The current oil slump is an opportunity for Uganda to develope the national expertise needed to harness opportunities which the sector presents, a Norwegian official has advised.
The statement formed basis of a presentation by Norwegian Embassy in Uganda’s Counselor of Trade and Energy Peter Christophersen, during Youth Employment Forum at Makerere University.
“Oil and gas is a global industry, it means you have to hire experts from outside…But you (Uganda) have started very well. The challenge now is that during this period, there are not many jobs you have to adapt and try to prepare and find solutions,” Christophersen seen said.
He said Norway has sent experts to the Uganda government especially the Directorate of Petroleum to share policies of success as a way of helping the nation maneuver through the Upstream, Midstream and downstream stages of the sector.
“You can never duplicate what is done in one country into another but we have Teams that have worked for many years. Experts from Norway have been discussing with Uganda Petroleum Directorate, Ministry and other institutions to try and guide on the best ways to develop,” he said
The Youth Employment Forum brought together students from various Ugandan universities and institutions pursuing petroleum studies and other related art and science courses, oil and gas experts, government officials, civil society, and the private sector.
The event was a brain child of European Association of Geoscientists and Engineers (EAGE) and The African Institute for Energy and Governance (AFIEGO).
EAGE Makerere University Chapter President Musasizi Josephat said that as government prepares to go to production, attention must be given to the realities that are happening to the sector especially in terms of developing the national expertise.
“The challenge is that Major Oil Companies are downsizing the staff, but Universities keep sending graduates to the industry. Where are these Graduates going to work?. These are the challenges that must be addressed,” Musasizi said.
He says it is wrong for state to portray the situation that it is only upon the commencement of oil production that Ugandans will be included in the expert teams of major oil companies which date still hangs in uncertainty.
“This is a question which requires serious attention, For instance, you graduate in 2012 you sit and wait for production to happen eight or more years later. Yet most IOCs will employ people on the basis of their experience in the sector,” he opined.
Musasizi said it was only through dialogues of the kind that issues which relate to developing national capacity in the sector must raised for adoption by policy makers in order to come up with solutions.