Ugandans must have first priority, oil exploration firms told

GYAGENDA KABUUBI

In about three years, Uganda expects to see the first drop of oil from its Albertine oil wells.
This means that exploration companies progressing steadily towards the achievement of a final Investment which the government says must be in conformity with the national content policy.

“All work and activities must be procured openly and transparently; all jobs must be advertised for Ugandans to know and apply other than for the oil companies to pick workers from elsewhere and brought here, Ernest Rubondo, the executive director of the Petroleum Authority of Uganda said.

He was addressing journalists during the launch of training of welders for the 1,410km long the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP).

Total E&P Uganda, the lead company on the Tilenga Project is funding the training of welders at two centres in Buliisa and Lwengo districts.  The training is aimed at improving the employability of Ugandans from the Albertine region and the pipeline areas.

Welders from the Albertine districts of Nwoya, Masindi, Nebbi, Buliisa and Hoima will train from the Buliisa centre while those from the districts along the pipeline route namely, Kakumiro, Kyankwanzi, Mubende, Gomba,  Sembabule, Lwengo and Kyotera will train from Lwengo.

The training will develop a domestic pool of internationally certified welders of the American Welding Society Standard.

According to the national content policy, at least 16 employment areas in the oil sector were ring fenced for Ugandans.

“We have made it clear to the oil companies that jobs that can be done by Ugandans should be given to Ugandans and where they (Ugandans) limited capacity, they should go into joint ventures with foreign companies,” Rubondo said.

Total E&P Uganda General Manager Adewale Fayemi said, “In all its operations worldwide, Total considers national content as key for the success of its operations and Total E&P Uganda is no exception. Therefore our plan is to maximize the use of local manpower, local goods and service providers. This indeed is in line with the national content regulations.”

“Uganda’s oil and gas project is moving steadily into the development phase and a strategy has been developed to strengthen the National content potential and the ability for local companies to compete favorably,” he added.

During the development phase, a lot of technicians will be needed for the project especially fabrication works for the crude oil pipeline.

“It is therefore essential to train and certify technicians such as welders. Due to the highly technical nature of the industry, quality and safety cannot be compromised” Fayemi said.
The training will be conducted by 2 Ugandan Companies, Q-Training also known as the The Assessment and Skilling Centre (TASC) and E360 Group Ltd.

The trainers will perform technical training and certification of candidates up to 2G and 4G coded welding levels in line with the industry standards and health, Safety and environment training among others.