Earth Finds

Earth Finds

Oil Refinery-Affected People Compensation Court Case Continues Tomorrow

Tomorrow on Friday, February 21, 2020, the oil refinery-affected people will appear in court for hearing of their case against the government. The case hearing will take place at the Kampala High Court.

The oil refinery-affected people filed the court case against the government in March 2014 following government failure to pay them prompt, fair and adequate compensation while acquiring their land beginning in 2012 for an oil refinery that will be located in Kabaale, Hoima.

The above failure by the government constituted a violation of Article 26 of the 1995 Uganda Constitution which provides for the prompt payment of fair and adequate compensation before government compulsorily acquires citizens’ private property.

At the case hearing tomorrow, two refinery-affected government will be cross-examined in the morning and afternoon by the government’s lawyer.

“Court heard our prayer and agreed to fast track hearing of the people’s case. This is why the case will be heard both in the morning and in the afternoon. We are happy that the court committed to hear the case at a faster pace. The refinery-affected people filed their case in March 2014 before some of them were compensated by the government. They had hoped that court would expeditiously decide their case to compel the government to pay them adequate compensation before the compensation process was concluded.

However, by 2018 when all the refinery-affected people who are party to the suit had been compensated, court had failed to conclude the people’s case.

This was unfortunate and a miscarriage of justice. We hope that the people will finally get justice when the case is concluded and the judge orders for payment of adequate compensation for them,” Mr. Dickens Kamugisha, the CEO of Africa Institute for Energy Governance (AFIEGO) says.

AFIEGO is supporting the oil refinery-affected people in their case. Since the filing of the case, the refinery-affected people including women have had to travel for as many as over 246km to have their case heard.

“Travelling to Kampala has been especially hard for women. They have to leave their children and homes in the care of others when they come for the case hearings. It is good that the court is trying to end the people’s suffering especially that of women by hearing their case at a faster rate.

We hope that the judge will stick to her commitment and the case will be concluded this year,” Ms. Doreen Namara, AFIEGO’s Legal Assistant, says.

During the last case hearing on September 23, 2019, the presiding judge, Lady Justice Cornelia Sabitti, committed to concluding the refinery-affected people’s case by March 2020.

Mr. Innocent Tumwebaze, the chairperson of the Oil Refinery Residents’ Association (ORRA), notes: “Our case is not only meant for our benefit. It is also for the benefit of other project-affected persons [PAPs]. We want the court to rule on matters that are also important for communities that have been affected by the Tilenga, Kingfisher, East African Crude Oil Pipeline [EACOP] and other oil projects.”

Among others, the refinery-affected people want the court to:

  • Declare that the oil refinery compensation process by government violated Article 26 of the 1995 Uganda Constitution leading to delayed, unfair and inadequate compensation of the oil refinery-affected people.
  • Declare that the use of cut off dates through which PAPs are stopped from using their land for new developments before compensation is unconstitutional.
  • Order government to pay adequate and fair compensation to the oil refinery-affected people.
  • Order government to formulate regulations for the assessment and payment of compensation as is provided for under section 20 of the 1965 Land Acquisition Act to prevent the delayed compensation and under-compensation of PAPs that partly arises due to lack of the aforementioned regulations.

South Sudan Make Case For Oil & Gas Financial Transparency In Latest Report

The seventh Petroleum Report issued by the Ministry of Petroleum, Republic of South Sudan, provides an overview of world oil markets and fundamentals, price forecasts, oilfield reserves, and the ministry's marketing performance.

It forms part of continued efforts by Hon. Eng. Awow Daniel Chuang, the Minister of Petroleum, to promote openness and accountability in this crucial sector.

"We are trying to increase transparency in the country's oil and gas sector, specifically concerning the financial aspects. The Ministry of Petroleum has produced this journal which will provide all the information about our production, sales, and even the environment.

"We include all the opportunities in South Sudan regarding refineries, pipelines and other facilities. All this information is now available, and everyone will have access to it."

The report outlines the ministry's infrastructure plans, including refineries and storage depots and provides insight into how the country has advanced its sales of crude oil on the open market. South Sudan recognizes that the sector needs to continue to develop with buyer and market diversification, and a better understanding of global economics and pricing analysis. The ministry is aiming to establish on-line communications with global oil markets and the main world crude oil pricing center, Platts in London.

The release of the report follows closely the announcement of the country's first environmental audit of all operating oilfields. This will assist in rehabilitation efforts and prevent future problems. The ministry's exploration and production department is at the same time engaged in promoting new blocks ready for international investors looking for lucrative opportunities.

The aim of this one, and future Marketing Reports is to provide comprehensive information which clearly explains the monetization of South Sudan' crude oil. The emphasis is on transparency and full compliance with the country's legislative requirements for information disclosure.

The Petroleum Ministry has also improved its website, which contains detailed information about the current oil-producing blocks, as well as the day to day operation of the department. All the information that investors may need is now available, including all the financial information dating from 2011, the country's independence.

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ICT Project To Aid Women Smallholder Farmers In Uganda, Kenya Launched

Although Uganda and Kenya are members of the East African Community (EAC), many small-scale farmers especially women have for so long not felt the impact of the regional bloc’s integration on their livelihood.

The problem has been blamed on the existing information gap related to agricultural produces market availability and economic opportunities the EAC integration offers to the smallholder farmers in the community.

It's on this background that small-scale farmers from Uganda and Kenya with support from development partners have launched an Integrated Information Communication Technology project. 

The project will help farmers to address the challenge of information flow related to agricultural products and the economic potential of the EAC countries, majorly Uganda and Kenya

The project code-named Kilimo Mart Application, an ICT application, will be developed to aid farmers to share information using Information Communication Technology gadgets such as mobile phones.

Through using the application, farmers will be in a position to access information related to markets for agricultural products.

According to Andrew Adem the program's Manager of the Eastern and Southern Africa Small Scale Farmers' Forum (ESAFF) Uganda, if the application is well embraced by the sector holders, it will open many agro-business opportunities to the small farmers in the region.

“ESAFF Uganda in partnership with Kenya small-scale Farmers’ Forum (KESSFF) and with support from Incubator for Integration and Development in East Africa( IIDEA), GIZ and the EAC will be implementing the project.

“The project will boost trade opportunities for agricultural products and services by promoting small-scale farmers’ access to markets and information in East Africa.

“This will create market opportunities for small-scale farmers and consumers to utilize the current trade prospects and share agricultural information using ICT,” he said in Statement.

He added that this project will play a very vital role in empowering women small -scale farmers hence improving household livelihood.

The Kilimo Mart Application is a 12 months project that will be jointly implemented by ESAFF Uganda and KESSFF with support from Development partners such as the African Union, GIZ IIDEA among other Development partners.

Although the East African Community and Common Market for the Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) has a combined population size of 606 million people, smallholder farmers particularly women feel they have not benefited such economic integrations.

Masudio Margaret, a small-scale farmer from Adjumani district, says the project will provide an opportunity for small-scale farmers who cannot access market most especially after the collapse of cooperatives that used to help them in marketing. She added that the EAC integration should present an opportunity to share market information and cross border trade.

Other farmers from Uganda said that East African members states should ensure that smallholder farmers tap into the opportunities that come alongside with the regional economic integration.

Masudio observed that many smallholder farmers are not aware of the regional integration which keeps them away from tapping on the wider opportunities the integration offers to them as farmers.

“The EAC integration is supposed to offer market opportunities to small scale farmers in the region but in many cases, small-scale farmers don’t feel the impact. For me, I only hear about the EAC market, and I feel that small scale farmers are left out; thus we are not benefiting from the EAC integration as they are not getting market opportunities.” Vicky Lokwiya, a small scale farmer from Gulu district in Northern Uganda, said.

Local Content Policies Set To Shape Energy Investments In Senegal

As Senegal’s first oil and gas projects are under-development and the first production is expected within two years, the African Energy Chamber conducted this week a working visit in Dakar to promote investment into the country and support local content development and capacity building.

Led by Executive Chairman NJ Ayuk, the African Energy Chamber’s delegation advocated for local content as a pillar of the industry’s sustainability efforts and offered all its support to continue pushing and financing Senegal’s initiatives to build capacity and build a new generation of Senegalese oil & gas workers and managers.

“Oil companies have an unmatched ability, and a profound responsibility, to support H.E. Macky Sall’s bold vision in shaping an economy that works for all Senegalese and preserves their freedoms,” said NJ Ayuk.

The team met with H.E. Macky Sall, President of the Republic of Senegal; H.E. Mouhamadou Makhtar Cissé, Minister of Petroleum and Energies, Ousmane Ndiaye, Permanent Secretary of COS-Petrogaz; Aguibou Ba, Director General of the National Institute for Petroleum and Gaz (INPG) and the majority of the oil and gas operators and service companies.   

“Moving closer and closer to becoming a large-scale producer of oil and gas, Senegal’s story is an inspiring one. And, as a hotspot for oil and gas development, it is only fitting that the nation cements market-driven local content frameworks that are rooted in capacity building and are driven by the determination to transform practices in its energy sector,” declaired Nj Ayuk.

“That is why initiatives such as the INPG are important in ensuring that industry revenue benefits the state while also guaranteeing employment for citizens. The INPG is a true social contract bringing the private and public sector together to plan for a prosperous future for Senegal,” he added.

The Chamber’s working visit coincided with that of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, during which state-owned SENELEC and GE signed an agreement for the development of 300MW of gas-to-power capacity, the modernization of Senegal’s power plants and the creation of a maintenance centre in Senegal.

In line with the US’ interests to increase cooperation with Africa, the Chamber reiterated the industry’s call for continued improvements in the ease of doing business and better operating environments for foreign investors.

“President Trump dispatching Secretary of State Pompeo and US companies to Senegal is a brilliant move. US companies understand that investing in Senegal is good business and a sustainable corporate strategy.

President Macky Sall’s government has built on positive trends to maximize foreign investments. This includes a commitment to transparency, improving safety and security, strengthening the macroeconomic environment, investing in quality education and skill development in science, technology and innovation, and avoiding the Dutch disease,” added Ayuk.

Last year, the African Energy Chamber and Centurion Law Group hosted a local content forum in Senegal, calling attention to local content development in the country. The ongoing visit serves as a follow up and a showcase of the Chamber’s continued commitment to the growth and development of African economies through ensuring that Africa’s natural resources benefit Africa’s people first.

“Senegal’s emergence as a key player in the oil and gas industry has been remarkable and, as this growth continues to surge, it is important that local communities have a seat at the table, It is also important that we continue to create an enabling environment investors and the oil sector. Cutting unnecessary red tape and fast-tracking project approvals will give the energy operators a boost,” said NJ Ayuk.

“This, however, is a goal that is achievable only through the collaboration of the private and public sector. Local content is value creation and it is pertinent that Senegal put in place policies and frameworks that will see its people benefit from its hydrocarbon industry,” he added.

Last month, Woodside Energy got the green light for its $4.2bn Sangomar oil project, Senegal’s first offshore oil venture where the first production is expected in 2023, with a capacity to reach 100,000 bopd. The Phase 1 development concept for the Sangomar field is a stand-alone FPSO facility with subsea infrastructure. 

Meanwhile, works are ongoing at the Greater Tortue Ahmeyim FLNG project, whose phase 1 will see the commissioning of a 2.5 mtpa facility by 2022. This month, Kosmos Energy, BP, Petrosen and SMHPM signed an agreement with BP Gas Marketing for the supply of 2.45 mtpa of LNG over 20 years.

The MSGBC Basin has become sub-Saharan Africa’s hottest exploration frontier. Senegal is currently holding a licensing round to further attract investment into its acreages and boost existing reserves. The round is expected to generate tremendous interest from foreign investors and further confirm Senegal as a new African energy leader.

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