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‘No Petroleum, No Revenues for Development’ Bateebe Tells Civil Society :: Uganda Radionetwork

‘No Petroleum, No Revenues for Development’ Bateebe Tells Civil Society

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The government estimates that the petroleum sector has capacity to generate between 2 to 2.5 billion dollars per year for the next twenty years. Bateebe said Uganda requires about $25 billion to finance renewable energy sources from hydropower, wind, , geothermal, solar and nuclear power plants.
19 Jun 2024 21:38
Engieer Irene Bateebe speaking at theScond Annual Joint CSO Confrence at Mestil Hotel in Kampala

Audio 4

Civil society actors in the Energy sector have been asked to join the government’s effort to develop Uganda oil including the East African crude oil Pipeline.   

The ongoing development of the oil infrastructure in the Albertine Graben has been resisted by some NGOs in Uganda and abroad over environment and climate-related concerns.

East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP), one of the largest and most controversial fossil fuel projects currently under development. Some Ugandans have joined international campaigners in effort to stop its construction under the STOPEACOP campaign.

However, The Energy Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Engineer Irene Bateebe says other than fight the project; Ugandans should support its development because of its long-term contribution the country energy security. The 1,443km (897-mile) pipeline will stretch from oil fields in the Albertine Uganda to the port of Tanga in eastern Tanzania. 

Anti-EACOP campaigners have claimed that project’s completion would not only contribute to increased greenhouse gas emissions which fuel climate change but also harm local communities. 

The government and EACOP developers have roundly dismissed the claims that intensified when the global debate on Energy Transition intensified.

EACOP Deputy Managing Director , John Bosco Habumugisha told the conference that the crud oil pipeline is an enabler infrastructure that should put Uganda's oil on the international market.

"So that we can make money , and bring money and develop the people in an environmental sustainable manner. I can tell you that ECAOP is a project of the people, being done by the people for the sake of the people," said Habumugisha.

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Habumugisha said when they are routing the project from Uganda to the port of Tanga in Tanzania, they have ensured that the environment is protected. 

“On the issue of the carbon foot print, we all know that EACOP is a transport system. The only thing we have had to address is which kind of power we are going to use to pump oil” he said. Plans have been put in place to have a mix of power in pumping the oil from Ugandan to Tanzania. Habumugisha said on the Ugandan side they will use hydro electricity, while in Tanzania, solar will power some of the sections.   

"I'm sure that people of NEMA if you are here, you can attest to that. That the environment ans social impact assessments ensured that EACOP is a project that complies with not only local but alos international requirements," he stated.     

Bateebe told Second Annual Joint CSO Conference on oil and gas that Uganda had always been on the right track when it comes to the energy transition.

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“Fifty two thousand megawatts come with significant investments. And the role of the petroleum sector to support this evolution will be key to ensure that we achieve this energy transition that we are all shouting about,” she added “We keep saying stop this but again say transit. How do we transit? We need petroleum revenues”   

According to the latest Uganda Energy Policy Uganda requires about $25 billion to finance renewable energy sources from hydropower, wind, , geothermal, solar and nuclear power plants. Uganda has spent over two billion dollars over the last two decades to drive the electricity access rates now estimated at 57%. 

“That is two years and it has not been easy to mobilize financing. It has taken significant negotiation. Certain tradeoff by the government in terms of return on investments for investments in the distribution among others,” Bateebe revealed.

The government estimates that the petroleum sector has capacity to generate between 2 to 2.5 billion dollars per year for the next twenty years.

“When we are talking about leapfrogging in the Energy sector you cannot leapfrog without investing. So we believe that out petroleum industry will help us to leapfrog,” Bateebe told the conference participants.  Uganda needs about $9 billion to deploy its initial 2000 megawatts from the planned nuclear power plant.    

The conference under the theme Building Consensus on Uganda’s Energy Transition Plans attracted civil society actor from the national and local levels including those from Bunyoro. 

It was part of the aspiration by the government to collaborate with the civil society for the sustainable development of Uganda’s oil and gas sector. 

The Oil and gas policy of 2008 the role of the civil society in the oil and gas sector. Therefore, Bateebe suggested that “Apart from this whole discussion of Stop EACOP, stop fossil fuels we want to drum up civil society to understand the areal problem. The real problem is not EACOP,” 

She said statistics from her Ministry indicate that at least 57% of the households in Uganda do not have access to sources of electricity. “Meaning that the bulk of us are depending on rudimentary biomass. 

About 80% of our populations is burning fuel wood and charcoal,” Quoting the NEMA report of 2022, Bateebe said Uganda is losing about 2.3 billion dollars cumulatively as wells as losing the forest cover as Uganda use wood biomass for cooking. 

According the report by NEMA, Uganda could lose all its forest cover in 25 years if the current biomass is not addressed. “So instead of focusing on Stop EACOP, we should be working together to solve this danger that will off course affect all of us” she suggested

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She said the real problem is how to support the woman with baby on her back from using polluting wood biomass to transition to cleaner cooking energy sources.

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), four out of five African families currently rely on primitive charcoal or firewood cooking stoves to prepare their meals, leaving 70% of the population without clean cooking fuels. 

Uganda has insisted on harnessing its oil and gas resources towards achieving it energy requirements as outlined in the Energy Transition Plan, which was launched last December on the sidelines of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP28) Five pillars underpin Uganda’s Energy transition plan. 

They include achieving Universal Access as per goal seven (07) of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) about access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all. The plan also seeks to modernize and diversify Uganda’s Energy mix, ensure secure and affordable energy supply, mitigate Uganda’s energy emissions and to position Uganda as an energy hub for the EAC region.

“The key drivers for this energy transition plan that speaks into our development in 2040 is largely our growing population and therefore our economic development,” said Bateebe.   

Uganda, though its Lake Albert Development’s Tilenga and King Fisher oil and gas plans to produce Liquefied Petroleum Gas(LPG) totaling about 100,000 tonnes per day. 

TotalEnergies’ Tilenga project is expected to produce 80,000 tonnes per day while CNOOC’s King Fisher will produce 20,000 tonnes per day. It is also planned that when the refinery is up and running, it should be able to produce about 200,000 tonnes of LPG per day. 

“We will support many of these household that continue to use these dangerous options,” promised Bateebe. Under the Energy Transition plan, the government promises to put in place a cleaning cooking tariff as part of the effort to eliminate dependence on rudimentary bio energy.  

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