In a bid to fast track the commercialization of oil and gas, Uganda has widened its infrastructure scope to include a speedy construction process of an air field in the Albertine graben in the new financial year 2015/2016.
The revelations were made by Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic development Hon Matia Kasaija during the presentation of the National Budget for the financial year 2015/16 to the 5th session of 9th Parliament of Uganda in Kampala.
The minister said the government of Uganda will capitalize on the private sector through Public Private partnerships (PPA) to expedite the infrastructure projects needed to boost the commercialization of Oil in the country.
“Government shall also fast track infrastructure development for the commercialization of oil, including the development of an airport, as already alluded to earlier, near the Oil Refinery project site at Hoima,”
Kasaija said the major priority next financial year will be the commencement of detailed engineering studies for the Oil Refinery, following the selection of a Lead Investor in February. He added that the government was at the final stage of completion of the compensation exercise of Project Affected Persons (PAPs).
The Environmental baseline study for the Oil Refinery project according to Kasaija is also at conclusion stage.
In May 2015, a Uganda Parliamentary committee on natural resources recommended to government that the compensation and resettlement of Project Affected persons in the oil Refinery construction Project must be prioritized before the commencement in order to insulate the sector from the havoc the anomalies may carry .
The committee in its findings further noted that there was laxity in the implementation and formulation of regulations required to operationalize the petroleum laws notably the Petroleum Exploration, Production and Development (PEPD) act 2013 and Petroleum Refining, Conversion Transmission and Midstream Storage act.
The Petroleum Authority, National Oil Company, and the Directorate of Petroleum as provided for in PEPD act 2013 the committee said not been implemented yet. MPs said there were only 5 members on the Petroleum Authority with two vacant positions and no credible measures have been taken to incorporate the National Oil Company.
However, in his presentation, the minister on the above issues said all the much needed financial and human capital injections are at final stage.
“The relevant institutions, including the establishment of the National Oil Company and the Petroleum Authority of Uganda, are also being finalized to ensure prudent management of the Oil and Gas resources”, the minister said.
Uganda will continue with the more exploration activities alongside the development of the Crude Oil Pipeline to the Indian Ocean. he concluded