Government of Uganda signed a Production Sharing Agreement (PSA), and issued a License for Petroleum Exploration, Development and Production over the Kanywataba Contract Area with Armour Energy Limited (AEL) from Australia. The exploration license was signed on Thursday, September 14 at Amber House in Kampala. Energy Minister, Irene Muloni signed on behalf of government, while Armour Energy Limited was represented by its Chief Executive Officer. The Kanywataba Contract Area is located in Ntoroko district.
Eng. Irene Muloni, Minister of Energy and Mineral Development said, "This is the first Production Sharing Agreement to be signed in line with Section 58 of the Petroleum Exploration, Development and Production Act 2013, the Legal regime under which I announced the First Competitive Licensing Round during February 2015" Muloni said.
She added, "A signature bonus together with research and training fees, and annual acreage rental fees for the first exploration period amounting to US$ 316,000 have been paid to the Uganda Petroleum Fund".
The Kanywataba exploration license has an acreage of 344 square kilometers for four years split into two periods of two years each. Muloni said, a minimum work program which includes acquisition of seismic data and drilling of at least one well.
Muloni said, the PSA provides for a requirement to train and employ suitably qualified Ugandan citizens has been provided for in addition to payment of annual training fees to government.
"The award was cleared by Cabinet and the Ministries of Finance, Planning and Economic Development together with that of Justice and Constitutional Affairs. The Minister also said that on Friday 8th September 2017, Cabinet approved the award of two licenses in the Ngassa block and that the agreements would also be signed in a few weeks' time," Muloni said.
Weighing in on the exploration license, Robert Kasande, the acting Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, added that one of the major achievements from this licensing round was the development of a state of the art data room which remains open to the industry to view and purchase data, and will also be used for future licensing rounds.
"The Ministry was able to generate $ 2.4 million United States dollars (Approximately Shs 8 billion) from the sale of data to bidders which was paid to the Uganda Petroleum Fund", he said.
Uganda's first licensing round covered six blocks with a total acreage of 2,674 Km2 in the Albertine Graben, Uganda's most prospective sedimentary basin. Out of the nineteen (19) applicants at the Request for Qualification Stage, sixteen proceeded to the Request for Proposal stage and four emerged successful and proceeded to the negotiations stage. This first licensing round was undertaken in line with the National Oil and Gas Policy for Uganda (2008) and in accordance with the Petroleum (Exploration, Development and Production) Act 2013.
The signing of a Production Sharing Agreement and an award of exploration license bring the number of companies in Uganda's petroleum industry to four - Total, Tullow, Cnooc and now Armour Energy Limited.
PSA tabled before Parliament
Later, in a move to enhance transparency in the oil and gas sector, the minister tabled before Parliament Production Sharing Agreement (PSA) signed between the government of Uganda and Armour Energy Limited - Australian oil company, over Kanywataba oil block in Ntoroko district.
The oil sector unfortunately remains shrouded in secrecy. The previous Production Sharing Agreements between government and oil companies have been under key and lock and neither accessible to Parliament not the public. A court case filed by two journalists Charles Mwanguhya Mpagi and Angelo Izama to have the oil agreements made public didn't yield any results.
The Minister also tabled before parliament the Intergovernmental Agreement between the government of Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania on the crude oil pipeline outlining the contents of the agreement.
Under the Petroleum Act, 2012, the Minister of Energy and Mineral Development is mandated to furnish parliament with periodic reports about the oil and gas sector.
After tabling the report, the opposition Chief Whip Ibrahim Semujju Nganda moved a motion that the report be differed for further consideration. "We shouldn't rush through a report of this significance to the country. It is important that Members of Parliament discuss the report, when the atmosphere is peaceful and conducive for discussion not that of intimidation," Semujju who is also the Kira Municipality MP said.
On his part, Stephen Birahwa Mukitale (MP Bulisa), dismissed Muloni's report as lacking. "The report is devoid of figures, it is devoid of the budget, deadlines, how can we talk of oil and even have first oil by 2020 without a budget and deadlines," he wondered.
He added, "We need a matrix spelling out the role, budget and responsibility of each and every ministry and department in the oil sector, because this is a multi-sectoral sector, if we are to have first oil by 2020," Mukitale proposed. Kadaga asked the minister to avail the matrix to the committee.
He said it is wrong for the Minister of Energy and Mineral Development to purport to speak for the Ministries of Water and Environment, Works and Transport and Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) and accused the minister of lack of coordination. "There is no road contractor in Bulisa, don't take us for granted. Other ministries don't have a budget for oil and gas activities. The president talked about a budget cut of 10 percent from every ministry to finance oil and gas activities, where is that money," he wondered.
Prof Morris Ogenga Latigo (MP Agago North) wants the previous oil agreement to also be tabled before parliament and MPs allowed access. "I wish the minister could table Production Sharing Agreement for oil blocks where we have already discovered oil," Ogenga wondered.
Ogenga who is also the chairperson of Acholi Technical Working Group on oil and gas implored fellow lawmakers to read and scrutinize the Kanywataba Production Sharing Agreement warning them that if parliament doesn't provide oversight for the sector, then the country would be in trouble.
Speaker, Rebecca Kadaga, referred the Minister's report and the Kanywataba oil agreement to the Committee on Natural Resources to scrutinize the report and report back to parliament. However, no time line was given on when the committee is supposed to report.
About Armour Energy
Armour Energy Limited focuses on the discovery and development of natural gas and associated liquid resources in Australia. Armour Energy Limited was founded in 2009 and is based in Brisbane, Australia. It has 100% interests in the McArthur, South Nicholson, and Georgina Basins covering an area of 33 million acres in the Northern Territory and Queensland; and interests in the onshore Gippsland Basin, Victoria in joint venture with Lakes Oil NL. The company, through its subsidiaries, also holds interests in 7 exploration permits for minerals in Queensland among other oil and gas exploration works.