Hoima reaps from oil buzz



HOIMA, Uganda – As Uganda edges towards the production phase of the nascent oil and gas sector, one area that is already getting a feel of the anticipated results is Hoima District.

The town that is now rightly referred to as ‘Uganda’s Oil hub’ is a bee hive of activity as its old one-storied, clay walled and rusty iron sheet houses give way to larger offices, hotels and recreational centers.

The town now boasts of several commercial properties, bigger financial institutions as well as several large offices that have instantly changed the infrastructure of this oil hub.

A statement released by the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development on Tuesday (June 24, 2014) announcing that the process of selecting a contractor to build Uganda’s first refinery and related downstream infrastructure has narrowed down to two companies, has only aroused the appetite for infrastructural development in the district.

Chinese oil firm, CNOOC is the latest entrant in this mix as the company recently unveiled a magnificent office overlooking the town.

During a dinner organized to officially open CNOOC’snew offices in Hoima, AminahBukenya, CNOOC’s Public Relations Supervisor said that the building will help take services closer to the people.

“This office now makes it easier for our people to access us rather than trekking all the way to Kampala. We are optimistic that this step will help cement our relationship with the locals,” she said.

She also added that the new offices open an avenue for employment opportunities for the locals.

CNOOC is so far the only oil company to have been granted a production license and is managing the Kingfisher field that was granted in September 2013. According to the company’s management, development is already in place at the field.

Zakaria Lubega, the Corporate Social Responsibility Manager at CNOOC says that the company plans to construct roads, widen an air strip as well as increase their funding to the education sector in Hoima.

Information from the Ministry of Energy indicates that 115 exploration and appraisal wells have drilled in the AlbertineGraben to date. 101 of them have encountered hydrocarbons with a drilling success rate stand at over 85%. 28 wells have so far been flow tested.

The ministry adds that investment by the oil and gas industry in seismic surveys, exploratory and appraisal drilling stood at over US$2.5billion by the end of 2013.

“There has been sharp increase in investment after the first commercial discovery. This investment has been important in progressing the country’s oil and gas sector and is expected to increase significantly during development,  production, refinery development and attendant pipelines development,” reads a report from the Ministry in part.