Ernest Rubondo, the Commissioner Petroleum Exploration and Production Department in the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development was speaking at PetroAfricanus cocktail last week.
“It’s not true that Uganda is slow in processing oil production. The circumstance under which we discovered our oil and gas are different if you compare to other countries like Ghana, Norway or Mexico,” Rubundo said.
He launched a book authored by Duncan Clarke and Babette van Gessel called ‘Three Decades in the Long Grass: The Story of Global Pacific and Partners’.
The event was organised by Uganda Chamber of Mines and Petroleum and Global Pacific Partners, a leading advisory and research firm boosting of over three decades of experience in the upstream oil and gas industry.
“In Uganda, oil was discovered in the middle of the continent not in ocean like other countries producing oil and gas. This means Uganda needs to put the right infrastructures in place. When this is put in place the time will be shorter,” he said.
At the moment Uganda is working out plans to construct a refinery with an initial output capacity of 30,000 barrels per day before upgrading it to full capacity of 60,000 barrels per day.
The commissioner explained that government believes that it must understand the industry before it starts any business.
Rubundo further said the delay has been largely due to differences in commercialization interests between government and industry players.
But the commissioner revealed that has been sorted out following the signing of various agreements.
Speaking at the same function, Clarke, a renowned oil and gas expert said oil and gas is a long term venture full of difficulties.
He said Africa’s growth in the last 20 years has been phenomenon, but is being threatened by wars in oil producing countries like South Sudan and Nigeria.
Commenting on the delayed production of oil and gas in Uganda, Clarke said the country could have been quicker considering that its citizens need the money from the resources.
“They (government) could have been quicker, they have their interest, but it will happen in due course. They must do what they must do to maximize benefits from the industry. An early production would be good for the country,” Clarke said.
– East African Business Week