By Vision Reporter
Uganda has started the process of setting up standards and codes to govern the petroleum value chain.
The process started last week with the launch of a 16-man technical committee composed of various experts from the academia, the industry, private sector, security and technocrats.
The committee will provide for the formulation and harmonisation of standards for the downstream, midstream and upstream petroleum operations, which are critical to the development of the oil and gas sector.
Kabagambe Kaliisa, the permanent secretary of the energy ministry, said there is urgent need to expedite the development of standards for the entire petroleum value chain.
“This calls for standards and codes that can be adopted locally and also meet international requirements,” he said in a speech read by John Bosco Habumugisha, the assistant commissioner in charge of pipeline development.
“Aspects of safety, security, health and environment are of paramount importance in ensuring effective regulation of the oil and gas sector, hence the need for appropriate standards and codes.”
Kaliisa said it is important to involve stakeholders because they have many roles to play and “this will enable us to consult with you on how we can move forward in the country’s pursuit of commercialising the oil and gas resources.”
Uganda’s petroleum sector has grown over the years with commercial discoveries of oil registered in 2006 and currently standing at more than 3.5 billion barrels. About 1.7 billion barrels are recoverable.
The Government is taking steps towards the production phase. The first production license was issued late last year to Chinese firm CNOOC Uganda.
Irene Muloni, the energy minister, said stakeholders need to carry out their roles responsibly, especially since the oil and gas sector is a high risk, but highly rewarding industry.
“The operations are capital intensive and require significant investments prior to actual production. The oil and gas sector is international given that the majority of the oil companies operate globally across the value chain,” she explained.
“But the sector has the potential to disrupt other sectors of the economy if it is not well managed or regulated. This standards development process is intended to contribute positively to the proper regulation of the sector,” Muloni added.