Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The National Planning Authority (NPA) is positive that the delay in Uganda’s oil production is a blessing in disguise. The authority says that the delay will give the country time to prepare and organize its industry.
National Planning Authority Executive Director Dr Joseph Muvawala says as it stands now, Ugandans do not have the capacity to work in the oil sector and harness the opportunities that come with the production of oil.
Muvawala made the statements during a meeting between the NPA board and the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga in her office in Parliament on Monday.
The government late last year revised the amount of crude oil so far discovered to six billion barrels, down from 6.5 billion barrels. The amount recoverable has also been put at 1.4 billion barrels, down from the initial range of between 1.7 and 1.9 billion barrels.
But over the years, the date for Uganda’s first oil production has been shifting. From 2013 to 2015/16 after which it was pushed to 2018. By the end of 2018, the government had announced three different dates upon which Ugandans will be able to see that very first barrel of crude oil that signals the start of oil production. The tentative date is now 2022.
The delay was mainly because the joint venture partners Total, China National Offshore Oil Company (CNOOC) and Tullow needed to make the Final Investment Decision to develop the oil fields in Tilenga and Kingfisher blocks.
But Muvawala says that all the delays are giving Uganda more time to work on its strategy on the oil period, and put in place all the required facilities. He advises that the country should take advantage of the delay to bring in more experts and train its workforce.
According to Muvawala, unless Uganda prepares itself to provide local content to the oil and gas sector and ensures that all products meet international standards, it is bound to lose in the oil deal.
The Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga said that for a long time, there has been a call to change the course to focus on harnessing opportunities in the oil sector, which, however, remains unattended to.