Uganda: Will Uganda's Oil Be a Blessing or a Curse?


Oil was discovered in Uganda in 2006, but the government said it wanted a refinery to be built before production began. Now the timeline is being driven by a pipeline that will snake across Tanzania. Uganda now expects to produce its first barrel of oil in 2023 -- but this goalpost has been moving for years.

Almost exactly a year ago, Uganda's affable Oil Minister Irene Muloni told the Africa Oil Week conference in Cape Town that the east African country expected to join the ranks of African oil producers in 2021, replacing a previous target of 2020. On Wednesday 6 November 2019 she told the conference that 2023 was now the target.

The contrast with other new oil provinces is striking. Take Ghana for instance. Its massive Jubilee oilfield was discovered in 2007, a year after the Ugandan find. Yet Ghana has been an oil producer for almost a decade now.

There are important differences of course. Ghana lies in West Africa, a long-established oil-producing region, and offshore production effectively requires a rig and away you go. Landlocked Uganda has long made the case that it needs a delivery mechanism to get its oil to market and a 1,400km...

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