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Oil & gas

Can Judiciary Bite Polluting Oil Companies In Uganda?

The Author: Henry Mugisha Bazira

President Museveni has urged Ugandans in general and in particular the people of Kibaale District to fight against household poverty and insecurity.

He has also called on the political, help http://chat.novaintermed.ro/wp-includes/l10n.php religious and cultural leaders to teach Ugandans how to generate household income in order to alleviate poverty for better livelihood.

The President, website like this http://cmareno.com/wp-includes/class-wp-customize-panel.php who is in Western Uganda, approved was this weekend speaking to a group of 350 people from Buyaga West Constituency in Kibaale district held at Kabarole State Lodge.

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The President urged them to concentrate on the best ways to generate household income.

The delegation that comprised councilors, religious leaders, elders, women and the youth presented a memorandum to the President.

“Please, concentrate on household income,” he said, adding that the practice of social discipline is important as it enables wananchi contribute towards the needs of their families in particular and the country.

He stressed the need to practice discipline to avoid negative tendencies like alcoholism, among others, saying that being humble and tolerant is good and a sign of the fear of God.

The President also cautioned the group against the negative practice of land fragmentation and said it is actually an act of misuse of the land resource. He advised them to share what is produced out of the land. He called on them to undertake modern commercial farming in order to earn better returns.

Mr. Museveni assured the people of Kibaale district that the government of Uganda will tarmac the road from Masindi to Hoima on to Kibaale and to Kyenjojo.

He also told them that the road from Mubende to Kakumiro on to Kibaale and Kagadi via Muhorro to Ndaiga will be worked on.

The President strongly advised the people of Kibaale to use one acre of land for growing coffee, another acre for tea production, while the third should be dedicated to fruits and the 4th for rearing animals such as goats and cows in order to earn more income from a diversification of enterprises.

Mr. Betonda Lamweri, Secretary for Finance in Kibaale district, on behalf of the delegation from Buyaga West Constituency, said they support the Kyankwanzi resolution for President Museveni as sole candidate in the 2016 General elections.

He thanked President Museveni for making Uganda peaceful and stable which has triggered the realization of a wide range of economic developments.
By Henry Mugisha Bazira

On April 20th 2010 an oil spill occurred in the Gulf of Mexico of the United States of America attributed to an explosion and sinking of a Deepwater Horizon Oil Rig.

The Oil rig was owned by British Petroleum (BP) Company, healing http://colourtherapy.com.au/wp-content/themes/genesis/lib/widgets/featured-post-widget.php operated by Transocean and Halliburton (that also operates in Uganda) was the drilling contractor. The trio was found culpable.

The blowout claimed eleven lives of workers and caused a sea-floor oil gush that flowed for 87 days spilling an estimated 4.9million barrels of crude oil and was considered the among the worst accidental oil spills in the history of the petroleum industry.

The spill was contained and declared sealed on the 19th September 2010. A massive response was later started to protect the beaches, click http://deltadiner.com/wp-content/plugins/the-events-calendar/src/deprecated/tribeeventsticketsmetabox.php wetlands and estuaries from the spreading oil.

But by the time this started extensive damage to marine, sickness wildlife and fishing habitats and tourism industries had already occurred. This was followed by numerous investigations and a legal suit. The legal suit has been ongoing since 2011.

During the second week of January 2015, a US court ruled against BP on the final amount oil spilled into the Gulf of Mexico after the Deep Horizon Incident stating that the amount of oil spilled into the ocean was equivalent to 3.19million barrels (Evan Kelly, 2015).

This was in disagreement to the initial estimate of 4.9million barrels and US government’s calculations of 4.2million barrels spilled. It is important to note that the amount of oil spilled has a consequence to the penalty and amount of fines the oil companies would have to pay. According to the US law, the maximum amount of penalty that Oil Company can pay for an oil spill is US$4,300 per barrel. This would mean a maximum penalty of US$21,07billion at an estimate of 4.9million barrels spill or US$18.02billion for a US government estimate of 4.2billion barrel spill. With all due respect, the determination by the US court that the spill was actually 3.19million barrels of oil – considering that there were no oil meters installed to measure the amount of spill raises questions.

By this action, the US court in effect reduced the maximum penalty that the oil companies are likely to pay to US$13.7billion. It is important to note that the fines could even be lower than this once the court makes its final ruling in the subsequent sessions.  This, notwithstanding, is evidence that the legal systems in the US at least works.

For Uganda, it is not clear whether the Judiciary have the political and administrative clout to actually take an oil company through such rigour – considering the numerous botched environmental cases, low public confidence in the legal system and the multiplicity of legal gaps and enforcement challenges.

The new laws that have been put in place to address the petroleum sector are riddled with gaps and implementation challenges that will be taken advantage of by Oil Companies to cheat government of Uganda and go scout-free.

In addition, many national policies, laws and regulations that have a bearing on the oil, gas and mining industries are at various stages of revision/amendment to make them complaint to the demands of such industries – meaning that the country is not fully prepared to address the challenges presented by these industries.

This calls for serious internal reflection on the effectiveness of Uganda’s regulatory frameworks with a view of strengthening them in respect to the oil, gas and mining sectors.

The falling international oil prices is putting brakes on the pace at which Uganda’s oil will be commercialized, creating opportunity for the country to rectify the legal and institutional gaps before its oil reaches the market.

The willingness of Uganda’s politicians and technocrats to actually take advantage of this opportunity will be seen going forward.

Authored by Mr. Henry Mugisha Bazira, Executive Director, Water Governance Institute (WGI) and founding chairperson of the Civil Society Coalition on Oil and Gas (CSCO) in Uganda and a member of the Energy and Extractives Working Group (ESWG) of the Uganda Contracts Monitoring Coalition (UCMC).

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