Find us on:
Facebook Twitter Google Plus Youtube

Economy

  • Tullow Oil announces farm-down to Total

    Tullow Oil PLC has entered into a substantial farm- down of 21.57 per cent of its 33.33 per cent shares in the Exploration Areas in all the Lake Albert Project licenses in EA1, EA1A, EA2 and EA3A to Total E&P Uganda B.V.

    The London-based company yesterday announced that a Sale and  Purchase Agreement with an effective date of January, 1st, 2017  will allow Tullow retain an 11.76% interest in the upstream and which would reduce to 10% when the Government of Uganda formally exercises its right to back-in.

    “This agreement is based on the transfer of licence interests from Tullow to Total in exchange for cash and deferred consideration to be paid as, and when the Lake Albert Development Project reaches a series of key milestones, and represents a reimbursement by Total of a portion of the Tullow’s past exploration and development costs,” partly reads the press statement from Tullow. According to a press statement issued by Total E&P, this transaction will give Total a 54.9% interest, strengthening its position in this competitive project and paving the way for a project sanction in the near future.

    “Following the agreement on the Tanzanian export pipeline route, this transaction gives Total a leadership position to move this project efficiently toward FID in the current attractive cost environment, while providing strong alignment and a pragmatic financing scheme for our partner Tullow,” said Patrick Pouyanné, Total Chairman and CEO adding that the increased share in the Lake Albert project will bring significant value to Total and fits with our strategy of acquiring resources for less than $3 per barrel with upside potential.

    Aiden Heavey, Tullow Oil Plc Chief Executive Officer (CEO), said the company will remain an active player in Uganda, “Today’s agreement will allow the Lake Albert Development to move ahead swiftly, increasing the likelihood of Final Investment Decision (FID) in 2017 and first oil by the end of 2020. I’m particularly pleased that Tullow’s long-term commitment to and presence in Ugandan is guaranteed by this transaction and that we will remain an active investor in Uganda’s oil and gas sector,”

    He added, “The deal will secure future cash flow for the group from one of the industry’s few truly low cost development projects without any additional cash requirements expected. We will work closely with the government of Uganda, its associated agencies and with Total and CNOOC to move this transaction forward as smoothly as possible over the coming months.”

    The farm down is likely to raise once again tax disputes. Of recent, such disposals have attracted Capital Gains Tax (CGT) which has been a center of oil litigations between government and the International Oil Companies.

    Both companies strongly assert that completion of farm dawn is subject to approval from government of Uganda.

    “Once this transaction is completed, Tullow will cease to be an operator in Uganda but will retain a presence in-country to manage its non-operated position,” the press statement notes.

    The Lake Albert Development Project is a major development which expects to achieve around 230,000 barrels per day at peak/plateau production.

    Report by Edward Ssekika

  • CSOs Call For Audit Of The Oil Sector; Fear Oil Money Will Be Put To Waste

    Following the oil cash bonanza in which 42 top government officials were rewarded with colossal sums of ‘oil money’, activists want an audit of the entire oil sector.

    This move follows a public uproar, over ‘the ‘scandal’ in which 42 top government officials, were paid Shs 6bn (about $1,656,000) as a reward for winning Tullow and Heritage cases over Capital Gains Tax.

    Winfred Ngabiirwe, the Executive Director, Global Rights Alert, says the ‘oil cash bonanza’ speaks volumes of how oil money is and will be spent.

    This bonanza confirms our fears that oil revenues will not deliver the country from poverty,” she explains.

    The level of secrecy and the impunity of the key players in the sector only confirm that Uganda is creating her own model of oil curse. It appears, those in power have decided to eat what they can eat, uncertain when production will start and oil dollars start flowing,” she argues.

    According to Ngabiirwe, all these are attributed to government’s delay or refusal to sign up to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), a global frame that promotes transparency and accountability in the extractives sector.

    The EITI framework, she argues, would enable Ugandans to know how much the country is earning from oil and gas resources and how the money is spent.

    We need a forensic audit of the entire sector. First, we need to know whether the country is collecting the right amounts of money from oil companies, and are oil companies paying right taxes to our coffers and then Ugandans must follow the money. Short of that, we are dreaming that will benefit our country,” she demands.

    Gerald Karuhanga, the Ntungamo Municipality Member of Parliament, concurs with Ngabiirwe echoing that the cash bonanza is a confirmation of how oil money will be put to waste.

    He argues that the fact that government can extravagantly spent colossal sums of money on “a golden presidential handshake’, for simply winning a case, what will happen when the ‘real’ petro dollars begin to flow.

    Defending the oil cash bonanza, Sarah Birungi Banage, Uganda Revenue Authority’s Assistant Commissioner for Public and Corporate Affairs, notes that the ‘presidential golden handshake’, was in appreciation of the exemplary performance by the team and a standard international best practice.

    “….. government granted the team involved an honorarium or bonus or golden handshake totaling Shs 6bn. This represented less than 1% of the amount brought in or defended,” reads in part a statement from URA.

    The team brought in a combined total of $700m into government coffers after a series of court battles in Uganda’s Tax Appeals Tribunal, High Court, Court of Appeal and High Court of London, Court of Appeal of UK, and two international tribunals. This was from the Heritage transaction and the subsequent Tullow transaction. The two cases were an unprecedented win for the country, and the first of its kind in Africa in the sector of Oil and Gas Taxation,”  the statement further notes.

    The officials who benefited from the ‘presidential golden handshake include; former Permanent Secretary in Ministry of Energy Fred Kabagambe Kaliisa, URA’s Commissioner General Doris Akol, former URA’s head of legal affairs and ED KCCA Jennifer Musisi, Secretary to the Treasury Keith Muhakanizi, former Attorney General Peter Nyombi and his deputy, Fred Ruhindi, Lawrence Kiiza from Ministry of Finance, Ernest Rubondo, the executive director of PAU, Francis Atoke, the Solicitor General. Others include lawyers; Ali Ssekatawa (URA), Martin Mwambutsya (then State Attorney), Peter Muliisa among others.

    In November, 2015, President Yoweri Museveni wrote to the Minister of Finance, Hon. Matia Kasaija authorizing cash payments to the 42 government officials.

    I met with a team of officials that handled the case and they requested to be considered for a reward in appreciation for the work done. Given the amount of money that was recovered for the government, I agreed that government pays them some money as a token of appreciation. I therefore direct that a team of 42 government officials be paid Shs 6bn only,” Museveni wrote in his authorization letter.

    The oil cash bonanza comes after,  the ‘first oil money’ was allegedly illegally released from Bank of Uganda, purportedly on the orders of the President to buy fighter jets in 2013.

    Report  by Edward Ssekika

  • Uganda is losing money in uncollected royalties and fees-Auditor General

    Uganda has lost at least 4.4 billion shillings (approx.1.3 million dollars) in uncollected mineral royalties in the last five years, according to a report from the Office of the Auditor General (OAG). Read More

  • Levy royalty on sand mining and stone quarrying, advises Auditor General

    The Auditor General is proposing that the government starts taxing the commercial excavation of sand and rocks. Read More

  • National Budget: 188 Billion allocated to oil and gas projects

    The Uganda Government has earmarked 188 billion shillings towards the implementation of its oil and gas plans in the 2016/17 financial year. Read More

  • Relief as export ban on unprocessed minerals is lifted

    A miner displays a piece of iron ore in Kabale. Iron ore is one of the minerals that had been banned from being exported. (Photo: B. Sidsel)

    President Yoweri Museveni has lifted the ban on the exportation of unprocessed minerals by both local and international players, saying he was misled by his Advisors. Read More

  • Mining royalty fees defaulters named, face travel bans

    An artisanal mining operation in Mubende District. It has emerged that many holders of exploration licenses are instead mining and selling the minerals.

    The Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development has published a list of mineral license holders who have not paid fees for mineral exploration, development and production. Read More

  • Uranium can power Uganda’s growth, but at what cost?

    Uganda’s Vision 2040 estimates that the country will require 41,738 MW of installed capacity by 2040, of which nearly 60% (24,000 MW) will come from nuclear. In this second article about Uganda’s nuclear industry, Luke Williams talks about how much uranium has been found to date and Uganda’s ambitious plan to use its resources to power its economy. Read More

  • Why fuel prices will not reduce significantly in Uganda

    Petrol pump prices in Uganda can only reduce by a maximum of UShs 210, only a 5.6% drop, and the new price would allow retail dealers to earn a margin of UShs 150 – 180 per litre, which is not much. Read More

  • Low oil prices forcing companies to lay off staff

    Tullow Uganda’s drilling engineers at work. Such jobs are getting scarce as oil companies downsize amidst weak returns from low oil prices. (Photo: Tullow Oil Uganda)

    2015 looks set to be the harshest year for the global oil and gas industry in recent times with hundreds of thousands of people expected to lose their jobs if oil prices continue their free fall or fail to recover significantly in the next few months. Read More