Hon. Ministers and Ministers of State from Republic of Uganda; Hon. Gabriel Mbega Obiang Lima, Minister of Mines, Industry and Energy, Equatorial Guinea together with your delegation; Members of Parliament of Uganda; Captains of public and private sector institutions all the distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
I am pleased to be here today to officiate the 3rd Uganda International Oil and Gas Summit. First, I thank the Minister Hon. Irene Muloni and the organizers for inviting me to share this important platform on oil and gas.
Gatherings of this kind are among many ways of promoting the country’s potential and showcasing investment opportunities not only in the oil and gas sector but also other sectors. The theme of the summit “The Role of Uganda’s Oil and Gas Sector in Achieving NDP-II” is in line with the strategic guidelines and directive in place that are geared towards the attainment of middle-income status by 2020.
The oil and gas sector has a great potential of contributing to economic growth and poverty alleviation efforts through mineral exports, use of oil and gas for local consumption, generation of electricity and employment creation. Exploitation of oil and gas will provide vital resources needed to fund the backlog of infrastructure investments such as roads, railways, electricity, electronic communication, irrigation systems, water works, health units, schools and colleges, etc.
The oil and gas sub-sector has grown significantly since the first discovery in 2006. We are confident that with this level of growth and good governance in place, the country shall attain sustainable development in the foreseeable future as the sub-sector progresses into development and later production. While our real and durable wealth are the 1.2 billion people of Africa, careful exploitation and utilization of our natural resources is an important synergy for our economies and infrastructure development.
The Government of Uganda is committed to develop the oil and gas industry in partnership with all stakeholders in an efficient and effective manner to the benefit of all Ugandans, the region and also create value for our investors. Therefore, we need to form genuine partnerships with international oil companies based on principles of transparency and mutual trust. Benefits accruing out of the oil and gas activities like revenues, jobs and services must be shared equitably.
The oil and gas sub-sector cannot operate in isolation and therefore, the development of other enabling infrastructure is crucial for attracting more investment in this sector.
Under the East African Community framework and the Northern corridor infrastructure project (NCIP), we initiated a number of hard and soft infrastructure projects to facilitate economic activities in the region.
The Uganda’s 6.5 billion barrels of oil that has been confirmed in the 40% of the potential area will be both refined in the country in order to produce petrol, diesel, aviation fuel and other petro-chemical products such as plastics. The associated gas when produced in good quantities will be used to produce some electricity and maybe, get some nitrogen to add to the phosphates and potassium to produce the NPK composite fertilizers to support our agriculture.
In addition to the refining of petroleum inside Uganda, we are also going to export crude (unprocessed) through the pipeline that will be constructed from Western Uganda to Tanga in Tanzania. I once again, salute the government of Tanzania for doing everything within its power so as to make this pipeline competitive in terms of cost. The Tanzanian government gave many concessions in order to have a reasonable tariff fee of US$12.2 per barrel, hence enabling the pipeline to remain profitable in the current price of oil in the world of about US$50 per barrel notwithstanding.
Leadership is also mindful of the important need for environmental protection. Environmental impacts of the oil and gas industry are well known to all of us. Therefore, all stakeholders and companies operating in our region will be required to balance between profit motives and the need for environments conservation or protection.
I am also pleased to note that the issues of local content and management of oil and gas revenue will be discussed in this summit. These are pertinent issues that need to continually remain in focus. Participation of the local communities where exploration, development and production efforts are taking place cannot be overemphasized. This does not only enhance the acceptability of the projects to communities but also contributes to social economic development through creation of local businesses and requisite skills for supporting the sector.
It also created a robust national participation in a sector that has for many years been dominated by large international players, a situation that needs to change in order to enhance sustainability of the industry. Prudent management of oil and gas revenues is critical if the resources found in Uganda are to be translated into better living standards for our citizens.
As I conclude, let me assure you of the government’s commitment towards oil and gas exploration, development, production and value addition efforts.