The New Times (Kigali)

11 April 2014

East Africa: Regional Leaders Agree to Set Up Oil Refinery in Uganda

Efforts by Uganda to build an oil refinery in Hoima, western Uganda have been boosted after Kenya and Rwanda agreed to support the venture as a regional project, an official from the Ministry of Infrastructure has revealed.

Last year, Uganda invited the four other East African Community partner states to invest in the project, allocating them a 10 per cent shareholding in the multi-billion dollar refinery that will be developed on a public-private partnership basis. The shareholding is part of 40 per cent public shares in the venture, where the private sector will take the remaining 60 per cent.

This revelation follows a meeting between the Heads of State of Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda on the sidelines of ongoing 1994 Genocide commemoration early this week, where technical experts updated the leaders on the progress of the project, according to Charles Nyirahuku, a local focal point in charge of the oil refinery project. Nyirahuku said six international companies were recently shortlisted to bid for the development of the project.

He said it is from the six that the Uganda government will select the main investor for the refinery.

The project is under the tripartite arrangement which also focuses on other regional projects yet to be implemented in various sectors, including energy, transport and tourism.

The official said the Ministry of Finance was in process of ascertaining the number of shares the country should acquire in the venture.

Uganda plans to develop a refinery with an input capacity of 60,000 barrels per day; starting with a capacity of 30,000 barrels per day by 2018 which will be increased to 60,000 barrels per day before 2020.

Meanwhile, Emmanuel Hategekimana, a senior engineer in charge of water and sanitation who also monitors the regional energy projects at the Ministry of Infrastructure, said technical experts from the three countries were working on other projects in the energy sector as agreed by the Heads of State.

"Technicians are working on the implementation of these projects and the western Uganda oil refinery is one of them," he noted. The other projects are the Mombasa-Kigali oil pipeline. Penspen, a UK-based company dealing in engineering and management services related to oil and gas industry, has already been contracted to do the mapping for the oil pipeline.

The oil pipeline project aims to improve the transportation of petroleum products in the region using a safer mode compared to road transportation.

It is expected that an oil depot would be built in Kigali to facilitate other regional countries like Burundi, the Eastern DR Congo and some parts of Tanzania to import from Kigali instead of travelling to Mombasa or Dar es Salaam.

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