Uganda ready for first oil, says President Museveni

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President Yoweri Museveni has said all major decisions have been made to facilitate oil production.

“What remains to be tested is the preparedness and readiness of you all and most especially the East Africans, our international partners, to take advantage of the industry and the expected $20b (sh76trillion)) investment expected to flow in the country,” Museveni said.

The President’s remarks were contained in a speech read on his behalf by the Prime Minister, Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda, while opening 4th Uganda International Oil and Gas Summit at the Kampala Serena Hotel on Thursday.

The two-day summit, attended by about 1,000 delegates from different parts of Uganda, is organised by the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, the Uganda National Oil Company and Petroleum Authority Uganda.

The theme is ‘Uganda-Moving towards commercial production’.

“Please communicate to Government to clear any obstacles so that investment development can move smoothly. We will work with the stakeholders to remove any challenge,” Museveni said.

“I want to re-assure you all that Uganda is ready for business.  We value investors. People who bring capital create jobs and bring revenue for the state.”

On her part, energy minister Eng. Irene Muloni said they would ensure the development of local content in the oil and gas industry.

“The Local Content Policy was developed and approved by Cabinet this year in June.  The policy provides a framework for effectively implementing Government’s local content goals,” she told delegates.

Amelia Kyambadde, the minister for trade and industry, said the industry would lead to increase in investment opportunities and job creation.

“We must synergize in optimising the use of assets, infrastructure and mobilisation of human resources to exploit these resources in an effective and efficient manner,” she said.

“We should be mindful of the anticipated challenges of windfall revenue, overdependency and the resource curse.”

Kaliisa Kabagambe, senior presidential advisor on oil and gas, said the aim of the summit was look at how exploration and production are moving. he added that Uganda needs to examine the direction the industry is taking.

“We need to deal with emerging challenges. Communication among stakeholders is very important in the industry.”

Uganda Refinery Holding Company general manager, Dr Michael Mugerwa, weighed in on the discussion.

He said Uganda’s small and medium-sized enterprises need to focus on capacity building and training of its staff to enable do business successfully with the industry.

Abdul Byakagaba, an official from Oranto Petroleum, which is the company exploring for oil at the Ngassa Block on Lake Albert, admitted the exploration of oil on the lake will be tough because Uganda does not yet have marine expertise and the area is a new oil province.

 

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