There are a few human beings who have always politicized the issue of the oil and stated all funny and ugly statements about the country’s discovery but for sure I came to notice they are just jokers because they might have not witnessed or had chance to view with their naked eyes what is happening at any of the sites in Hoima.
Just a few days back I was in Hoima on a fact finding mission about our oil that I have heard people talk about allover media and in public debates, oil has been a key word in this country ever since it was discovered and if am not wrong, our oil is our pride because according to the constitution of the country as amended in 2005, the entire property in, and the control of, all minerals and petroleum in, on or under, any land or waters in Uganda are vested in the Government on behalf of the Republic of Uganda and this means that it is our oil so all Ugandans are stakeholders in this issue.
There are a few human beings who have always politicized the issue of the oil and stated all funny and ugly statements about the country's discovery but for sure I came to notice they are just jokers because they might have not witnessed or had chance to view with their naked eyes what is happening at any of the sites in Hoima.
Me who spent a week in Hoima with all Government communicators took many observations and I now have no doubt in me, we have oil because I saw it and our future is bright.
First of all, the exploration, development, and production of crude oil and natural gas require enormous amounts of capital for all the processes to run normally. To obtain the funds needed, companies sometimes join together and pool their resources to explore for oil.
Large integrated oil companies, as well as small companies and individuals, participate in the exploration, development, and production phases of the oil and gas industry. Here in Uganda, the Petroleum Authority has helped a lot in making sure all oil related issues are handled in a proper manner and that's a very great contribution by our president.
According to Gloria the Public Relations Officer at the Petroleum Authority of Uganda, the main site, Kingfisher oil well and gas field well which has the oil that I saw with my open eyes was discovered in 2008 as an exploration well with four wells on three oil well pads, the capacity of oil expected at plateau at Kingfisher site is 40,000 barrels per day.
Government of Uganda has issued 8 oil production licenses so far to three International oil companies and these include Total E&P, CNOOC Uganda LTD, Tullow Uganda operation PTY LTD, These companies are expected to produce this oil and because government has signed memorandums of understandings with them, us as Ugandans are very sure that we are dealing with the best companies that can serve the interests of our country very well and are compliant to the terms and conditions.
The Albertine Graben Refinery Consortium is leading the development of the refinery, whereas Total is leading the preliminary activities for the pipeline (EACOP).
These companies represent the key private sector players in the oil and gas sector and they are trusted companies that have been in such sectors for long and their legacy still leaves all over the world.
Our oil refinery will be located at kabaale industrial park with a capacity of 60,000 barrels per day and this is just enough oil for us as a country that has just discovered this good developmental mineral.
There are many developments that have been carried out in the Albertine region and these are big projects that will enable a number of people get employed in the different fields and for the people to get employed in the various fileds, they need knowledge about the oil and gas sector and it's the reason there has been an establishment of oil training facilities, most importantly the Uganda Petroleum Institute, this has been a positive step in building technical skills and ensuring that oil related jobs are held by Ugandans.
Other institute that has helped skill many youth in partnership with the Petroleum Authority is Buhimba Technical Institute still in Hoima, this has skilled a number of informal and formal students with a number of skills.
While the focus has been on the training of lower cadre technicians, more training of technical specialists at the higher levels has also been given attention by introducing oil and gas related courses in a number of Universities.
However, for the time that I spent in Hoima I made some observations and I think if the country is to benefit from its oil, then a few things have to be put in consideration, there is an urgent need to avoid systemic corruption and nepotism.
Uganda should look to strengthen state institutions while developing a system of cross-party collaboration and build social cohesion towards a common vision for prosperity.
For us as a country to take full control of our oil and other resources of that kind, there is great need to combat corruption, become more transparent and accountable, strengthen public institutions, make decisions with public interest in mind and build social cohesion.
For Uganda to have a very nice success story in the oil and gas sector, It has the opportunity to learn from the mistakes made by other African oil producing countries like Nigeria, Angola, Algeria, Libya and I am very sure there is knowledge available on how to do so.
Although Uganda has taken steps to create competent capacity in the field with a number of qualified specialists in the oil industry, a lot more needs to be done for the sector to run a clean and productive industry.
A competent bureaucracy is one of the factors that explains Nigeria's success and should be adhered to by the government of Uganda.
UGANDA MEDIA CENTRE