Monday August 24 2015

CSOs caution govt on new oil deals

By FREDERIC MUSISI

Kampala.

An advocacy group in the oil sector has asked government to delay issuance of licences for six oil blocks until the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) is operational.
The civil society organisations, working closely with the extractives industry (oil, gas and minerals) demanded in a statement that the next round of licensing must meet minimum requirements.

Several foreign oil companies are prospecting for oil in the Albertine Graben (Western Uganda near Lake Albert) and the upcoming bidding round has attracted more international oil companies (IOCs). “We appeal to Ugandans to join us in demanding that the government better fulfill its constitutional mandate to manage oil on behalf of the citizens by paying due attention to the regulatory framework necessary for good governance,” a joint statement issued by the organisations last Friday read in part.

The CSOs include UK based Global Witness, Afiego, Transparency International, Water Governance Institute, and Global Rights Alert.

They also want government to make public the model Production Sharing Agreements (PSAs) with the IOCs, and to publish the set of regulations for the competitive bidding process as well as the selection criteria.

The Petroleum Directorate recently published a list of 16 IOCs shortlisted for the next stage of bidding. At the end of the process, government will issue the ‘request for proposal for the modal production sharing agreement’ documents to the qualified firms to bid for the oil blocks of interest.
This follows the companies’ acquisition of seismic and geological data of these blocks.

The six oil blocks up for grabs include Ngassa in Hoima district, Taitai and Karuka in Buliisa District, Ngaji (in Rukungiri and Kanungu districts, Mvule (344 Km2) in Moyo and Yumbe districts together with Turaco and Kanywantaba in Ntoroko District.

The government recently constituted the petroleum authority in accordance with the Petroleum (Exploration, Development and Development) Act, 2013, to regulate petroleum activities.
The Authority is also expected to reserve, estimate and measure the produced oil and gas in the country.

musisif@ug.nationmedia.com

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