountable management of oil, gas and mineral resources, and Uganda’s decision to become a fully-fledged member state is an important step for improved accountability particularly as the country continues to prepare for oil production,” said EU Ambassador Attilio Pacifici.

    Through persistent policy dialogue, the European Union and its Members States, as well as other leading development partners, have encouraged Uganda’s formal accession to the EITI to address key governance issues of the oil, gas and mining sectors, including transparency and accountability.

    “This is a very positive step towards improved financial management and accountability of natural resources,” Attilio added.

    EITI was launched in June of 2003 as a way to tackle corruption within those industries that engage in the commercial development of oil, natural gas, and minerals.

    When a country joins EITI, it agrees to publicly disclose the money and other benefits it receives from the extractive companies that operate within its borders. EITI does this by having independent auditors publicly reconcile company payments with government receipts.

    “Ideally, such transparency helps empower all major stakeholders, including civil society, to hold governments and oil companies accountable for the management of those resources” says a report that was released by the Advocates coalition for Development an Environment (ACODE), a Ugandan Think Tank.

    The report titled, Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), a necessity for Uganda was authored by Ms Winfred Ngabiirwe, the Executive Director, Global Rights Alert (GRA), Executive Director and Publish What You Pay Uganda Chapter and Ms Elizabeth P. Allen, who was a research Associate at ACODE.

    The research stated that EITI can help reduce secrecy and mistrust between governments, citizens, and oil companies.

    “In many oil-producing countries, secrecy in the extractive sector has heightened suspicion among citizens who assume that such secrecy exists to hide corruption on the part of government officials and/or oil companies. EITI can help create forums for dialogue, understanding, and resolution that illuminate the sector for all players involved” the study said.

    EITI can also help create an improved investment climate for those countries that participate. Credible investors and international financial institutions find it pleasing to invest in governments that have embraced EITI since they are assured of transparency.

    EITI helps the public in understanding how much their country receives from extractive industries and the contribution of minerals in the economic welfare of the citzens.

    In a country where corruption is rampant, says Mr Biira Nasser Kiwanuka, the Executive Director of the Mid-Western Regional Anti -Corruption a Coalition (MIRAC), EITI acts as a watch dog for the public to expose incomes, expenditures and leakages of revenues from oil and other minerals.

    Edward Ssekika & Francis Mugerwa

  • UPIK’s Grace Tabaaza shines in Petroleum lecturing

    Grace Tabaaza undertakes a lecture at Uganda Petroleum Intistiute Kigumba. She teaches Health Saafety and Environment. Photo by Sunday

    Grace Tabaaza painfully left her babies in Kampala and went to Kiryandogo, West of Uganda, to Uganda Petroleum Institute Kigumba (UPIK) to retrieve studies

    The mother of two decided to take up the opportunity to realize her dream of joining Uganda’s petroleum industry.

    Her first born was 2 while her second born was 1 year old. She wined her baby off breast milk, boarded the bus from Kampala where her family was to UPIK, 200 kilometres away to begin a two-year course.

    UPIK is a government aided tertiary Institution under the Ministry of Education and Sports. UPIK is mandated to train technicians in Oil and Gas operations and maintenance programmes. Currently the Institute is running three two-year Diploma programmes in Oil and Gas.  The institute has a Diploma in Petroleum Engineering (DPE), a Diploma in Upstream Petroleum Operations (DUPO) and a Diploma in Downstream Petroleum Operations (DDPO).

    Tabaaza left the children with her husband to start school. She was among the pioneer students of Uganda Petroleum Institute Kigumba where she completed a diploma in Petroleum Studies in 2011. She managed to obtain a first class diploma and it is on that basis that the institute decided to retain her as a lecturer.

    “I missed my family. I lost weight. I was always worried about my children’s welfare. However, my husband was very supportive. If he wasn’t, I would have dropped out to go and look after my children” she says.

    Asked how she managed to outshine her fellow students to attain a first class, Ms Tabaaza says she concentrated on studies and taped into the knowledge of her lecturers and students.

    “The institute is out of town. There are fewer distractions here. I put lots of efforts to read and discuss with my fellow students” she says.

    Being pioneers, the students found a less equipped institute with inadequate text books and computers to facilitate teaching and learning. They thus relied on group discussions to share knowledge on the sector.

    Ambition:

    Her ambition is to support efforts of conserving the environment amidst Uganda’s oil and gas developments.

    As we enjoy oil discoveries and productions, she says, there is need to secure our people and the environment.

    She lectures Environment, Health and Safety (EHS) at UPIK and she hopes to instill the discipline of preserving the environment among her students.

    “Am sure they will be a voice of conservation wherever they go,“she says.

    She believes that oil developments should not disadvantage agriculture, environment, tourism and other sectors of the economy because oil is a finite resource that will get depleted unlike agriculture and tourism.

    Uganda hopes that the current oil discoveries will sustain commercial production between 20 to 30 years.

    As she joined the institute, she had hoped to be employed directly by the oil and gas companies that are operating in Uganda. However that did not materialize sine she ended up in the teaching profession.

    “However I am not disappointed since I am making a contribution to the oil industry through teaching students who will serve the industry directly or indirectly” she says.

    Ms. Tabaaza was the only female in her intake. That came with its own challenges.

    “I would at times feel out of place, seeing only men around me. However, later, I accepted the situation and begun to see them as my brothers,” she says.

    Education journey:

    She completed her Primary Education at Rusikizi Primary school in 1992 in Kabaale district. She later joined Kigezi High school where she completed her O’ Level.

    In 2001, she completed her Advanced level at Bishops Girls School in Kabaale district.

    However, her first attempt to sit for A level exams at Standard High Zana in 1999 did not yield the results she wanted to join University or a tertiary institution of her choice.

    She completed a Bachelor’s degree in Forestry and Nature conservation in 2006. The degree made her appreciate and love the Environment.

    This year, she is due to complete her Master’s degree in Environment and Natural Resources which she has been studying on part time since she spends most days of the week lecturing at UPIK.

    She is well disciplined and hard working. She motivates students especially ladies” says James Bagaya, the UPIK Academic Registrar.

    As Uganda’s oil industry takes shape, Tabaaza is an example of how committed and resilient young people can attain the skills they need to join the oil industry directly or indirectly.

    Given the fact that oil is being explored in an ecologically fragile area in the Albertine basin, her skills and passion for  environment, health and safety are crucial to the sector.

    Oil in Uganda correspondent, Bunyoro

    ENDS  

  • EITI-1-4-1

    Hope as Uganda embarks on EITI signup process

    Government has so far formed a Muti-Stakeholder Group (MSG) – acritical body towards the implementation of EITI.

    Uganda has embarked on a journey that could see the country become the newest implementing country for Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI).  For a country,

    where the exploitation of oil, gas and minerals is shrouded in secrecy and with accusations of corruption, joining EITI is an important milestone in entrenching transparency, accountability and good governance of the extractive industry.

    Cabinet decision in January, 2019 to EITI followed ten years of advocacy mainly by civil society and some government officials. Established in 2003, EITI is a global standard for good governance of oil, gas and mineral resources.

    Under the initiative, an implementing country is required to publish an annual EITI report – disclosing information on; contracts, licences, volumes of oil, how much is produced, how much is paid and received, how revenues from the sector is utilised.

    To become an EITI implementing country, Uganda has to complete the 5 sign up steps.  Step 1 is the establishment of a Multi-Stakeholder Group (MSG) with clear objectives and an agreed work plan for EITI implementation.

    With the help of MSG, government will submit the EITI candidature application to the EITI board. Once the board admits Uganda as an EITI candidate, the implementing county publishes the 1st annual report in line with EITI standards within eighteen (18) months. After, the annual EITI reports, an implementing country undertakes a validation process that enables the country become EITI compliant member. Currently, there are 53 countries, implementing EITI out of which, 25 are African.

    MULTI-STAKEHOLDER GROUP

    In February this year, cabinet decision was followed by a public declaration by the Finance Minister, Matia Kasaija of country’s intention to join the EITI. As part of its commitment, Government has already constituted a Multi-Stakeholder Group (MSG) to spearhead the implementation of the initiative.

    The MSG is currently comprised of 20 members drawn from Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), private sector and civil society. However, the membership is expected to rise to twenty-seven members.

    The MSG is Chaired by Moses Kaggwa, the director of Economic Affairs at the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (MoFPED). Kaggwa’s deputy will be elected from among the members.  Other members of the MSG are;

    Elly Karuhanga (Chairman, Uganda Chamber of Mines and Petroleum – UCMP).

    Allan Kyeyune (Uganda National Oil Company – UNOC)

    Kush Amin (Private Public Partnership Unit, Ministry of Finance)

    Allen Bucyana (Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs – MoJCA)

    Obad Noah (Oranto Petroleum Limited)

    Gloria Akatuhurira (Uganda Revenue Authority)

    Tom Buringuziza (Armour Energy limited)

    Philip Andrew Wabulya (Bank of Uganda)

    Nathan Morgan (TOTAL E&P Uganda)

    Robert Tugume (Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development)

    Jean-Yves Petit (TOTAL E&P Uganda)

    Allen Tebugulwa (National Planning Authority)

    Godfrey Mucurezi (Uganda Revenue Authority)

    Timothy Tibesigwa (Ministry of Works and Transport)

    Winfred Ngabiirwe (Global Rights Alert)

    Margret Lomonyang (Karamoja Region Indigenous Women Association) Siragi Magara Luyima (Civil Society Budget Advocacy Group – CSBAG)

    Onesmas Mugyenyi (ACODE)

    Ntegyereize Gard Benda (World Voices Uganda).

    MSG has so far convened its inaugural meeting and will be meeting on a quarterly basis. “Standing observer slots will be allocated to the Office of Auditor General (OAG) and the EITI International Secretariat. All observers will be able to engage in discussions at the MSG but will not have a right to vote,” a member of MSG who preferred anonymity told Oil in Uganda. He added that additional seats will be provided for nominated experts to who shall invited to speak on specific issues.

    The MSG is currently reviewing its own Terms of Reference (ToRs) and defining their scope.

    IS IT A PANCEA?

    Once fully implemented, EITI is expected to improved transparency, accountability and good governance of the sector. “EITI increases public information, thereby empowering the public to put to task their government to account for every penny of the resource revenues, which many governments in Africa tend to fear,” argues, Gard Benda, the Country Executive Director, World Voices Uganda.  The initiative enhances public debates which improves governance of the extractive industry.

    For instance, Tanzania joined EITI in 2008. According to 2017 EITI progress report for Tanzania, reveals that debates on payments of income tax by mining companies operating in the Tanzania, resulted into Acacia company – one of the mining companies paying $ 14 million in unpaid income tax.

    But critics argue that EITI is not a panacea for transparent and accountable governance of the extractives industry since it lacks sanctions. Countries that are not compliant can on be delisted from the initiative but can join the initiative again. For stance, countries like; Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania, Sierra Leon, Yemen, Indonesia, Madagascar, Guentamala have been suspended and re-joined the initiative.

    With the Multi-Stakeholder Group in place, the next step will be for Uganda to formally apply to the EITI International Board for candidate status.

  • kingfisher

    Kingfisher Public hearings concluded

    Government concluded two public hearings of the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) report for the Kingfisher development project. The hearings were conducted at Rwemisanga Primary school in Kikuube district and at Kabaale Primary school in Hoima district.

    The hearings which were organised by the Petroleum Authority of Uganda brought together project affected persons, diplomats, CNOOC Uganda, the operator for the Kingfisher oil field and other stakeholders who expressed their opinions and suggestions on the project inorder to influence NEMA’s decision making during the review of ESIA report.

    CNOOC Uganda Ltd intends to establish petroleum production facilities and support infrastructure in Buhuka parish where crude oil from wells drilled under Lake Albert will be processed and transported via a 46-kilometre feeder pipeline to a delivery point in Kabaale parish in Hoima district.

    While presenting the ESIA report, the CNOOC Uganda Vice President Mr Cu Yujun said the Kingfisher oil project will yield substantial social and economic benefits for Uganda through increased government revenues, employment opportunities, increased household incomes and expenditure.

    He said the project will increase the demand for goods and services within the project affected areas.

    He added that the project will cause human capital development through short and medium term employment opportunities for the people and cause a transfer of knowledge and skills from expatriates to Ugandans.

    The Kingfisher ESIA report indicates that during the construction, operation and decommissioning of the project, air quality, soils, surface and ground water may be affected.

    The project is expected to attract immigrants, affect the health, social services and livelihoods of affected persons. It is feared that the project could destroy archeological and cultural sites in the area.

    According to Mr Cu Yujun, all impacts have been identified and measures have been developed to ensure that negative impacts are mitigated and positive impacts enhanced for communities.

    CNOOC indicated that there are management plans for air quality, noise and vibration, biodiversity, traffic, waste, influx, cultural heritage and community health.

    Christopher Busobozi, a resident of Kyangwali subcounty asked CNOOC to increase of education and trainings for Ugandans to enable Ugandans attain the necessary skills to work in the oil industry.

    Omuhereza Tumwesigye from Kabwooya subcounty expressed worry that oil developments may displace some people and affect their livelihoods. He demanded a plan to improve on livelihoods of project affected persons.

    Simon Kyahurwa, a resident of Buseruka subcounty told a pre-public hearing dialogue that was organized by Action Aid Uganda that some oil producing states like Nigeria have had challenges where oil pipelines are attacked and cut by militants. He asked Government and oil companies for a plan of how oil pipelines will be protected from attacks and spills.

    Ms Betty Bagadira, a resident of Tonya parish in Buseruka subcounty expressed concerns over women and the elderly being displaced by the project and being marginalized.

    However, the CNOOC Uganda’s Senior Public relations supervisor Ms Aminah Bukenya said the project will address the concerns which people raised at the public hearings in line with CNOOC’s strategy of win-win for the company and people affected by the oil developments.

    The Buhaguzi County Member of parliament whose constituency hosts the Kingfisher oil field said locals are worried of increased cases of land grabbing in the area since commercially viable oil deposits were discovered in the constituency.

    He asked Government to undertake systematic land demarcation and titling to enhance land tenure security of his people.

    He asked CNOOC to support the planting of indigenous tree species, improve community livelihoods, promote conservation of forests and wetlands and asked Government to take leaders in oil rich areas to oil producing states so that they obtain knowledge and skills about how the petroleum industry operates.

    The PAU Director of Technical Support Services Ms Peninah Aheebwa who represented the PAU Executive Director said the hearings gave an opportunity to Government and CNOOC to hear public concerns so that negative impacts are mitigated and the benefits of the project are optimized.

    She said proposals raised by the public will be put into consideration by the relevant Government organs before the project is given a green light to proceed.

    She said adequate measures will be put in place to address the environmental and social threats of the project.

    The Public hearings were presided over by Prof Grace Bantebya, a Makerere University lecturer. She said the oil can bring joy and tears to a country.

    “This gigantic sector can change us either way” she said.

    She asked stakeholders to lay strategies of making the oil industry a blessing so that the sector helps Uganda in attaining some of the sustainable development goals.

    Kingfisher is one of the oil projects in Uganda which Government is developing in line with Uganda’s journey to kick start commercial oil production in 2022.

    Story by Francis Mugerwa

    Edited by Flavia Nalubega

    Edited by Didas Muhumuza

  • kingfisher-hearing

    Govt to conduct public hearings for the Kingfisher oil project

    Extractives Governance Project Coordinator Didas Muhumuza speaking to the media about youth engagement and involvement in the oil sector at a recently ended Pakasa Forum organised by ActionAid Int. Uganda and other partners.

    AAIU to conduct pre-hearing and community engagements to prepare communities to engage government

    The Petroleum Authority of Uganda (PAU) will next week(19th-21st June, 2019) hold a Public hearing for the Environmental and Social impact Assessment for Kingfisher oil project among affected communities.

    “The public is further notified that there will be two public hearings Wednesday 19th June 2019 at Rwemisanga primary school in Kyangwali subcounty in Kikuube district and Friday 21st June 2019 at Kabaale primary school in Buseruka subcounty in Hoima district from 9am to 5Pm” a public notice released by PAU this morning reads in part.

    The public hearings will be held in accordance with the National Environmental regulations 1998.

    The hearings bring together the developer and relevant stakeholders to express opinions and offer suggestions on the proposed project to influence the decision making process during the review of the ESIA.

    The Kingfisher oil project is located on the south Eastern side of Lake Albert in Buhuka parish, Kyangwali subcounty in Kikuube district.

    In 2012, Government awarded an oil production license to CNOOC Uganda Ltd to develop and operate the Kingfisher oil field.

    Funders

    The project will be funded by CNOOC Uganda, Total Exploration and Production Uganda (TEPU), Tullow Uganda Operations Pty Ltd (TUOP) and Uganda National Oil Company which represents Uganda’s business interests in the oil industry.

    The project component includes development of four well pads that will hold 20 production oil wells and 11 water injection wells.

    The project will have a Central Processing facility (CPF), flowlines to transport well fluids from production wells to the CPF.

    The project will also have a 46kilometre-long feeder pipeline to transport crude oil from the CPF at Kingfisher field development area to a delivery point located at Kabaale parish in Hoima district.

    The design of the project indicates that the project will have camps to host oil workers, a materials lay down yard, a jetty, and airfield and infield access roads.

    PAU is yet to announce the presiding officer of the hearings. However, the first hearings for the Tilenga oil project were presided over by Dr Fred Kabagambe Kaliisa, a former permanent secretary in the Ministry of Energy and Mineral development.

    “PAU’s role as a regulator is to ensure that oil and gas activities create value for the country and more so to the host communities. The ESIA process is also meant to ensure that all views of stakeholders are known and addressed. So we welcome feedback” Gloria Sebikari, a manager of corporate affairs and Public relations at PAU told oil in Uganda.

    CSOs petition

    On 14th May, fifteen civil society organisations led by the African Institute for Energy Governance (AFIEGO) wrote to the National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) expressing reservations about the Kingfisher oil project.

    “The undersigned CSOs note with concern that the Kingfisher project area is an area with critical ecosystems including Lake Albert, Bugoma Central Forest Reserve, Kamansinig River, River Nile and others. The project area also has communities that entirely depend on fishing for food, income and other critical aspects. The project must therefore be handled with utmost care and Uganda’s laws must be abided by to avoid or minimize oil impacts on the environment and communities” the petition which was delivered to NEMA on 14th May reads in part.

    The Non-Technical Summary (NTS) of the Kingfisher oil project ESIA report states that the mitigations for the social and economic impacts of the land acquisitions under the Kingfisher project and resettlement activities shall be in the Resettlement Action Plans (RAPs). However, CSOs observed that  these RAPs are not part of the Kingfisher ESIA report.

    If the RAPs are not part of the current ESIA report, it means that the developer presented an incomplete ESIA to NEMA and therefore any comments will be based on incomplete reports, the petition signed off by the AFIEGO Chief Executive officer Dickens Kamugisha.

    “This is contrary to the objective that necessitated Uganda’s shift from the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) regime to the ESIA regime. Undertaking and reviewing an ESIA requires that one assesses the environmental and social impacts of any proposed project as one component” Kamugisha who is a lawyer, says.

    The Kingfisher ESIA report notes that a road will be constructed through Bugoma forest to support the Kingfisher oil project activities. In addition to the roads, a feeder pipeline for the Kingfisher project, the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP), an airfield in Buhuka and other infrastructure are being planned.

    “These developments will open up the forest in particular and the oil region at large to an influx of people who will migrate to the oil region in search of jobs and other oil related opportunities. This will negatively impact on local community livelihoods and will result in degradation of Bugoma forest. Consequently, there will be a reduction in income from tourism and the role Bugoma forest plays in the provision of water to the entire catchment will be compromised” the CSOs stated.

    The CSOs asked the developers of the Kingfisher oil project to present detailed plan with a budget, work plan and timelines to show how the Bugoma central forest reserve will be protected from the direct and indirect dangers of oil exploitation.

    The ESIA report indicates that millions of cubic metres of water will be extracted from Lake Albert for oil activities.

    “However, there is no framework for addressing conflicts over the utilisation of the Lake Albert waters and other resources such as fish by DRC and Uganda. The two countries continue to conflict over the boundaries of the lake. With the proposed extraction of huge amounts of water from Lake Albert by the Kingfisher oil project, it is not clear how the DRC will react to the decision considering that Uganda and DRC have in the recent past been conflicting over Lake Albert to the extent that since discovery of oil in 2006, some people including a Heritage Oil company Engineer have been killed on the lake due to conflicts” the petition said.

    ActionAid to conduct pre-hearings

    ActionAid International Uganda will hold sub pre-community engagement sessions to enable better preparation for meaningful participation and involvement of community members in the public hearings and other subsequent processes.

    These shall be held in Hoima, Buseruka, Kikuube and Kyangwali districts starting 18th to 20th June 2019.

    According to AAU’s Extractives Project Coordinator Didas Muhumuza, AAIU has carried out such engagements before in Buliisa that created real time debate, a move that PAU, NEMA and the oil companies appreciated and equally engaged to ensure that communities are satisfied with possible benefit from the sector.

    Oil in Uganda correspondent in Bunyoro

  • Mining-Indaba-1

    Domesticating the Africa Mining Vision: Where Civil Society Stands

    The Africa Mining Vision (AMV) is a policy framework established by the African Union in 2009 to promote equitable, broad-based development through prudent exploitation and utilization of the continent’s natural wealth.

    The ambitious goal of the AMV is “to foster transparent, equitable and optimal exploitation of Africa’s mineral resources to underpin broad based sustainable growth and socio-economic development.”

    The AMV is labeled ambitious as it calls for the creation of ‘a regime of responsibility for natural resource extraction in African countries.” This means it addresses key areas of interest that have long cast a spotlight on the exploitative nature of conducting business between multi-national companies and governments where the former are associated with hemorrhaging of the continent’s resources through tax evasion coupled with illicit financial flows from the mineral sector and the later mortgaging their countries’ resources in unfair selfish contracts shrouded in non-disclosure agreements.

    This cocktail of issues often leaves the countries’ citizens wallowing in poverty as the mineral resource wealth does not translate into opportunities and social economic development.

    The AMV is described as a game changer in the continent’s mineral sector, according to Oxfarm, in their 2017 briefing paper, From Aspiration to Reality: Unpacking the AMV, as it “comprehensively addresses the challenges associated with harnessing Africa’s mineral resources for sustainable development, while striving to reflect global norms for the equitable governance of the natural resources sectors.”

    Ideally the AMV addresses six major areas of intervention namely; improving the quality of geological data which leads to fairer deals and more equitable returns on mineral sector investments; contract negotiation capacity; resource governance; management of mineral wealth; addressing infrastructure constraints; and elevating artisanal and small scale mining by acknowledging its developmental role thereby harnessing this potential through formalization and integration into local and regional economic development.

    AMV Progress

    AU member states are required to adopt the AMV fully, align national mineral sector policies with the provisions of the framework and implement it through derivative policy instruments including the Country Mining Vision, African Mineral Governance Framework and Compact with the Private Sector – while maintaining an integrated, strategic vision for national development.

    Experts however say the slow pace of implementation of the AMV since its inception risks failing its major aspirations. The Brief cites that there is low awareness of the potential opportunities for the AMV to address grievances in communities experiencing the negative environmental and social effects of mineral extraction.

    Notably, civil society, which has been at the forefront of struggles to put Africa’s mineral sector at the heart of strategies for inclusive, equitable development is making baby steps towards mobilising to engage with the national implementation of the AMV in terms of grassroots mobilization and policy advocacy in Uganda.

    In promoting strategies for inclusive, equitable development civil society has been urged to popularize the AMV’s goals of: recognizing the contribution of artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) to local economic development, and promoting women’s rights and gender justice; advocating for a progressive fiscal regime to curb the hemorrhaging of the continent’s resources through tax evasion and avoidance plus illicit financial flows from the mineral sector thereby promoting transparency in the management of mineral resource revenues and the accountability of states and corporate actors in their relations with mining-affected communities and citizens; upholding the principle of free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) for mining-affected communities; and addressing the social and environmental impacts of mining.

    As with a number of non-governmental organisations across, ActionAid International Uganda runs a specific project on Extractives Governance and works with several stakeholders in the sub sector, particularly artisanal and small-scale miners (and government) to uphold and promote the AMV.

    Chris Musiime who works with African Centre for Mineral Policy says that there is a lack of a sense of ownership of the AMV concept by Ugandan NGOs and non-alignment with oil and gas which they consider a hot topic at the moment.

    “Although the AMV can be perceived as universal in terms of resource management, it remains hugely biased towards mining. At the time it came about, mining was not a big deal here and almost all NGOs were concentrating on oil and gas. Thus it was not an easy fit into the NGO work at the time. If you recall, many NGOs including ActionAid were mad about EITI but never mentioned AMV yet EITI principles are generally represented in the AMV,” he said.

    He contends that Civil society needs to familiarise themselves with the AMV first of all, how it came about, why Uganda signed up, and the particular role set aside in the AMV for civil society then pick out what applies to Uganda and set on developing a country specific document for Uganda.

    “With the new Minerals Policy, Petroleum Laws and on-going review of the Mining and Minerals Act as well as Uganda accepting to join EITI, CSOs have to remain updated with all these processes if they are to remain relevant. Secondly, they should follow up with the Government Department responsible for the domestication of AMV, am not sure if it’s MOFA or MEMD or both. Gain networks there and understand the challenges they have and see how to help them. AMV domestication cannot be done by NGOs alone. It has to be a partnership.”

    Didas Muhumuza, the Manager Extractives Governance Project at ActionAid International Uganda says the project has already embarked on some work around the AMV. He views that the AMV is a top-bottom high level initiative whose formulation and development did not include comprehensive stakeholder consultations and engagement. “It thus requires practical domestication through local involvement and participation by stakeholders in the derivation of the framework. The only opportunity available now is to ensure that the derivation of the Country Mining Vision for Uganda is done through a bottom-up process to enable realistic consideration of the local stakeholders concerns,” Muhumuza emphasized.

    There are takeaway points for the civil society to do more about actualizing the AMV as outlined in the brief by Oxfam.

    ‘Civil society should proactively engage in policy advocacy, research and analysis of the AMV, focus on civic space and social participation, women’s rights and gender justice and environmental plus social sustainability, in order to elicit policy reforms by African governments and the Pan-African policy institutions to address the shortcomings in the framework,” it says.

    It also urges stakeholders (especially Civil Society actors to undertake popular campaigns to raise awareness of the AMV and its benefits to African citizens and mining-affected communities, to ensure that the interests of non-state actors are addressed in the Country Mining Visions.

    By Robert Mwesigye

    Edited by Flavia Nalubega

    Edited by Didas Muhumuza

  • Oil and Gas Summit

    Why UNOC CEO Dr Josephine resigned

    Uganda National Oil Company Director General CEO Dr. Josephine Wapakabulo address participants during the 5th East Africa oil and Gas summit and Exhibition held at the Intercontinental Hotel in Nairobi Kenya on the 21 June 2018.

    Politics, intrigue cited in her resignation

    Nearly three years in her job, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Uganda National Oil Company, Dr Josephine Wapakabulo has resigned.  In her resignation letter dated May 13, 2019, addressed to the Chairperson Board of Directors of the Uganda National Oil Company (UNOC), Emmanuel Katongole, Wapakabulo cites family and new opportunities as reasons for her resignation.

    “This is my resignation from the position of Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Uganda National Oil Company with effect from August, 13, 2019,” her resignation letter reads in part. Chairman, it has been an honour and a privilege to work with you, the Board and staff of UNOC as we set-up and established UNOC to handle the State’s commercial interests in the Oil and Gas sector. However, time has come for me to focus on my family and new opportunities,” Wapakabulo’s resignation letter reads in part.

    However, insiders attribute her resignation to politics and intrigue at work. In a staff email on the contrary, Wapakabulo further hinted on health as a cause of her resignation.

    She was recruited as the first CEO of the Uganda National Oil Company in August, 2016. In her resignation letter, she described UNOC staff as dedicated to serve the country, hardworking, smart and skilled Ugandans.

    “I’m confident that under the continued guidance of the Board, UNOC will grow from strength to strength and successfully deliver its mandate to the people of Uganda,” she wrote. Wapakhabulo is a daughter of the Late Speaker of Parliament and seasoned politician, James Wapakhabulo.

    “I express my sincere gratitude to His Excellency President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni for his leadership and stewardship of our oil and gas sector. I also thank our Shareholder Ministers, Hon. Eng. Irene Muloni and Hon. Matia Kasaija, you and the Board for all the support and guidance you have given me during my time as CEO and for this opportunity to serve my country,” she wrote.

    By Edward Ssekika

    Edited by Flavia Nalubega

    Edited by Didas Muhumuza