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MPs urge oil companies to protect the environment

By John Odyek

Added 17th July 2019 01:19 PM

Peter Lokeris, the Minister of State for Minerals said Uganda’s Second National Development Plan (NDP II) 2015/16 – 2019/20 recognises developments in the country’s oil and gas sector as one of the growth drivers for the economy.

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At the escarpment with CNOOC and Gov't officials in Kikuube district (Courtesy photo)

Peter Lokeris, the Minister of State for Minerals said Uganda’s Second National Development Plan (NDP II) 2015/16 – 2019/20 recognises developments in the country’s oil and gas sector as one of the growth drivers for the economy.

OIL AND GAS

MPs have urged oil companies to ensure that all the mitigation measures are put in place to ensure minimal disruption to the environment and social fabric of the host communities while exploring and producing oil.

Keefa Kiwanuka, the MP Kiboga district and Chairperson of the Natural Resources Committee said they were eager to acquaint themselves with work of oil companies in the field and what the key institutions in the sector were doing.

“This will enable us provide adequate guidance for the sector during the budgeting process and support the institutions address any bottlenecks as we look forward to first oil,” Kiwanuka said.

This was during a four-day familiarisation visit for 41 MPs to the oil and gas operation areas in the Albertine Graben last week. The field visit was organised by the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, the Petroleum Authority of Uganda, and the Uganda National Oil Company to enable the MPs assess Uganda’s readiness for oil and gas development and production

Peter Lokeris, the Minister of State for Minerals said Uganda’s Second National Development Plan (NDP II) 2015/16 – 2019/20 recognises developments in the country’s oil and gas sector as one of the growth drivers for the economy.

“It is critical that Parliament is kept informed of the progress being made to efficiently and effectively play its oversight role,” Lokeris said in a statement sent by the Petroleum Authority of Uganda.

The visit covered the Kingfisher development area in Hoima and Kukuube districts, the Tilenga project area in Buliisa district, the Nyamasoga Waste Management Facility (EnviroServ), Buhimba Technical Institute and the Kabaale Industrial Park (KIP) in Hoima district. The KIP will host the refinery, petrochemical industries and Uganda’s second international airport.

 

Forty-one MPs from the committees on natural resources; commissions, statutory authorities and state enterprises; local government; national economy; public accounts (Central Government), Physical Infrastructure and Equal Opportunities participated in the visit. The area MPs from Buliisa, Hoima and Kikuube districts were present.

Dr. Jane N. Mulemwa, the Chairperson of the Board of Directors of the Petroleum Authority of Uganda thanked the MPs for taking the opportunity to visit the projects on the ground. Mulemwa appealed to the MPs to ensure sufficient and timely funding for the oil and gas entities.

Reagan Okumu (Aswa County) said a successful oil and gas story cannot be separated from the livelihoods of the people in the immediate communities where the oil resources are located.

The MPs emphasised the need for increased funding for other Government agencies that oversee land and environment matters to ensure that they play their roles more efficiently.

They also emphasised the need to identify local content initiatives for the host communities, separate from national content initiatives, and ensure that recoverable costs are strictly managed.

The MPs also expressed concern about the ability of local companies to compete with their international counterparts in supplying goods and services for the sector.

“The road to first oil includes laying a foundation to ensure that Ugandans benefit from the sector by actively participating in the supply chain.  This is one of our core areas of regulation,” Peninah Aheebwa, Director, Technical Support Services at the PAU said.  Aheebwa said this being enhanced through collaboration of Government with the private sector and development partners. 

She said some of the initiatives undertaken include Quarterly Supplier development workshops in Kampala, Hoima, Buliisa and Nwoya districts to share information on upcoming tenders and projected demand for required goods and services.

Others support to education institutions to ensure they deliver relevant training courses meeting industry standards and certification. These include programmes for welders, drivers, plumbers, electrical technicians.

She said these are have been undertaken in Kampala, Mukono, Hoima, Buliisa, Lwengo districts and at Uganda Petroleum Institute, Kigumba, St. Simon Peters Vocational Institute, Hoima and Buhimba Technical Institute in Hoima.

She said the Government and its partners are taking forward the implementation of an agriculture development programme to support local farmers to meet the petroleum subsector standards and requirements, while also meeting local demand. 

The MPs visit included oil and gas infrastructure in Entebbe, including the petroleum data centre, core stores and laboratories, the office block under construction for the Directorate of Petroleum and the PAU. 

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