Oil & gas: ‘Uganda cannot afford to make mistakes’


As Uganda moves ever closer to the magic year of oil production — 2021, Dozith Abeinomugisha, the director for exploration at the Petroleum Authority of Uganda, has warned that the country cannot afford to make mistakes because of the limited nature of the resource.

“We do not have the reserves that many countries have. We do not have the reserves that Nigeria and Angola have. What Nigeria produces in one day, maybe we shall produce in twenty days or a month,” he said.

“We are at the level of probably of Gabon or Equatorial Guinea of 200,000 barrels a day.”

‘We need to get it right’

He was speaking at a dialogue on transparency and accountability in Uganda’s oil and gas sector organized by Friedrich-Ebert Stiftung (FES) and the Parliamentary Forum on Oil and Gas (PFOG) on Thursday.

He said it is prudent for Uganda to manage her reserves well.

“If we do not manage these reserves well, we shall not get a second chance. Nigeria made mistakes in the past, and is correcting those mistakes now, for us, we do not have that luxury. We need to get it right because we do not have those huge reserves.”

Uganda’s oil reserves are estimated to be at around 6.5 billion barrels, with only about 1.6 billion of that oil recoverable.

At peak production, the country is expected to produce 230,000 barrels a day.

Nigeria’s oil reserves, on the other hand, stand at 25 billion barrels, according to the country’s National Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPIMS).

Although Uganda discovered oil in commercial quantities in 2006, production is yet to start, with government opting to first develop the legal framework of the country.

Then there have been issues with transparency in the sector, which have increased calls for government to sign up to the Extractives Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), a global standard that promotes transparency in the oil and gas industry.