MPs question Tullow's hurried sale of oil stake to Total, CNOOC

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In short
MPS demand for explanation in the sale of Tullow oil assets. Tullow oil on Tuesday sold off part of its assets worth 2.9billion dollars to total and CNOOC.

Members of Parliament are raising eye brows at the hurried manner in which Tullow Oil sold off part of its assets worth 2.9 billion dollars to Chinese and French oil giants.

The concern comes a day after Tullow Oil announced details of the new sale and purchase agreements it clinched with France's Total and China National Offshore Oil Company (CNOOC).

The agreements show that NCOOC and Total will acquire 33.3% of rights that Tullow holds in exploration areas in Uganda.

The agreement came moments after the government had sealed a memorandum of understanding with Tullow in which the oil firm would pay over 600 billion shillings in taxes accruing from Heritage Oil's sale of its stake to Tullow last year.

Now some legislators want a piece of the action. Lwemiyaga MP Theodore Ssekikubo wants government to explain how Tullow was able to sell the stakes to these two companies. He wants government to avail the agreements signed on Tuesday in Hong Kong, China.

Seekikubo says Tullow's sale of its assets without the knowledge of the citizens is wrong.

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Henry Banyenzaki, the chairperson of the Parliamentary Forum on Oil and Gas, says that such complications in the oil sector could have been easy to solve if the oil management bill was already in parliament. He blames government for its delay.

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Government Chief Whip, Daudi Migereko, told parliament that energy minister Hilary Onek will make a reply on the questions raised next week.

The draft bill to govern the petroleum sector is still before cabinet for consideration. Last year Onek had promised parliament that the bill would be tabled in November but to date the bill has not been brought up for scrutiny.

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