Government Finally Tables Oil Bill

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In short
Government has finally tabled the long awaited bill seeking to regulate the oil and gas sector. Kamanda Bataringaya, the Minister of State in charge of Minerals tabled the Petroleum (Exploration, Development and Production) Bill 2012 on Wednesday.

Government has finally tabled the long awaited bill seeking to regulate the oil and gas sector.

Kamanda Bataringaya, the Minister of State in charge of Minerals tabled the Petroleum (Exploration, Development and Production) Bill 2012 on Wednesday.

Along with the bill, the Minister presented the certificate of financial implication. The more than 200 pages of the bill are now going to be scrutinized by parliament before it is passed in to law.

Bataringaya told parliament that for the purpose of the published policy on National Oil and Gas, government has found it necessary that two bills should be prepared to be passed by parliament to give effect on the policy.

But the second bill, the Petroleum (Refining, Gas processing, conversion, transportation and storage) bill 2012 was not tabled before parliament on Wednesday. The Deputy Leader of government business, Gen. Moses Ali says that the bill will be tabled later.

The objectives of the Petroleum (Exploration, Development and Production) bill 2012 include regulating petroleum exploration, development and production.

It also seeks to establish the Petroleum Authority of Uganda as well as provide for a National oil company.

The proposed law will also regulate the licensing and participation of commercial entities in petroleum activities and provide an open, transparent and competitive process of licensing. It seeks to create conducive environment for the promotion and exploration of Uganda’s petroleum potential.

The minister said the existing law is obsolete and no longer adequate to handle the sector given the new and emerging challenges created by the discovery of commercial oil in Uganda. Besides, the 2008 oil and gas policy requires new legislation in order to operatinlise it.

Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga told MPs that the bill needs to be handled expeditiously. She also promised legislators to organize a seminar on oil and gas on a date to be communicated.

The Deputy leader of government business, Moses Ali said this is part of government’s commitment to observe parliamentary resolutions that were passed in October last year. He explained that it was not possible for government to bring the bills within 30 days as requested by parliament. The complexity of the oil and gas sector necessitated the delay of the bill. MPs have been criticising government for disregarding the parliamentary resolutions and signing new oil agreements with Tullow Oil Uganda. On Monday, President Yoweri Museveni said he personally ordered the minister of energy to sign the agreements.