President Yoweri Museveni has said that he is not worried by the country's delay to start oil production. "Since we discovered oil in Uganda, there has been a lot of debate. I am not worried about the delay," Museveni said.
Uganda discovered commercially viable oil in the Albertine Graben 15 years ago, but the country is yet to start oil production. Government has been sifting oil production targets from 2012 early production scheme, 2016, 2018, 2010 and now 2023.
Speaking at the 6th Oil and Gas Convention on Tuesday September 28, Museveni defended the delay, "There have been concerns about the delay of the oil and gas sector but... there is no short cut for sustainable development of a resource meant to create lasting value for Ugandans." The annual oil and gas convention, is a brainchild of Uganda Chamber of Mines and Petroleum (UCMP).
He said the delay has enabled the country to train more Ugandans, enact enabling laws and setup relevant institutions. Indeed, Uganda enacted the Petroleum (Exploration, Production and Development Act, 2013, the Petroleum (Refining, Conversion, Transmission and Midstream Storage Act, 2013, and the Public Finance Management Act, 2015 among others and their attendant regulations.
The country has also established the Petroleum Authority of Uganda (PAU) - the regulator and incorporated the Uganda National Oil Company Limited to take care of government's commercial interests in the sector.
Museveni said some of the infrastructure needed for first oil have also been put in place.
"We can confidently say that we are ready for the commercialization of Ugandan oil. The projects are technically mature since infrastructure and investment required for the development have been agreed and the necessary frame work and processes to ensure environmental and social co-existence are being put in place" he said.
He expressed his government's commitment to deliver first oil and ensure that petroleum resources sufficiently utilized. "I know there are some countries in Africa which discovered the oil later than us but quickly went into production, but for us, we preferred to go slow and understand the industry," he said.
Museveni explained that Uganda is not only committed to delivering her first oil but also committed to ensuring that Ugandans benefit from these resources, with effective management of the processes. He noted that has agreed with his Tanzanian counterpart, John Pombe Magufuli to expedite the East African Crude Oil Pipeline Project EACOP.
"H.E President Magufuli and I, agreed to expedite all negotiations and conclude all pending commercial frameworks and agreements to pave way for the development of the East African Crude Oil Pipeline project," Museveni said.
However, International Oil Companies (IOCs) have recently been concerned by the delays. Speaking at the same conference, Pierre Jessua, General Manager Total E&P Uganda didn't respond to Museveni on the delay but rather noted that there is a lot to be done before the country embark on oil production. "There is still allot of work to be done but I don't see any reason why it can't be done" Pierre said.