By Patrick Kagenda
The along awaited oil pipeline could be complete by the end of the year if everything goes according to plan. The Independents Patrick Kagenda talked to the State minister for Energy, Simon D`ujanga on the progress made.
There are many types of Tamoil i.e. Tamoil Libya, Tamoil Oil, Tamoil E.A. Limited. Which Tamoil is building the pipeline and the reserves and are all these companies the same?
All the Tamoil’s you are asking about are subsidiaries of the Libyan Tamoil group. So the Eldoret to Kampala oil pipeline is being done by Tamoil East Africa. The project should begin very soon because compensation and acquisition is on going.
Some of the land like where the oil valves or taps will be located will be acquired for good while where the pipes are passing will be a wayleaves. However where ever the pipeline may pass, let the people own it. It is their property and they should guard it jealously.The actual construction of the pipeline should start this June. I am glad to say that last week Tamoil started rehabilitation of the Jinja storage tanks. On the construction of the fuel reserve tanks, we have handed over the site of the Kampala Oil Depot, so generally the project is on course.
Currently the oil reserves at Jinja are operated by the private Oil companies namely Shell, Total and Others. When Tamoil takes over, whose oil will it be keeping?
I want you to get this very clearly. Shell, Total and the other Oil companies were allowed to put their fuel there but those tanks are a property of the government of Uganda. Oil companies were only allowed to keep their products there. Now with this new oil pipeline, the reserves will become part of the pipeline and the oil companies that have been using them will have to use their individual reserve tanks. Besides, the Oil companies are supposed to have oil reserves for at least ten days. Tamoil will be storing the pipe line oil for onward transit until it reaches Kigali as it is planned and further on.
Won’t this result into Tamoil trading locally in petroleum products and thus creating a monopoly?
Tamoil is only for the oil pipeline and the smooth transportation of the oil from Eldoret to Kampala and later to Kigali. It has nothing to do with retail trading in oil. What will happen is that oil will be delivered by pipeline up to Kampala and then picked by trucks for onward delivery to the various destinations.
Now that you have handed over the Jinja oil reserve tanks to Tamoil where is government going to keep its oil reserves?
The Jinja reserves were for only 3 Million litres of oil. The New reserves we are building in Kampala will have a capacity of 15 million litres which is five times the Jinja reserves. Besides work is soon beginning on the Nakasongola reserves which had been worked on but stalled.We are also going to work on the Gulu and Kasese reserves.
Sometime back government had a plan of introducing an Oil regulatory authority, what happened and is it a good idea?
If you look at our oil and gas policy all that is contained. However right nowtwo bills are before parliament and once they are passed into law the oil regulatory authority will be put in place. We can’t introduce or talk about an oil regulatory authority without law to guide it.