The Minister of Energy and Mineral Development, Dr Mary Gorret Kitutu inaugurated a new board of directors of the Petroleum Authority of Uganda (PAU). Four of the seven-member board that was inaugurated on Friday May 15, 2020, are new members.
Dr Jane N. Mulemwa, was retained as the Chairperson of the seven-member board. Other board members who were retained are; Doreen Kabasindi Wandera and city lawyer Kiryowa Kiwanuka. The new members of the board are; Bernard Ongodia, Dr. Kevin Aanyu, Dr. Noble Ephraim Banadda and Ms. Lynda Biribonwa.
This is the second board for the Petroleum Authority. The Inaugural board took office on October 4, 2015 and their tenure expired on October 4, 2019. According to the Petroleum (Exploration, Development and Production) Act, 2013, members of the board of directors of Petroleum Authority of Uganda (PAU) are appointed by the President with approval of parliament and at least 3 must be women. They should include qualified persons in areas of petroleum geosciences or engineering; health, safety and environment matters, law, finance and economics, business administration or management and chemical processes or refinery engineering.
Under the Petroleum Act, the board holds office for only four years and can only be reappointed for one more term.
Who are the new members?
Ongodia is the current principal of the Uganda Petroleum Institute, Kigumba (UPIK). Before joining UPIK, Ongodia worked with the Directorate of Petroleum in the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development as a principal geophysicist. He holds a Master of Science in Petroleum Geophysics from the University of Leeds (UK) and Master of Business Administration in Oil and Gas Management from Robert Gordon University UK) and Bachelor of Science in Geophysics from Makerere University.
Dr Kevin Aanyu holds a PhD in Geosciences from Gutenberg University in Germany, a Master of Science in Structural Geology from Makerere University as well as a bachelor of science degree from the same university. Dr. Aanyu currently is a lecturer in the department of Geology and Petroleum Studies at Makerere University
Ms Lynda Biribonwa is an Environmental, Health, Safety and Quality Management professional with over 22 years of experience. She previously worked with Tullow Oil Uganda and the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) among others.
Dr Noble Ephraim Banadda holds a PhD in Chemical Engineering from the Catholic University of Leuven (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven), in Belgium. Prof Banadda is also a lecturer in the department of Geology and Petroleum Studies at Makerere University.
The new board, according to Minister Kitutu, has been tasked with fast tracking Uganda's next phase of development and production. It comes at a time when oil companies are yet to make a Final Investment Decision (FID) that will trigger the much-awaited field developments and commercial production of oil and unlock opportunities in the sector.
Uganda's oil and gas sub-sector has been seriously impacted by the global economic slow-down that has caused limited investment in the oil and gas projects (just like any other developments in different sectors) for the las three or so years. This situation was complicated by the oil price spat between the OPEC+ grouping (led by Saudi Arabia and Russia) on one hand, and the American shale producers on the other.
The Covid 19 pandemic found a bad situation already being faced by the oil and gas sub-sector world over and made it worse with registration of price drops to below zero at one point in April 2020. Therefore, the new board of directors for the PAU comes on board at a time when there is great need for perseverance and resilience. The tumultuous moments shall come to pass (with time) but the expectations and hopes of the population remain high thus requiring strategic management of the same as the sub-sector weathers through one of the most complicated down-turns it has ever faced in memory.