The Oil for Development programme in Uganda

Although the quest for oil in Uganda dates back to the 1920s, the first commercially viable discoveries were not made until 2006. Norway has assisted Uganda in developing its petroleum sector since the 1980s.

Although the quest for oil in Uganda dates back to the 1920s, commercially viable discoveries were first made in 2006. Proven reserves currently stand at 6.5 billion barrels of oil in place and 500bcf of gas. 1.4 billion barrels are estimated to be recoverable.

The discovery of several significant reserves has ushered in a new chapter in Uganda’s development and generated renewed interest in the petroleum potential of the country.

Norway has assisted Uganda in developing the country’s petroleum sector since the 1980s. In December 2014, an extensive five-year cooperation programme covering resource management, environmental management and revenue management ended.

The end-review of the programme pointed to significant achievements in establishing a framework for the management of the Ugandan petroleum sector.

A new programme agreement was signed in May 2015, establishing a new three-year phase of cooperation with the Government of Uganda. 

Key achievements 2016

Enhanced legal and regulatory framework:

  • A new Environment Management Act and Petroleum Waste Regulations were finalized. The legal and regulatory work was done by a team headed by the National Environment Management Authority, and supported by the Norwegian Environment Agency.

  • A draft national oil spill contingency plan was developed by a working group led by the Disaster Preparedness Department of the Office of the Prime Minister, in cooperation with the National Environment Management Authority.

  • A Petroleum Fund Management Agreement was developed by the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development together with the Bank of Uganda.

Increased institutional capacity:

  • After undergoing training in evaluation of bids and negotiation skills, the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development conducted negotiations with bidders concerning the Production Sharing Agreements.

  • Eight new Production Licenses were awarded by Ugandan resource authorities. A number of capacity building activities given through the programme enhanced the authorities capability to review field development plans submitted by companies.

  • A delegation of representatives from Ugandan environmental institutions visited Ghana to learn about environment management challenges and experiences associated with on-shore oil and gas pipelines from colleagues at the Environmental Protection Agency in Ghana.

  • Key staff from the Uganda Bureau of Statistics increased their knowledge of important statistical methods, including oil investment questionnaire methodology and statistics, oil sector representation in national accounts, business register development, and data sharing for statistical purposes. This was achieved through a series of workshops with Statistics Norway.

Increased transparency and accountability:

  • The development of interactive digital content on various environmental legislation for airing on TV and radio was completed by the National Environment Management Authority, in cooperation with the Norwegian Environment Agency. The intention of this work is to bring the review of the National Environment Act and associated regulations into the public awareness.
Published 02.07.2014
Last updated 05.10.2017