Business and Finance
Karuhanga advises on investing in oil
Amidst the bustling activity in the oil and gas sector within the East African region, Uganda stands a high chance of becoming the regional skills and knowledge hub, but for this to happen, the government of Uganda and other stakeholders in the sector must invest significantly in imparting the necessary skills to Ugandans, Mr Elly Karuhanga, Tullow Oil Uganda president, has counselled.
Mr Karuhanga was speaking during a send-off dinner for three Ugandan student beneficiaries of Tullow Oil’s second post graduate oil and gas scholarships. The three Makerere Universtiy graduates; Rebecca Kyokwijuka, James Ecau and Jude Bwanika have been admitted to the University of Manchester to undertake post graduate degrees in petroleum geosciences specialising in reservoir development and production. This brings to seven the total number of Ugandans who have benefitted from the scholarships initiative.
“Uganda is some years ahead of Kenya and Tanzania in the oil and gas sector. Now is our opportunity to train enough skilled Ugandans in the business such that when Kenya and Tanzania are ready for production, Uganda will be the source of the much-needed skills. But for this to happen, there must be a deliberate and strategic effort to pump money and resources into this huge opportunity,” Mr Karuhanga said.
Mr Karuhanga argued that even though, some initiatives like scholarships and on the job training, had been made, this was a drop in the ocean, too expensive and unsustainable.
“It costs $60,000 to train one person in a European university yet if done locally, this money can train about 10 people. A sustainable solution is working with local universities as well as the Petroleum Institute in Kigumba to offer these courses locally to even many more Ugandans,” he said.
Speaking at the scholarships award press briefing, Tullow Uganda’s acting General Manager, Michael Gaughan, said Tullow was proud to play a role in the shaping of Ugandan skills ahead of the start of the production phase.
“We are committed to working with all stakeholders, to shape Uganda’s potential in oil and gas as well as the future of Uganda as a nation. We intend to offer more opportunities such as the scholarships programme to promote capacity development of more Ugandans in oil and gas,” he said.
He said that the Tullow Uganda Oil and Gas scholarship scheme was established with the aim to build capacity of Uganda Nationals to support and participate in the early phases of oil production as the business supplements government’s efforts to build long term training capability for Oil and Gas skills in Uganda. The scholarships mainly target brilliant but less privileged Ugandan students who cannot afford post graduate education in Oil and Gas in leading universities in the UK. Each scholarship, worth $60,000 (Shs162 million) covers the beneficiaries’ full tuition fees, return international airfares and living expenses.
“As a responsible organisation, Tullow Oil focuses on making a valuable contribution in the development of our nation and will continue to undertake various initiatives that will support empowerment of Ugandans in leading the growth of the oil and gas sector and creating shared prosperity for all,” he added.