Oil & Gas

Second oil and gas symposium: Govt develops national local content policy

Eng. Irene Batebe and Prof. Eria Hisali (Centre) with other officials and delegates from Ministries, Parliament, OWC and the Private Sector at the 2nd National Oil and Gas Symposium, 9th December 2021, CTF2 Auditorium, Makerere University.

Eng. Irene Batebe and Prof. Eria Hisali (Centre) with other officials and delegates from Ministries, Parliament, OWC and the Private Sector at the 2nd National Oil and Gas Symposium, 9th December 2021, CTF2 Auditorium, Makerere University.

The Government of Uganda has drafted the National Local Content Policy in an effort to encourage the participation of the private sector in oil and gas exploration.

This was revealed by the Minister of Energy and Mineral Development, Hon. Ruth Nankabirwa, during the second annual National Oil and Gas symposium held on December 9, 2021, in the CTF 2 Auditorium, Makerere University.

The symposium was run under the theme “National Content and Sustainability of Uganda’s Oil and Gas Sector”.

The Minister, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, Eng. Irene Batebe, said the government is engaged in skilling Ugandans because the oil and gas sector will create employment for the population directly, indirectly, and by induction.

She said the government had strengthened vocational training as well as training of farmers and SMEs to ensure they can compete in the industry.

“We have partnered with the German Government, Stanbic Bank, and African Development Bank to train our SMEs and ensure they meet the environmental, health, and safety standards required by the industry. With this we hope to see more Ugandans participate in the industry,” the Minister said.

Because the oil and gas industry is a capital intensive sector, the Minister revealed that they are working with the Ministry of Finance to start a Local Content development fund with the aim of providing seed capital to SMEs and farmers to enable them to supply goods and services to the oil and gas industry.

The Minister said the MEMD is training suppliers in an effort to equip them with knowledge of the required standards which will enable them to participate in the oil sector.

She added that the ministry is undertaking additional work of intensive exploration and a second licensing round with two companies, one of which is Uganda National Oil Company (UNOC), to run key projects such as developing oil fields and constructing supporting infrastructure.

“With this, we hope to discover additional oil wells that will sustain the infrastructure we are putting in place,” she added.

n his remarks read for him Prof. Eria Hisali the Principal College of Business and Management Sciences (CoBAMS), the Vice-Chancellor of Makerere University, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, emphasized that the Symposium is very timely as it will help the stakeholders to understand how to participate in the development of the oil sector.

“Investments have started to flow into the country and will increase for the next three years. This provides an opportunity for our businesses to make money and build capacity which can be used beyond Uganda,” he said.

The Chief Coordinator of Operation Wealth Creation Gen. Caleb Akandwanaho who participated online in his opening remarks said, “In the next 5 years, over 10 billion dollars will be invested in the Albertine region”.

He however asked pertinent questions “How are our food, security, logistics, engineering, and consultancy companies prepared for the massive investment going to take place in the Albertine region?”

The investment in the region according to the Minister includes 14 fields under development, 6.4 billion barrels of oil, and 5 billion cubic feet of gas.

The minister said the Ministry continues to support farmers’ associations in the Albertine region through training in areas of market access and optimization and a needs assessment will be done to underscore if they can supply the pipeline food needs.

Responding to the main challenge of access to affordable financing the Minister assured the stakeholders of the planned discussion with the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development so that a Local Content Development Fund is set up in an effort to reiterate Government’s commitment to fostering local content and local participation.

Hon. Dr. Emmanuel Otaala, the Chairperson for the Energy and Resources Committee of Parliament resounded the passing of the Oil and Gas bill saying when passed, the bill will offer opportunities to local suppliers.

Dr. Otaala tasked the Ministry of Energy to expedite the proposal and process of the National Content Fund to allow Ugandans to participate in the Oil and Gas sector by building skills and being able to financially stand on their own. He concluded by assuring the stakeholders of Parliament’s support.

“Parliament will stand with the public by passing the necessary legislation which will allow Ugandans to participate in the oil and gas sector and we want the development of the Pipeline to be in tandem with the development of the refinery,” he said.

The symposium was attended by companies in the oil and gas sector, private sector, banking sector, security sector, academia, government ministries, and SMEs.

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