NEW BOARD AT PETROLEUM AUTHORITY AS UGANDA GEARS UP FOR OIL PRODUCTION

A new Board of Directors has been inaugurated at the Petroleum Authority of Uganda (PAU) by the  Minister of Energy and Mineral Development Dr. Kitutu Kimono Mary Goretti. The board which was appointed by President Yoweri Museveni and approved by parliament is chaired by Dr. Jane N. Mulemwa and will served for the next four years.

Other members on the board include , Ms. Doreen Kabasindi Wandera and Mr. Kiryowa Kiwanuka a seasoned lawyer in town . Others are ,Mr. Bernard Ongodia, who is the Principal of the Uganda Petroleum Institute Kigumba (UPIK), Dr. Kevin Aanyu, a lecturer in the department of Geology and Petroleum studies at Makerere University, Dr. Noble Ephraim Banadda a Chemical Engineer, and Ms. Lynda Biribonwa an Environment, Health, Safety and Quality Management professional.

New board tasked to ensure good governance and accountability

While addressing the board at the ministry head office in Kampala, Dr. Kitutu Kimono underscored the importance of good governance , transparency and accountability in the nascent oil and gas sector .

 “You are coming on board at a critical time when the Ministry and the Authority are steering the Upstream and Midstream sector towards Final Investment Decision (FID).

“It is also critical for the Authority to look beyond FID and adequately prepare for how the sector will operate post this milestone. You are therefore encouraged to ensure the right systems, processes and people are in place to steer the petroleum subsector forward,” the Minister stated . Last month, France’s Petroleum giant Total acquired Tullow’s entire interests in a major deal that could kick-start  Uganda’s oil dream journey in the lake  Albert multi-million project which had stalled for years.

 Total announced that it had bought Tullow’s entire interests in Uganda Lake Albert Development project including the East African Crude Oil Pipeline. Total will pay Tullow an estimated  USD 5,775M with an initial payment of USD 500M at closing and USD 75M when the partners take the Final Investment Decision (FID) to launch the project which is dear to Yoweri  Museveni  Uganda’s longest-serving president.

Permanent Secretary Kasande says the law requirements were followed

The Permanent Secretary at the  Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, mr. Robert Kasande noted that new Board meets the legal requirements since it is composed of respected professionals in the fields of  Petroleum Geosciences or Engineering, Health, Safety and Environment matters, Law, Business Administration or Management, Finance or Economics, Chemical and process or Refinery Engineering.

Dr. Jane Mulemwa ,thanked  the president for allowing members on the old board to be kept on the new board for institutional memory and continuity .“The composition of the new Board clearly shows that the president followed our recommendation and consequently we have three old members Mr. Kiryowa Kiwanuka, Ms. Doreen Kabasindi and myself being reappointed alongside four (4)new members,” the Board chair said.

“As a new Board, we  shall work with integrity and  sustain the achievements of the pioneer Board, steer the Authority through this COVID-19 Pandemic, ensure that Ugandans have optimal participation and ensure that the petroleum resources contribute to eradication of poverty and create everlasting value to society.”

Uganda’s oil production has previously be bogged down by disputes over the tax revenues accruing to the Uganda government leading to legal battles in the High Courts of Uganda and the United Kingdom. Industry experts say that Uganda is likely to get far much less revenue in taxes on the current deal and the plummeting oil prices due to the Covid-19 pandemic cannot help matters either.

Oil prices have gone negative

For the first time ever, the price of U.S. crude oil has gone negative as the coronavirus pandemic obliterates demand for energy. On Monday, traders and producers paid as much as $40 for the privilege of parting with a barrel of oil.

Plummeting prices have set off a mad dash to store oil, as producers hope to weather the storm and sell their supply after the pandemic. But storage space is finite and growing ever more expensive as buyers disappear from energy markets.

MOSES SSERWANGA

Writer is a media and communications consultant And Advocate of the High Court of Uganda

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