Experts call for Transparency in Oil Field Development Stage

2103 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
Prof. Elijah Mushemeza, an authority on oil and gas matters, says information sharing and awareness creation will be critical at this stage, especially if the participation of locals is to be enhanced.

Experts are calling for greater transparency as the field development stage gets underway in Uganda's oil and gas sector.

Prof. Elijah Mushemeza, an authority on oil and gas matters, says information sharing and awareness creation will be critical at this stage, especially if the participation of locals is to be enhanced.
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The government on August 30 granted production licenses to Total and Tullow for eight oil fields in Exploration Area 1 and Exploration Area 2.
Total has three production licenses for Ngiri (warthog), Jobi-Riii (buffalo-giraffe) and Gunya (baboon) in EA1. Tullow, on the other hand, has production licenses for five oilfields namely Kasamene-Wahrindi, Kigogole-Ngara, Nsoga, Ngege and Mputa-Nzizi-Waraga.
Already China National Offshore Oil Company (CNOOC) had a production license for the Kingfisher Block after Tullow sold its stakes in the exploration area.
With the three partners now armed with production licenses, the stage is set for real oil field development which takes about three to four years till the First Oil, which is projected for 2020.
In reality, the field development stage started with the appraisal and development studies which led to the issuance of the production licenses.
This will lead to a pre-project phase, which redefines the project, leading to investment decision and subsequently project sanction, with the basic and detailed engineering, installation and drilling plans.
These include, among others, facilities like the wells and the central processing facility. The facility includes collection systems, treatment plants, storage systems, measuring systems, refinery, effluent systems and export pipelines, among others.
At project sanction, one overall boss is appointed and a Green Book is created. The Green Book has Standard of Requirements which must be followed to the letter. Any change in the Green Book must go through rigorous process of approval.
The field development stage requires a lot of investment, processes and personnel, making it a crucial stage, especially in terms of contracts and local content.
Prof. Mushemeza also calls for transparency and model agreements.
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Onesmus Mugyenyi, the Deputy Director of Advocates Coalition for Development and Environment (ACODE), says the field development stage will require many things including contracts hence the need to make it as transparent as possible.
According to Mugyenyi, also a researcher on oil, the field development stage will test Uganda's readiness in many areas including policy, regulation, skills development and local participation.
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Mugyenyi says the joint venture partners will contract many of the works and they will go to those with the competencies. He says Uganda's readiness in terms of policies, regulation, skills development, contracts, local participation and enabling infrastructure, among others, will be put to the test.
Mugyenyi also says the stage will have impacts on the environment, settlement, food supply, health, education and many things critical for the people, especially the locals.
When contacted over Uganda's regulatory preparedness as the bigger field development stage kicks in, the Chair of the board of the Petroleum Authority of Uganda, Dr. Jane Mulemwa, says that would be best answered by the new Executive Director of the Authority, Dr. Ernest Rubondo who has just assumed office.
Dr. Rubondo was head of the Petroleum Exploration and Production Department and was instrumental in the exploration phase. He could not be reached for a comment.


About the author

David Rupiny
In his own words, David Rupiny says, "I am literally a self-trained journalist with over 12 years of experience. Add the formative, student days then I can trace my journalism roots to 1988 when as a fresher in Ordinary Level I used to report for The Giraffe News at St Aloysius College Nyapea in northern Uganda.

In addition to URN for which I have worked for five years now, I have had stints at Radio Paidha, Radio Pacis, Nile FM and KFM. I have also contributed stories for The Crusader, The New Vision and The Monitor. I have also been a contributor for international news organisations like the BBC and Institute for War and Peace Reporting. I am also a local stringer for Radio Netherlands Worldwide.

I am also a media entrepreneur. I founded The West Niler newspaper and now runs Rainbow Media Corporation (Rainbow Radio 88.2 FM in Nebbi). My areas of interest are conflict and peacebuilding, business, climate change, health and children and young people, among others."