Years ago before Covid, I went to the Albertine region to check on the progress of our oil and what I saw was so amazing, recently when I went there again, a lot has been done and I think this is the right time for us as nation to warm up for the opportunities that are coming with this development.
Fifteen years ago, Uganda discovered commercially viable oil deposits in the Albertine region, with various discoveries including Kingfisher, Mputa, Waraga, Nzizi, Kasamene, Kigogole, Nsoga, Wahrindi and many more others which are now under production licenses.
As a nation, we are expected to produce 230,000 barrels of oil per day (at peak), which is expected to boost economic growth. The Tilenga project is expected to produce over 20000 barrels of crude oil per day for over 25 years. Each barrel of crude oil is equivalent to 1600 liters of refined oil like petrol, aviation fuel, diesel among others.
According to the ministry of Energy and Minerals, Commercial oil production is expected soon and all signs now show that the construction work for the required production and transportation infrastructure is set to start, following the signing of the three agreements, which marked the official launch of the projects.
Earlier this week, the Ministry of Energy and the Petroleum Authority of Uganda hosted Members of Parliament on the Budget, Natural Resources and Environment Committee to a four days oversight visit of the oil and gas projects in the Albertine.
On their first field tour, the legislators toured Uganda Petroleum Institute (UPIK), Stanbic business incubator project in Hoima, Total Energies Tilenga project, and on their last day they visited CNOOC’s Kingfisher project, Kabaale International Airport and a waste management site. On the team was Gen Mbadhi the CDF and Hon Peter Lokeris.
To me, this was a very good decision to take the team to the Albertine because many of these legislators contribute to the Lugambo on social media and while in parliament, you find that many have laughable submissions not because they don’t research enough but because they never go on ground to assess what they debate about but when they go on ground, they really see the real picture of what is happening.
Me who shared a van with them while on the tour now understand how good these members of parliament are, they may be noisy on the floor, they play a lot to the gallery, talk with tough faces while on camera but there is a lot that they know has been done by government and especially on this pol project, a lot has been done and is appreciated by the parliament.
As time goes on, there are so many developments in the Albertine for example in Kyakaboga, Government has constructed 72 well-furnished houses, two schools, a modern market, two churches, Power and safe water in the resettlement area.
Then on the issue of land acquisition for the Kingfisher project, 99 % of the process has been done regarding compensation of those whose land, crops and developments were affected by the project and it’s a new few people that are pending compensation but grievance resolution channels are being used to sort the issue.
I also had chance to move around the Kabaale International Airport with our legislators and they were so happy with the developments and when they got to the Airport runway they couldn’t miss photo opportunities on it and selfies just to appreciate the work being done by government. The runway seems to be at completion stage according to what I saw and once it’s done I am very sure it will help reduce traffic at Entebbe Airport.
The visit aside, the region is seriously seeing benefits such as improved infrastructure especially roads, an airport, Hotels and many other developments. There has also been employment opportunities and increase in business opportunities. It is very crucial that the Government figures out how to encourage the participation of all Ugandans in the oil sector through the use of local labour, goods and services during oil and gas activities and this is also the message that many of the legislators were emphasizing.
But lastly, I think these members of parliament should not just look at such projects and be against them while on plenary, they should support the Ministry of Energy and minerals, they should tell the country that there is a lot that is being done, and assure all Ugandans that government is doing a lot in the Albertine just to make sure that we have our oil soon.
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