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Friday, June 9, 2023

Ahead of commencement of oil production in 2025, Uganda explores avenue to prevent gas flaring

The Ugandan National Government says it has drawn lessons from Nigeria and other African countries by enacting anti-venting law which prevents gas flaring.

Gas flaring
Gas flaring

Mrs Ruth Ssentamu, the Ugandan Minister of Energy and Mineral Development, disclosed this on the sidelines of the just-concluded Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) held in Houston, Texas, U.S.

The minister said that the enactment also promotes investments for its oil and gas industry.

Ssentamu said this at the Africa Women in Energy International Summit with the theme ‘’Promoting Diversity and Partnership for Growth’’.

She also said that it was in a bid to protect its environment from pollution, degradation and lack of investment.

World Bank said that each year, gas flaring, the burning of natural gas associated with oil extraction, emits more than 400 million tons of CO2 equivalent emissions, including methane and other pollutants.

Ssentamu said Uganda had learned from the mistakes of other oil producing countries, especially in Africa, to develop its own oil and gas law by not falling into the mistakes of its predecessors.

She announced that Uganda will be producing its first oil in 2025, saying from the first day of oil production, the country has barred gas flaring and any form of environmental hazards associated with oil exploration and production.

The minister said the discovery of oil for any country should naturally be a blessing, warning that such blessing could however turn into a curse if it was not well prepared for.

She added that oil could be a curse if a country decided to abandon agriculture and rely solely on gains from hydrocarbon resources.

‘‘Uganda prepared very well by training Ugandans to be the ones to negotiate the terms, policies and conditions for its oil industry and they are now the ones developing the industry.

“We put in place all the relevant laws to guide our operations. one of those laws stipulates that all the revenue we get from oil will go into infrastructure development only and not for eating or payment of salaries.”

According to her, one of the infrastructure developments that the resources from oil will go into is electricity, which a country needs to industrialise.

She further said that proceeds from oil revenue would be used to build refineries because the country would not be in the business of petroleum resources to export all of its oil.

On gender inclusion, she said it was time for women to be given prominent roles and front row roles in the management of the economy.

‘‘As mothers, women are naturally not selfish because they want every member of the family is happy in an equitable manner,” she said.

The energy minister added that women should take the driver’s seat in the energy sector.

According to her, when there is poor electricity supply and lack of cooking gas, it is the women that bear the brunt of resorting to firewood to cook which shortens their life span.

By Yusuf Yunus

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