Partners from the East Africa converged in Uganda for the 10th East African Petroleum Conference and Exhibition 2023.
The 2023 edition of the conference, is running under the theme: “East Africa as a hub for Investment in Exploration and Exploitation of Petroleum Resources for Sustainable Energy and Socioeconomic Development.
The East African Petroleum Conference has over the years, provided awareness of the industry’s potential for the production of petroleum in the region, including technological advancements in exploration, development and production.
President Museveni was represented at the high level meet, by Vice President Jessica Alupo.
In his remarks, the President noted the critical importance of
Energy for the development and growth of any economy and commended the East African Community for the in exploration and development of energy resources available in the Region. “Without energy, EAC cannot achieve the intended goals of integration with the aim of achieving economic, social and political integration so as to create wealth in the region and enhance competitiveness through increased production, trade and investment in the oil and gas sector”.
The President who pushed for oil exploration as a lone walker years ago, highlighted the region’s global push for energy transition, emphasized that while the region recognizes that the threats posed by climate change are real, they support measures aimed at protecting the environment. “But such measures must conform with the “principle of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, in the light of different national circumstances as enshrined in the Paris Climate Agreement as this principle was key in assuaging the fears of developing countries, especially oil and gas producing countries, in the early years of the climate negotiation process”, the President said.
He noted that push for energy transition comes at a time when the East African Region has established significant petroleum that can greatly contribute to the economies of the region whose utilisation saw need for a strategy on regional refineries development in 2008.
The said strategy “identified the need for a refinery in Uganda upon confirmation of the commercial reserves of the oil discoveries. The Government of Uganda is now progressing the development of the refinery”, the President said, drawing applause from the audience.
Museveni affirmed the region’s readiness to show its potential and investment priorities to the world, through “sharing information on the status of the sector in each partner state including the policy, legal and regulatory framework, and the overall business environment prevailing in the region”.
The President also informed the audience of development of a regional power master plan that will identify generation and transmission needs to satisfy our electricity demand for the next twenty-five (25) years.
“The EAC partner states are making major investments in the power sector and creating robust institutional arrangements to avoid the mistakes of the past when we suffered serious power shortfalls.
In Uganda, we are pursuing an aggressive programme to develop nearly 52,000 megawatts of hydro power by 2040. I am aware that Kenya is pursuing an equally aggressive programme for the development of geothermal resource of power generation while Tanzania is increasing its power generation from natural gas. Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan equally have plans to continue generation power from a diverse energy mix.
Major electricity projects to interconnect all the east African countries are going on and we expect to have a fully interconnected East African power network” Museveni said.
Alongside oil and gas, the President mentioned various plans to develop energy from wind, solar and sustainable biomass for grid and off grid systems which are small scale for isolated off grid communities.
He urged people to take up more opportunities for investment in the oil and gas sector in East Africa still exist especially that, currently, there are only thirty-seven (37) international oil and gas companies licensed to carry out petroleum prospecting in the region.
The President who, over the years has championed the EAC integration process, highlighted the four key milestones of the EAC integration; Customs union, Common market, Monetary union and Political federations, saying these four (4) pillars of integration “are the pivot around which integration in all sectors within East Africa is taking place”. He reassured the audience of the region’s political leaders” commiment to the full East African Intergration process. “The central banks and institutions responsible for macro-economic affairs in East Africa are working together to achieve macro-economic convergence with in the region as part of the efforts towards the East African Monetary Union,” Museveni said.
The President revealed plans to build an extensive road network under the East African transport strategy and road sector development program, and the implementation of the East African Railways master plan that will see the introduction of a standard gauge rail network in the region.
Vice President Jessica Alupo-who started the Petroleum Institute in Kigumba when she served as Education Minister hailed the strong interleakages of the people who she said, are one, the same and are similar, with common desires to develop. She hailed the commitment of President Museveni in making sure oil exploration goes on as planned.
Ruth Nankabirwa, the Ugandan Energy Minister said the Final Investment Decision on oil refinery was due in June 2023.
She thanked different partners like the International oil marketing companies, Total Energies and the Chinese National Oil Company (CNOOCUgandaLtd) and other development partners who have continued to walk with Uganda “amidst the energy transitions debate and shrinking sources for financing oil and gas”.
She said Uganda was ready to proceed inspite of previous funders withdrawing their support. “No turning back,” she stated.
Elly Karuhanga from the Private Sector gave a key note address and urged Government to “let the Private sector do its work without interference.” He urged Government to eliminate setbacks that slow down exploration activities. “Help us to achieve the 2025 goal, when oil comes out of Tanga”, Karuhanga said.
Irene Batebe, the Permanent Secretary Ministry of energy said this conference aimed at showcasing the EAC as a destination of choice for oil and gas investment opportunities to enhance socioeconomic transformation.
The conference coincides with the journey to implement the EAC Vision 2050 which seeks to ensure a sustainable, adequate, affordable, competitive, secure and reliable supply of energy to meet regional needs at the least cost.
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