Category Archives: Uganda

Located on the edge of the Equator, Uganda is positioned in south-central Africa, and bordered by the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan and Tanzania.

Shell Eyes Potential South Sudan Opportunities

image

by  Alexis Flynn
Dow Jones Newswires
Wednesday, January 04, 2012

LONDON (Dow Jones Newswires), Jan. 4, 2012

Shell is examining possible opportunities in South Sudan, which seceded from its northern neighbor, Sudan, in July last year, taking with it at least 75 percent of the areas known oil fields.

“We continuously review potential business opportunities around the world. We would like to better understand the current security, political and business environment in South Sudan, and how this has been impacted by the secession,” a Shell spokesman said in a statement.

Ethiopian newspaper The Reporter on Saturday said Shell is planning to construct an oil pipeline from South Sudan to Ethiopia. Citing “reliable sources,” the paper said a Shell delegation had visited South Sudan in November.

When asked whether Shell had met with local officials and discussed a potential pipeline project, a Shell spokesman declined to elaborate beyond the company’s statement that it wasn’t pursuing business opportunities in South Sudan “at the moment.” The company doesn’t have a presence in Sudan.

Although South Sudan retained most of the country’s output and is now producing around 350,000 barrels of oil a day, the landlocked country still depends on Khartoum for refineries, ports and export pipelines.

Similar challenges also exist elsewhere in East Africa, a burgeoning oil province following recent major discoveries in Uganda‘s Albertine basin but without the necessary infrastructure to bring its crude to market. French major Total, U.K. explorer Tullow Oil and China’s CNOOC are expected to invest at least $10 billion developing Uganda’s oil assets, which will include the building of a 1,300-kilometer pipeline to the Kenyan port of Mombasa.

However, analysts cast some doubt on whether Shell would be prepared to make a significant investment into a relatively unstable part of the world.

Relations between the two Sudans have worsened in recent weeks, with the office of South Sudan President Salva Kiir late Monday accusing Sudan of stealing its oil by diverting as much as 1.2 million barrels of crude oil.

Royal Bank of Canada analyst Peter Hutton said a move into South Sudan would have little obvious operational synergy for Shell, which have been exiting Africa in the downstream, adding that their experience in Nigeria has probably made the firm’s management more risk averse. “It all looks a bit of a stretch–not the direction investors will want Shell to go in,” said Hutton.

Source

Advertisements

Oil deals: MPs boycott Museveni meeting

image

By YASIIN MUGERWA & SHEILA NATURINDA

A group of NRM MPs yesterday boycotted a meeting called by President Museveni at State House, Entebbe to try and convince members to back him on a $2.9 billion (Shs7.3 trillion) oil deal to bring Total-CNOOC into Uganda’s oil industry through a farm-out by Tullow Oil.

Addressing a news conference at parliament independent-minded MPs described their colleagues who went for President Museveni’s meeting as “hypocrites”. Lwemiyaga MP Theodore Ssekikubo, Kampala Central MP Muhammad Nsereko, Vincent Kyamadidi (Rwampara) and Wilfred Niwagaba (Ndorwa East) said they couldn’t be party to a State House meeting that seeks to help the President overthrow Parliament.

“We passed a resolution in Parliament stopping the signing of oil contracts without relevant laws in place,” Mr Niwagaba said. “We were not drunk when we passed this resolution. We had given the government 30 days to table these laws but it’s now two months and they have not acted yet the President wants to sign new contracts.” He added: “We want to warn Oil companies that if they dare sign, Ugandans will not be party to illegal contracts signed with the President because as far as we are concerned Tullow doesn’t have any license.”

In an unprecedented response to what they called “a sinister plot to hijack the independence of Parliament and entrench corruption in the oil sector”, a group of the same legislators in October this year walked out on President Museveni at the party’s stormy Kyankwanzi retreat.

Those who witnessed this drama, this newspaper that the trouble began after the President proposed that the NRM Caucus resolve to overturn the Parliament resolutions on oil that placed a moratorium on executing oil contracts and oil transactions on the Executive until the necessary laws have been passed by Parliament.

The President reportedly argued that the resolutions of Parliament on the matter would affect the $2.9 billion deal to bring Total and CNOOC into Uganda’s oil industry. But sources who attended the Friday NRM Caucus Meeting at State House told Daily Monitor that President told members that Speaker Rebecca Kadaga assured him that the resolution didn’t affect on-going contracts.

Related Stories

But the lawmakers led by Mr Ssekikubo and Abdul Katuntu who was part of the press conference, the chief petitioners in an on-going House inquiry in to the allegations of corruption said the $2.9 billion deal with Total-CNOOC in a farm-out deal will be challenged in courts of law. Kyamadidi and Nsereko accused Tullow of peddling air. The MPs want government to withhold its consent to signing of a deal expected to be concluded as soon as the two parties agree on the tax component.

“Self-indulgence is what is taking place at State House,” Mr Ssekikubo said. “I don’t know what my colleagues have gone to do at State House. If it’s to help the President sign Total-CNOOC deal with Tullow, then they are making a very big mistake. Our position is that Parliament must be respected and the President should wait for the oil laws to be put in place before entering into any contract.”

But Mr Katuntu, an established lawyer said: “Tullow doesn’t not have any legal contract. The Memorandum of Understanding they signed with the government is illegal and should not be a basis for entering into new contracts. It’s up to those companies which want to be hoodwinked to proceed and sign otherwise what the president is trying to do is illegal and unacceptable.”

While the independent-minded NRM MPs boycotted the meeting, majority of the friendly NRM MPs attended the meeting with the President which started at 4pm. Details of the meeting were not readily available by press time. But sources said the President wanted MPs support him on the deal. This was a follow-up meeting to the one at Kyankwanzi meeting which allowed the president to proceed with the deal.

At Kyankawanzi meet, after some MPs walked out on the President, Soroti Municipality MP Mike Mukula moved a motion which was seconded by Mr Alex Ruhunda (Fort Portal Municipality) binding the NRM Caucus to allow the President to proceed with the signing of the $2.9 billion Total-CNOOC farm-out deal with Tullow.

Source

Enhanced by Zemanta

Soros Plots Museveni’s Coup

image

Special Reports — 10 November 2011

George Soros, the American billionaire who is at the center of Uganda Oil scramble is plotting a coup in the Ugandan army.

Reports indicate that, Soros has since last year been pumping millions of dollars into the opposition to defeat Museveni.

However, sources say, after spending a lot of money on the Uganda opposition, which had assured him an outright win over Museveni in the March 2011 election, the loaded American has now changed tactics.

According to our sources, the High Command of UPDF is having sleepless nights after learning that the deadly American has penetrated the pinnacle of the military with a view of engineering a mutiny against the Commander-in-Chief and topples him from power.

“Most of this money is shipped into Uganda through a myriad of NGO’s and civil societies funded by the Open Society Institute owned by Soros,” a source said.

Soros who is in close working relationship with some pronounced opposition figures is trying to recruit UPDF officers to indoctrinate them on how they can execute the anti Museveni plot.

Reliable Sources confirmed that several senior army officers are frequently meeting Soros’ agents and diplomats for private conversations aimed at recruiting them to cause an implosion within the rank and file of UPDF.

The agents according to sources are usually meeting senior officers at places like Quality Cuts Restaurant in Nsambya, Common Wealth Resort Munyonyo,Lake Victoria Serena Hotel, Emin Pasha among others.

“The funded NGOs / civil society organizations have since realized that it will be impossible to remove Museveni from power if the UPDF is still loyal to him hence the plan to create turmoil within its rank and file,” Sources say.

The hugely funded NGOs/ Civil societies are also investigating any grievances some Men and officers of the UPDF could be having so that they may exploit them for enticement.

Those targeted include senior officers from Army, Intelligence Services and Police.

The funded NGO’s have also been profiling key senior officers to study  their strengths and weakness, sources added.

Source

Scramble for Africa

image

JOHN CHERIAN

The neocolonial scramble for Africa has truly begun with the installation of the National Transitional Council in Libya.

REUTERS

President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda at a news conference in Kampala on October 16. He said the despatch of U.S. troops to deal with the rebel outfit Lord’s Resistance Army was not meant for combat but rather liaison and support in the area of intelligence.

THE installation of the National Transitional Council (NTC) government in Libya by the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) could signal the beginning of an open neocolonial scramble for Africa. Suspicions about such a blueprint were first aroused when President George W. Bush set up the United States-Africa Command (AFRICOM) in 2008, months before demitting office. The demand for a permanent American military footprint on the African continent had come from right-wing think tanks that enjoyed great clout in the corridors of power during the eight years of the Bush presidency.

A background paper prepared in 2002 by the influential right-wing think tank Heritage Foundation had called for the creation of a military command for the continent so that “direct military intervention”, using air power and naval forces, could become possible to “protect vital U.S. interests” in Africa. Such interventions, its authors wrote, would not necessitate the deployment of U.S. forces on the ground. Such wars, the paper proposed, should be fought with the help of local allies. The U.S. Defence Department’s African Contingency Operation Training and Assistance Programme is deeply involved in training the armies of many countries, including Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda and Ghana, America’s close allies in the region.

The authors of the paper clearly spelt out what they meant by vital interests: “With its vast natural and mineral resources, Africa remains strategically important to the West, as it has been for hundreds of years, and its geostrategic significance is likely to rise in the 21st century.” According to the National Intelligence Council, “the United States is likely to draw 25 per cent of its oil from West Africa by 2015, surpassing the volume imported from the Persian Gulf”, the Heritage Foundation study reported. The Bush administration’s Assistant Secretary of State for Africa Walter Kansteiner was quick to echo the views expressed by the foundation. He went on record stating that Africa’s oil had “become a national strategic interest”.

Libya is among Africa’s biggest oil producers. China was importing 11 per cent of Libyan oil for its domestic needs before the NATO-instigated civil war in the North African state started seven months ago. It could now find itself locked out of new oil contracts. Top functionaries of the NTC have said that China, Russia and Brazil would be frozen out of contracts.

AP

JOSEPH KONY, THE leader of the LRA. A file photograph.

These countries had criticised the misuse of the United Nations Security Council resolution on Libya to bring about a regime change. China gets around one-third of its oil from Africa. The French newspaper Liberacion recently published documents revealing the NTC leadership’s offer of 35 per cent of Libya’s oil production to France in return for its “total and permanent support” for the new government. Gene Cretz, the U.S. Ambassador to Libya, recently blurted out that “oil is the jewel of the crown of Libyan national resources”.

President Barack Obama, who famously claimed that he was leading the war in Libya “from behind”, used precisely the tactics prescribed in the Heritage Foundation report. AFRICOM played an important behind-the-scenes role in planning the U.S./NATO bombing of Libya. U.S. Special Forces teamed up with its counterparts from France and the United Kingdom to arm and organise the ragtag rebel forces into a fighting unit. It was the coordinated air strikes, coupled with an amphibious operation led by the U.S., that finally led to the fall of Tripoli. South African President Jacob Zuma complained bitterly that it was NATO bombing that prevented the African Union (A.U.) from hammering out a negotiated settlement to the civil war in Libya. More than 200 prominent Africans wrote an open letter in August criticising the recourse to “militarised diplomacy to effect regime change in Libya”.

In early October, a few days before the fall of Sirte and the killing of Muammar Qaddafi, Obama ordered the despatch of 100 U.S. Special Forces troops to Uganda. He said the decision to send the troops was taken to help the U.S.’ ally in the region, Yoweri Museveni, defeat the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), which was engaged in a guerilla war with the central government in Kampala. Obama told Congress that the troops were deployed in order “to assist African forces in the removal of Joseph Koni [the LRA leader] and the LRA leadership from the battlefield”. Museveni, one of Africa’s long-serving authoritarian rulers, was a one-time friend of Qaddafi. Qaddafi had extended support to the rebel army that brought Museveni to power in 1986. After coming to power, Museveni became one of the trusted allies of the West and was regularly feted at the White House.

At America’s bidding, Uganda has sent peacekeepers to Somalia under the A.U. umbrella to keep the Islamist Al Shabab militia out of the capital, Mogadishu. Two years ago, Ethiopia dispatched its troops to Somalia to drive away the Islamic Courts Union government from Mogadishu after it had managed to unite most of the country. In the face of immense resistance, the Ethiopian troops were withdrawn, but the country was left in chaos again. Al Shabab exploited this and now poses a potent threat to U.S. interests in the region.

In the middle of October, Kenya replicated what Ethiopia did. Encouraged by the U.S., it sent its troops deep into Somalia to fight Al Shabab. The U.S. is providing air support to the Kenyan military. The Kenyan invasion has already led to terror attacks in Kenyan cities. Only a handful of African states have bothered to send peacekeepers to the war-ravaged country, viewing the conflict there as one mainly instigated by the West.

Observers of the African scene are suspicious of the Obama administration’s sudden decision to send Special Forces to Uganda. Obama has also indicated that the U.S. forces will be sent to the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan, ostensibly to help the governments there to crush rebel groups. AFRICOM provides billions of dollars worth of equipment to the armies of countries that are friendly to the U.S. The U.S. military is already helping counter-insurgency operations in Mali and Niger, where the marginalised Tuareg ethnic group has raised the banner of revolt. “With Libya secure, an American invasion of Africa is under way,” observed John Pilger in a recent article.

The LRA, which operates along Uganda’s borders with Southern Sudan and the Central African Republic, was never considered a serious threat in the 24 years that it has been active. It is said to have around 500 fighters, many of them child soldiers. Many African commentators suspect that the real goal of the Obama administration is to start preparing the ground for a permanent military base for AFRICOM on the continent. AFRICOM is currently headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany, but it has a major military facility in Camp Lemonier in Djibouti, a small state located in the Horn of Africa. In all, 1,800 American troops are permanently based there.

In the island state of Seychelles, the U.S. has secretly deployed MQ-9 Reaper drones. These “hunter-killers” have been deployed extensively over Somalia. African civil society is very much opposed to U.S. military involvement in Africa. No African country has until now openly offered permanent basing facilities, although there were reports in the media that Liberia and Morocco were among the countries that were being short-listed by Washington. The regional grouping, Southern African Development Community (SADC), has refused to give any kind of support or access to AFRICOM.

Military analysts say that from the strategic point of view, land-locked Uganda provides the ideal location for a permanent U.S. military base on the African continent. With Libya already under NATO stewardship, the U.S. can regain control over the military bases it was ousted from following the removal of the pro-Western King Idris. It has been a long-term U.S. goal to occupy the strategic crossroads between the Mediterranean and the Arab world. The death of Qaddafi has made this goal an achievable reality. The next step is to ensure the U.S. military’s stranglehold on Central Africa to control the region’s hydrocarbon and other mineral resources. Uganda’s neighbours, such as Congo and Southern Sudan, are rich in mineral resources, which include diamonds and precious metals such as gold, platinum, lithium and cobalt.

According to oil industry experts, Uganda has huge untapped oil resources. A UPI report in March said: “East Africa is emerging as the next oil boom following a big strike in Uganda’s Lake Albert Basin. Other oil and gas reserves have been found in Tanzania and Mozambique and exploration is under way in Ethiopia and war-torn Somalia.” The region is rich in rare earths, which remain largely unexploited. Currently, China has a monopoly over rare-earth production located within its borders.

The Economist had noted that “several jealous western governments and companies want to stall China’s advance into the Congo basin, with its vast reserves of minerals and timber”. The big economic and diplomatic stride made by China on the African continent has caused a lot of heartburn in Western capitals. China has been focussing on Africa since the 1960s. China started investing heavily there ever since it began to emerge as a big economic power. Its investments in 2010 were estimated at $47 billion. Beijing’s policy of giving liberal “no-strings-attached” loans to African nations has won it a lot of goodwill. But with Chinese labour and capital moving into the continent in a big way, the resentment that has been building up in some countries has come in handy for the West.

Source

Bill Gates advises Uganda on oil cash

image

Microsoft founder Bill Gates

Published On: Thu, Nov 3rd, 2011

The world’s second richest man and one of its most influential philanthropists will today advise the G20 to ask government to make details of Uganda’s oil agreements public.

Microsoft founder Bill Gates is also expected to ask the G20 to ensure that government declares the money it receives from its oil resources. Mr Gates’ comments come a day after a parliamentary ad hoc committee started investigating allegations of corruption and unfair agreements in Uganda’s largely opaque oil sector which is expected to generate $2 billion per year at peak production, compared to a national budget of $3 billion.

“This oil revenue should have a huge impact on the government’s ability to address the needs of millions of poor Ugandans,” Mr Gates will today tell leaders of the G20, which include the world’s richest and most powerful countries. “However, we have no insight into the country’s oil leasing arrangements, and, as a result, Ugandan citizens have no means to protect their interests.”

Mr Gates’ comments on Uganda are part of a report on financing global development he has written for the G20 meeting at the request of French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who currently holds its rotational leadership. The full report will be published today.

Mr Gates has closely been following developments in Uganda where his Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is a major donor to health projects, and is keen to see Uganda’s oil money spent transparently on social and economic development.

Ms Winnie Ngabiirwe of Publish What You Pay Uganda, a pro-transparency pressure group, said yesterday: “For a long time now, Ugandans have asked our government to do exactly what Mr Gates is asking for. Unfortunately, our government has continued to dismiss our concerns, treating the oil and gas sector with the highest level of secrecy. Making agreements accessible to Ugandans, and publishing what the country is earning is an important step necessary for fighting against corruption and embezzlement.”

Energy Minister Irene Muloni told Daily Monitor yesterday that there was no need to worry since the oil industry in Uganda is young. “All the appropriate laws will be put in place. Uganda’s oil resources will be adequately managed,” she said, advising this newspaper to seek President Museveni’s view over Mr Gate’s presentation.

Tullow Oil is in final stages of farming down two-thirds of its interest in Uganda’s oil fields to France’s Total and China’s CNOOC. In July 2010, the US passed the Dodd-Frank Act, which calls for all oil, gas and mining companies listed in the US to publish their payments to foreign governments.

This would include CNOOC, which is listed in the US, but not UK-listed Tullow.
However, last week the European Commission proposed a new law which would implement the same requirement for all 27 EU member countries.

If adopted, Tullow and Total would have to publish their payments to Uganda unless government passes a secrecy law making it explicitly illegal for any oil, gas or mining company to publish information about their activities in Uganda.

Mr Gates is also expected to encourage Uganda to sign up to the Extractives Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) and gives an example of Ghana, which used the initiative to raise minimum mining royalties from three to six per cent. “The problem is that EITI is a voluntary initiative, and only five African countries are currently compliant, although more are working towards it,” Mr Gates says. “All G20 countries should require the mining and oil companies listed on their stock exchanges to disclose payments to governments.”

By John Njoroge, Daily Monitor

Enhanced by Zemanta
%d bloggers like this: