The government of Uganda has finalized a grand plan to construct an oil refinery in the country, in a bid to boost the Oil and Gas sector and to make it self-sustainable.
This revelation was made by Ms. Sarah Banage, the Head Corporate Affairs at the Uganda National Oil Company (UNOC), who revealed that it will be a major step in the operationalising of the Oil and Gas sector.
According to Ms. Banage, the Government has already identified land in Kabaale, Buseruka Sub-county, Hoima District, on which the project will be constructed and will be supported with a Remote Refinery Terminal in Mpigi District.
“We absolutely need the Refinery. We’re currently spending $2Bn annually to import petroleum products. Once the Refinery is up and running, we will have our own petroleum products like petrol, diesel and jet fuel. On the continental overview for Refineries; we have about 4.1% of the world’s oil consumption and yet only 2.6% is refined. Most countries in Africa are either upgrading, expanding or launching their refineries. They have realized the need to close this gap,” Banage says.
She adds that; “We intend to build a remote refinery terminal similar to that in Jinja. The whole purpose is to store and provide oil in bulk so that sellers can retail to their nearby esteemed customers. The storage terminal in Jinja run by Uganda National Oil Company (UNOC) has the capacity to hold 30 million litres of petroleum products but the one we are building in Mpigi will be three times bigger or more.”
Banage also revealed that Uganda signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Algeria to gain and learn from their expertise since it’s a country that has been dealing with for a long time, on top of consulting a number of other experts and investment partners on this project.
The Government’s intention to implement this project is evidenced in a press statement issued by the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development on July 3rd, 2023, calling upon investors to partake in this project.
Solomon Muyita, the Head of Communications and PR at the Ministry, says thus in the presser; “The Government of Uganda and the Albertine Energy Consortium (AGEC) have, over the years, made significant achievements in the development of the 60,000 barrels per day Oil Refinery Project in Uganda. The key achievements so far include the completion of the Refinery Configuration or Front-End Loading 2 (FEL-2), the Front-End Engineering Design (FEED), which defines the technical design of the Oil Refinery, the Project Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) study, logistics study and commercial and marketing study.”
He adds that; “There are however, a number of outstanding aspects, including mobilization of financing for the project and the Government of Uganda is now open to receiving offers from the public sector capital providers to participate in this nationally and regionally strategic project.”
Banage notes however that when this project is implemented, there are several opportunities that will arise from the petrochemical industry that will emerge as a result of the Refinery becoming operational.
“Ugandans need to be alert. Opportunities are there, coming up but how ready and prepared you are matters. Have the skill at hand. Our websites are active, and other platforms, look for supplies and register to be part of the refinery. We trained some Youths so that they can get international certification in engineering and other fields. In case these skilled people don’t get jobs with UNOC, they can still work with Oil and Gas in other neighbouring countries,” she revealed.
She also highlighted the fact that the Refinery Project is a huge investment opportunity for both local and international investors, especially now that the government is open to receiving offers from the public sector capital providers.
Impact On Environment
Tackling the issue of the impact the refinery project will have on the environment, Banage notes that the component of this refinery that is very important is the tree-planting project.
She says that the government has earmarked about 4000 trees planted which are to be planted so as to offset carbon emission issues that will come as a result of the refinery.