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Oil deals: MPs boycott Museveni meeting

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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.

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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.

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Ghana: Seadrill Inks One-Year Contract for Ultra-Deepwater Newbuild West Leo

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Tullow Oil Ghana Ltd., a subsidiary of Tullow Oil plc has awarded Seadrill a one-year contract for operations offshore Ghana with the newbuild ultra-deepwater semi-submersible rig West Leo.

The potential contract revenue for the one-year period is US$204 million which includes US$18 million in mobilization revenue. In addition, the rig can earn a daily performance bonus of up to 10 percent.

West Leo is currently under construction at Jurong Shipyard in Singapore with delivery scheduled for the end of January 2012. The unit will subsequently start its transit to Ghana where commencement on the Tullow contract is expected in mid April 2012. West Leo will be the second unit of the Moss Maritime CS50 Mk II design that Seadrill puts into operations.

Alf C Thorkildsen, Chief Executive Officer in Seadrill Management AS, says, “We are very pleased to have secured our first deepwater contract with Tullow, a fast growing and dynamic independent oil and gas company. We believe Ghana, which is one of the most promising new deepwater frontiers, may offer significant opportunities for us going forward. We continue to strengthen our revenue backlog and have with this contract secured attractive employment for all our deep and ultra-deepwater units.”

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ROC Sells Offshore Mauritania Interests to Tullow

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Roc Oil (Mauritania) Company and Roc Oil (Chinguetti) B.V., each wholly owned subsidiaries of ROC, have agreed to sell all of their respective interests offshore Mauritania to Tullow Mauritania Ltd, Tullow Petroleum (Mauritania) Pty Ltd and Tullow Chinguetti Production Pty Ltd, wholly owned subsidiaries of Tullow Oil plc (“Tullow”), for US$4 million subject to working capital adjustments.

ROC has interests of between 2.00% and 5.49% in offshore Mauritanian blocks, including a 3.25% interest in the producing Chinguetti oil field. The divestment will take place through the sale of three separate packages. The effective date of the sale is 1 January 2011.

The agreement and completion of each separate package is subject to normal industry terms and conditions, including the receipt of relevant joint venture waivers or approvals and all necessary government approvals. Completion of the sale for all of ROC’s interests may not take place during 2011 due to issues associated with the approval process.

Commenting on the sale, ROC’s Chief Executive Officer, Alan Linn, stated:

”The sale of offshore Mauritanian interests signals the final element of ROC’s objective to exit or farm down its African acreage exposure. The exit from Africa will allow ROC to redeploy capital and resources to pursue opportunities more  consistent with the Company’s strategy to generate future growth through exploration, appraisal and pre-development opportunities located in the focus regions of China, South East Asia and Australasia. The recent award of the Balai Cluster  Small Field Risk Service Contract in Malaysia is an example of how ROC is successfully pursuing this strategy.”

Source:ROC ,September 23, 2011;

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Expro Strengthens its Foothold in Ghana. Opens New Facility

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Leading international oilfield services company Expro has officially opened its new custom-built facility in Ghana, West Africa.

Expro has made a significant financial investment to create a world-class base for its experienced team in Ghana, highlighting its commitment to the area and demonstrating a determination to meet the needs of the market.

Expro currently operates in Takoradi with teams working on the Tullow Oil Jubilee contract, supplying deepwater electro-hydraulic subsea services, well testing and a range of other services. Expro has been involved with Tullow in Ghana from the exploration & appraisal phase of Jubilee through to the fast-track development phase.

The new site allows all project activity, including deepwater subsea tools, well testing, clean-up, sampling and PVT (pressure, volume, temperature) services, to be co-ordinated and monitored from a fully integrated facility. The bespoke 8,000m2 facility, which houses extensive workshop and office space, has been developed around ‘modular concepts’ which provide efficient work areas and can expand with greater ease, as future operations in the region dictate. This impressive site has also been designed with minimising the potential impact on the environment in mind.

West Africa has been a major focus for Expro in recent years with a number of significant contracts secured. Almost 700 people are currently working across Expro’s Southern & West Africa region, and the company is continuing to invest in people, technology and infrastructure to position itself for growth opportunities.

SWA Region Director Brett Lestrange: “Having a permanent operational base in Ghana will ensure we can offer the most efficient and effective service, as well as continuing to develop our presence in the challenging subsea deepwater environments. The Jubilee contract is an important part of our future plans in the region, and Expro’s capabilities in all aspects of well flow management mean we are well positioned as Ghana develops through 2011 and beyond.”

Recruiting and developing a local workforce plays an important part in Expro’s business in Ghana, with the company taking pride in its approach to continuing to develop a nationalised workforce. The new operational base incorporates training facilities to ensure the workforce receive the training they need to benefit them personally as well as benefiting the business.

Mr Lestrange said: “We have high expectations for the new facility. Its opening, combined with the expertise of our people and our latest technology developments, will allow us to continue to deliver to the highest standards for our customers at this exciting period for the region.”

Original Article

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