PAU assesses sector readiness for petroleum development phase

The Petroleum Authority of Uganda (PAU) recently evaluated the readiness of the sector for the development phase. The development phase involves construction of the required infrastructure to process the crude oil for transportation and refining into finished products.

The assessment, which was led by Mr. Ernest N.T. Rubondo, the PAU Executive Director during May 2021, followed the recent conclusion of key agreements for the sector in April 2021.

“It is clear that the institutions have made significant effort to prepare for the opportunities that have opened up,” Mr. Rubondo observed, noting the visible socio-economic and spatial transformation of the Albertine Graben.

The evaluation included visits and dialogues with district leaders (Nwoya, Buliisa and Hoima districts), vocational institutes (Uganda Petroleum Institute, Kigumba, St. Simon Vocational Institute, Buhimba Technical Institute and TASC), and security committees in the Albertine Graben. The assessment also covered field visits to the Kingfisher Development Area, Tilenga Project Area and Kabaale Industrial Park.

Mr. Rubondo emphasized the magnitude of the planned oil and gas developments during the meetings.

“One of the biggest projects in Uganda is Karuma dam whose value is about US$1.4 billion. This is far below the value that the oil and gas projects are destined to deliver here in the near future, which shall be in the range of US$15 to US$20 billion,” he said.

Mr. Rubondo also pointed out that significant benefits have already been delivered by the industry, even before commercial oil production starts. These include improved infrastructure like the 700kms of roads and electricity connectivity, capacity building initiatives, supply opportunities, social amenities in health, education and sanitation, some of which are part of the livelihood restoration programmes for the communities (structures and improvement programmes), among others.

Hon. Simon Agaba Kinene, the former LCV Chairperson for Buliisa district commended the Government for the deliberate initiatives put in place to ensure local participation.

“The local community and project affected persons have understood the ongoing process and they are ready to benefit from this development phase. The Kirama piped water extension project is a key milestone in the Tilenga Project area, serving five villages: Kichoke, Kirama, Katodyo, Katanga, and Wanseko.” he said.

The PAU has facilitated the participation of Ugandans as employees and providers of goods and services in the oil and gas sector, through the National Oil and Gas Talent Register (NOGTR) and the National Supplier Database (NSD), respectively. As of June 2021, 3,169 companies are registered on the NSD while 4,682 Ugandans are registered on the NOGTR.