Earth Finds

Earth Finds

Kampala Parents Kicks Off Online Teaching Amidst Covid-10 Pandemic

Kampala Parents School recently announced it will start delivering lessons online using the Zoom Application and true to its word, the Ruparelia Group-owned school Tuesday commenced the exercise.

The first beneficiaries of the exercise were the P5, P6 and P7 classes. Classes for Primary Three and Four will start on 29th May 2020; Top Class, Primary One and Two will start on 4th June 2020.

In an interview with CEO East Africa, Kampala Parents School proprietor Dr. Sudhir Ruparelia said that the school had procured 40 internet-connected computers. He said teachers had been trained to use the computers.

“Kampala Parents has always been a proud leader in innovating for our parents and learners. It is difficult to predict when Covid-19 restrictions will end, yet our children must continue being fed with knowledge,” he said.

Dr. Ruparelia said that parents will not incur any extra fees beyond the normal tuition structure. “Learners who had completed their term 1 fees will continue and finish the syllabus at no cost,”

“We also urge those who had not completed doing so, so that the learners may catch up,” he said adding that, beginning on the June 09th the school would open for online Term 2 online lessons, subject to the guidance by the Ministry of Education for learners in Primary Seven.

Because of the COVID19 pandemic, President Yoweri Museveni in March closed all school and learning institutions and have remained shut with no sure date of their reopening. This has meant that students and pupils are not learning. 


Nuclear Technology To Help Combat Covid-19

The novel coronavirus crisis has led to a slowdown of the economic growth of countries across the world.

According to the World Bank biannual Africa’s Pulse report, which discusses the macroeconomic outlook for sub-Saharan Africa, released in April 2020, economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa will decline from 2.4 percent in 2019 to between -2.1 percent and -5.1 percent in 2020, depending on the success of measures taken to mitigate the pandemic’s effects. The report predicts that the region will experience its first recession in 25 years .

All industries mobilize to help to combat the negative effect of new pandemic on the global economy. Nuclear technologies also show multiple use during the crisis. Nuclear technology is a major baseload power-generating source and accounted for 10.3% of global power generation in 2019 . The use of nuclear technologies during these times  is not limited to maintaining stable electricity supply.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is providing diagnostic kits, equipment and training in nuclear-derived detection techniques to countries asking for assistance in tackling the worldwide spread of the novel coronavirus causing COVID-19. The assistance, requested by 14 countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, is part of intensified global efforts to contain infections .

For its part, Russian State Nuclear Corporation ROSATOM, one of the leading energy and technology companies on the global scale, offers its latest developments for sterilization (i.e. the destruction of pathogens, spores, viruses) of medical devices. The company has already sterilised 24,416,893 medical masks as of May 19, as well as 334,500 portable lab kits to test for COVID-19 .

Unlike all other types of sterilization, this method has sufficient penetrating power, which allows it to process hermetically sealed products - the generated streams of accelerated electrons are able to penetrate the packaging of medical devices without violating its integrity, which eliminates the possibility of re-contamination of the product.

In addition, after processing the product with a stream of accelerated electrons, the product immediately becomes usable. This does not require degassing (unlike other sterilization methods) or other necessary actions, before actual use. This method of sterilization ensures environmental friendliness - there is no side chemical and other pollution during processing .

Yulia Kurashvili, Advisor to Director General of ROSATOM’s company – JSC Rusatom Healthcare (an integrator in the field of radiation technologies in medicine and industry), comments on new challenges in the use of nuclear technologies in medicine to be expected in the nearest future: “Medical devices are constantly evolving: their functionality is changing, they are becoming hybrid, the technologies and materials for their manufacture are changing. And viruses evolve too.

Therefore, I believe that specialists and medical sterilization technologies should always be “a step ahead”. At the end of the pandemic, the need for studies of the functional state of various organs and systems of the body of patients undergoing COVID-19 will increase. And only visualization based only on nuclear medical technologies and new radio pharmaceutical preparations will be able to provide such opportunities.”                                                                           


Exploration License Extensions Could Spur Oil Sector Recovery In Angola

Prior to the onset of COVID-19 and OPEC-led production cuts effective May 1, Angola was set to see a rise in production. In February, the country recorded a production level of 1.39 million barrels per day (bpd), up 15,000 bpd from January.

Since the middle of 2019, several majors also extended existing block production licenses, reflecting an initial push to ramp up production. Aligned with the effort to yield new discoveries, Maersk Drilling was awarded contracts for a three-well exploration campaign by Total E&P in January.

The project includes two wells offshore Angola in Block 32 and Block 48 and one well offshore Namibia and boasts the deepest water depth ever drilled offshore. The campaign carries an estimated duration of 240 days and includes two additional one-well options, demonstrating a commitment by explorers to tap into existing acreage and bring new discoveries into production.

However, in the midst of COVID-19, several major operators are dramatically reducing capital expenditures. Italian multinational Eni and French major Total, for example, have reduced investment in exploration and production across the continent in 2020 by 25%.

In Angola, Total has suspended development of its short-cycle satellite field projects, located near the operator’s large offshore installations. That said, the recent license extensions might help to alleviate time and financial pressure on the completion of drilling programs, the status of which remains unknown for most blocks.

Block 14

In February, the Angolan National Agency for Petroleum, Gas and Biofuels (ANPG) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the consortium that owns and operates Block 14 to extend its exploration period until 2028. The consortium is comprised of Chevron (31%), Sonangol (20%), Eni (20%), Total Angola (20%) and Galp Energia (9%).

The MoU amended the terms of the agreement by targeting an increase in crude production that will enable up to 65% of cost recovery in new exploration areas from April 1. Block 14 currently produces approximately 160,000 bpd of medium-light crude oil.

The agreement also provided for the readjustment of the profit-sharing contract to an 80/20 proportion, and includes the drilling of an exploration well and six development wells. Cost recovery will increase to 72.5% following the drilling of the wells, and profit-sharing will shift to a 90/10 split.

The agreement is directed at the areas of Tombwa-Lândana, Benguela, Belize, Lobito, Tomboco and Kui¬to, which will be merged into a new collective marketed area, known as Tombwa-Lândana, to serve as a new focus of exploration for operators.  

Block 17

In December 2019, Total signed an agreement with the ANPG to extend its license in Block 17 until 2045. The French supermajor, which carries a 35% interest, operates the block in partnership with Equinor (23.33%), ExxonMobil (20%), BP (16.67%).

Under the extension contract, Sonangol acquired a 5% stake in the block and will acquire another 5% in 2036. Block 17 is the site of the Girassol field, the largest oil discovery ever to be made in Angola, and holds estimated reserves of 2.9 billion barrels, with a record of 17 discoveries made in 20 wells drilled. According to Sonangol, only 1,611 kmof the block’s acreage has been surveyed, which results in 67% of the acreage left unexplored.

Three short-cycle brownfield projects were initially under development in Block 17, with the aim of adding 150 million barrels to its total production and 100,000 barrels to its daily production. Additional exploration campaigns were also planned to unlock further resources, with two wells planned for drilling in 2020 yet likely to be postponed. Block 17 remains an integral player in Total’s plans to boost its Angola production by 2023.

Block 15

In June 2019, the ExxonMobil-led consortium operating Block 15 signed a production-sharing agreement that extended block operations through 2032. In addition, the consortium approved a multi-year drilling program that will add 40,000 barrels to the block’s current production upon completion by operator ExxonMobil.

The project is expected to generate approximately 1,000 local jobs. New infrastructure technology is planned be deployed in the block, designed to increase the capacity of the existing subsea flow lines and increase output.

Additional changes to the production sharing agreement include changes in ownership. Under the agreement, ExxonMobil carries a 36% stake and operates the block in partnership with BP (24%), ENI (18%) and Equinor (12%).

As part of the agreement, Sonangol will receive a 10% equity interest in the block. ExxonMobil also holds stakes in three deep-water blocks covering nearly two million acres in Angola, which hold substantial development opportunities and a gross recoverable resource potential of approximately 10 billion barrels of oil equivalent. Block 15 has produced more than 2.2 billion barrels of oil since 2003.

Prudential Supplements Govt COVID -19 Food Relief Efforts With Shs300m Donation

The ongoing lockdown measures designed to curb the spread of Covid-19 have adversely affected vulnerable communities’ members who survive by accessing urban centres every day for their livelihood, Arjun Mallik, MD, Prudential East Africa, Monday told journalists in Kampala.

He said that while the lockdown measures are being implemented with positive intent, disruption of community member’s routines means some people are going hungry in their home.

And in order to supplement government efforts to provide food relief, and support those most in need, Mallik and Prudential, an insurance firm, announced a donation of Shs300 million towards food relief in the country.

Prudential said the donation will feed the most vulnerable and poor who have been greatly affected by the lockdown, many of whom live on less than a dollar a day and therefore do not have any savings to help them go through this period.

This will be distributed via two organisations: Humanitarian Operations Projects and Emergencies (HOPE) and Heal the Planet Global Organisation (HTP).

Alhaji Kaddunabi Lubega, the CEO, Insurance Regulatory Authority said the outbreak of Covid-19 ‘has highlighted to all of us,’ the need to always be prepared for the unexpected challenges of life.   “I convey my gratitude to Prudential Uganda for standing by Ugandans in this hour of need,” he said.

While receiving the fund on behalf of HOPE, Emmanuel Kashaija, Country Director, appreciated Prudential for supporting the vulnerable slum dwellers in the western region who have been profiled as elderly people, orphan households, pregnant women, street children and the disabled, adding that the food relief will go along way in improving their social and psychological well-being.

Benjamin Kivumbi Earnest, President, HTP, thanked Prudential for the timely response towards helping the slum dwellers around Kampala in the areas of Nsambya, Katwe, Bwaise and Makerere Kivulu, Makindye, Masajja. “These people are in dire need of food and we will work with the local council to make sure food is delivered at their door step,” he said. 

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