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The East African : Mar 1st 2015
44 6.5 BARRELS OF CRUDE OIL DISCOVERED Kenya, Rwanda to request Uganda refinery shares Fou≥ EAC pa≥tne≥ states we≥e invited to subsc≥ibe to sha≥es in the plant, which should be ope≥ational in th≥ee yea≥s By KENNEDY SENELWA Special Correspondent K enya and Rwanda will present their requests for share par- ticipation in Uganda’s 60,000 barrels-a-year crude oil refinery, which should be operational by 2018. A consortium led by RT Global Resources of Russia has been selected as the preferred bidder to be lead investor for building the refinery, which will produce petroleum products for domestic consumption and export. Uganda has discovered 6.5 bil- lion barrels of oil and last year the government invited Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Burundi — as members states of East African Community — to subscribe to shares in the plant. The refinery will be built in modular form starting with 30,000 barrels before capacity is increased. “The other four EAC part- ner states have shown interest in taking up some of the public shares. Tanzania and Burundi are still reviewing the studies related to the project,” said Gloria Sebikari, senior communications officer in the Energy Ministry. She said Kenya and Rwanda, un- der the Northern Corridor Integration Projects (NCIP) are expected to formalise their interest at the next Summit to be held in March. The Summit was scheduled for mid-February in Kigali, Rwanda, but was postponed to early March. The initial two-day session of experts and other senior government officials is scheduled to start on March 4. It will be followed by ministerial deliberations on March 6 and the Heads of State Summit on March 7. Leaders from Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and South Sudan will look for ways to fast track NCIP projects. At the Summit, Kenya is expected to commit $61 million to acquire a 2.5 per cent stake in Uganda’s crude oil refinery, which will be built in Hoima district, bordering the Democratic Republic of Congo. Kenya’s Energy Principal Secre- tary Joseph Njoroge said in January that the country had made a decision to consider Uganda’s offer for shares in the refinery. “In line with the spirit of regional co-operation we committed to support each other in key infrastructure projects, so we shall support the Ugandan one. We shall take up a minimal 2.5 per cent stake in the refinery project,” said Mr Njoroge. A refined fuel pipeline will be constructed from Eldoret in western Kenya to Kampala in Uganda. The reverse flow pipeline will have the capacity to pump products either to Kampala or Eldoret depending on demand patterns. The first phase of the refinery is expected to start operating in 2018. Tullow Oil Plc, China National Offshore Oil Corporation and Total of France are expected to start oil production in the Albertine basin in western Uganda in 2018. Tullow, Total and CNOOC, who are licensed in Albertine basin, have signed an MoU with Uganda for commercialisation of discovered resources and development of the refinery. It includes use of crude to generate electricity and export of the raw fossil fuel. Uganda’s planned refinery will be built in modular form starting with 30,000 barrels. Picture: File BIDDING FOR A STAKE At the Summit, Kenya is expected to commit $61 million to acquire a 2.5 per cent stake in Uganda’s crude oil refinery, which will be built in Hoima district, bordering the Democratic Republic of Congo. A refined fuel pipeline will be constructed from Eldoret in western Kenya to Kampala in Uganda. The Uganda will conclude a maiden licensing round in October 2015 for firms to competitively bid for oil blocks. The open door policy of companies directly negotiating with the government was stopped in 2008. Energy and Mineral Develop- ment Minister Irene Muloni said Uganda had lifted the moratorium and is offering six blocks covering about 3,000 square kilometres. “We have not licensed any new acreage since 2008 in order to put in place the required legal, regulatory and institutional framework to ensure an open, efficient and reverse flow pipeline will have the capacity to pump products either to Kampala or Eldoret depending on demand patterns. Tullow Oil Plc, China National Offshore Oil Corporation and Total of France are expected to start oil production in Albertine basin of western Uganda in 2018. competitive licensing process,” she said. The areas are Turaco and Kany- wataba blocks in Ntoroko district, Ngassa acreage in Hoima district, Taitai and Karuka block in Buliisa district, Mvule acreage in Yumbe and Moyo districts, and Ngaji block in Kanungu and Rukungiri districts. “The ministry will release more detailed information on the blocks during the upcoming seventh East African Petroleum Conference and Exhibition, which will be held in Kigali, Rwanda from March 4 to 6,” said Ms Muloni. The EastAfrican BUSINESS FEBRUARY 28 - MARCH 6, 2015 Tanzania to ≥aise game pa≥k fees By ADAM IHUCHA Special Correspondent TANZANIA’S TOURISM sector is bracing for a difficult period as state-run conservation agencies intend to increase their fees despite low tourist figures. Key players in the sector said business is down by 60 per cent due to low arrivals. Nevertheless, the Tanzania National Parks Authority (Tanapa) is set to enforce its new tariffs on concession fees for hotels located within parks, while Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority (NCAA) also plans to raise its entry fees in April 2015. Tanapa plans to raise its conces- sion fee for each visitor spending a night at a hotel within its parks from $10 to $60 on average. The new tariffs were to be ef- fected in August 1, 2011, but Tanapa could not enforce them after the Hotel Association of Tanzania and Tourism Confederation of Tanzania filed a case in protest at the High Court. However, the High Court issued a verdict in favour of Tanapa in September 12, 2014, directing the state to issue a government notice to allow the parks authority to enforce the new rate. Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism Adelhelm Meru is currently in the process of issuing the notice in a bid to give Tanapa the legal power it needs to effect the new tariff. Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Lands, Natural Resources and Environment James Lembeli said both Tanapa and NCAA have been losing Tsh26.7 billion ($14.8 million) in concession fees annually between 2011 and 2014. On its part, NCAA plans to en- force the new entry fee in April. EAC citizens currently paying Tsh1,500 ($0.833), will now pay Tsh20,000 ($11.11). The entry fee for non-East African tourists will increase from $50 to $60, with the fee for each vehicle carrying them increasing from Tsh25,000 ($13.90) to Tsh150,000 ($83.30). US defends Kenya t≥avel adviso≥ies but ≥eg≥ets impact By KEVIN J KELLEY Special Correspondent THE STATE Department’s top Africa official last week defended the US warning on travel to Kenya, adding, “Any impact this has had, we truly regret.” The comments by Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Linda Thomas-Greenfield came two days after the New York Times quoted an unnamed US official in Nairobi as saying of the travel warning: “Our policy doesn’t make much sense.” The most recent warning was posted eight Tourists look at local Kenyan crafts. The country’s tourism sector has suffered losses. Picture: File months ago, partly in response to a spate of terror attacks on the Coast that killed scores of civilians. The region’s tourism industry was subsequently hit by crippling losses, with some 20,000 workers laid off. The anonymous Nairo- bi-based US official suggested in the Times story that, “The weakening of the coastal economy is aggravating the very problem we were trying to combat.” Times reporter Jeffrey Gettleman wrote, “By contributing to the collapse of the coastal tourism industry, the travel warnings may simply be increasing the joblessness, idleness, poverty, drug use and overall desperation — all well-known kindling for terrorist activity — in an already depressed slice of Kenya.” Assistant Secretary of State Thomas-Green- field rejected that view in her remarks, telling reporters, “I categorically state that our travel advisories are not contributing to people’s participation in terrorism.” She said the US government is acting on its legal obligations in warning its citizens of dangers they may face in visiting certain countries. Kenya is not being singled out, Ms Thomas-Greenfield, added, noting that the US has issued warnings and advisories regarding travel to many countries around the world. “The solution is security,” she declared. The June 19, 2014, State Department travel warning for Kenya notes that the US embassy in Nairobi has “instituted restrictions on US government personnel travel to all Coastal counties.” The Times’ February 23 story, notes that other Western nations “have formulated more nuanced travel warnings.” In contrast to the US, postings by the UK, France, Italy and Sweden are “highlighting certain hot spots without drawing a giant red X across Kenya’s entire Coast, which is about 480km long and home to millions of people,” Times journalist Gettleman wrote.
Feb 23rd 2015
Mar 9th 2015