This appears to be a week to revisit Uganda’s oil sector. There is a lot to discuss here over the next several days on not just oil, but energy issues in general. Here are a few pointers gleaned from a few weeks of “research”. First in the oil sector, the big news is that the consortium of foreign companies ( Tullow, Total and CNOOC) will put pen to paper; formally assenting to their partnership on the 15th of this month according to those in the know.
The road to the “farm down” has been slow but it appears to be nearing completion.
Signing of a deal basically means production or “development” of the oil fields is brought closer. A senior government official told me the oil companies are “eager” to go to the next phase of production and the government will likely issue “production licenses” before another round of auctioning for new exploration areas.
This deal has been delayed a bit because CNOOC the Chinese company has been “slow” in integrating its share with the other two according to multiple sources. The companies are all based around each other on what we used to call ” Kitante road”.
One of them plans to make a large new building its HQ’s and is set to bring in about 50 expats after the deal is inked to form its core for local operations. This week Tullow is hiring from campuses abroad including the University of Houston- at least that is the word.
Meanwhile the government which withdrew two bills in the oil sector is set to make a radical move- essentially bringing in a totally new law with various implications that we will discuss here. Tomorrow however me and others are in court at Nakawa for a hearing of Amicus Curie proceedings on our landmark access to informationcase seeking greater transparency in the oil sector. Several organisations would like to join the case which seeks the declaration of the oil contracts as public documents.
More on this and other tid bits later including the low down on a new law firm that is the first dedicated to exclusively servicing the oil sector and what it may offer.
Now as far as electricity is concerned a public process is about to start as the government re-negotiates its contract with Umeme, the power distributor. Perhaps it explains the story in the New Vision today? This writer has been told however that while government will insist on stronger terms in its re-negotiations there is “no plan B” to see its contract withdrawn. The stakes will likely be high though.
Electricity is a burning issue because of shortages that are set to increase with the decomissioning , by Christmas, of about 100MW of thermal power ( 50MW has been removed already) and a testing phase for the Bujagali Dam project which is fragile right now.
With a debate on a certain forest underway energy ( and inflation) are set to be the major topics in this pearl of Africa.