By Timothy Sibasi, firstname.lastname@example.org
KAMPALA – With key infrastructure like refinery, pipelines and storage facilities still yet to come onboard ahead of the much anticipated oil production date of 2020, the company’s first revenue generating asset has no connection to the oil in the Albertine region but rather a facility that was set up in the 1970s.
UNOC has officially taken over management and operation of the 30 million-capacity Jinja Storage Terminal. Handed over to the company in May this year, the terminal was refurbished in time to be in use by the time Kenya went to the August poll.
Eager to avoid a repeat of what happened ten years after post-election violence in Kenya, when Uganda was hit by fuel shortages, UNOC moved to prepare adequately this time round, and Frank Nagimesi, a board member with the company was impressed.
“I’m happy to report that by the time the presidential elections in Kenya took place, the facility had 10 million liters of petroleum,” he said at the official hand-over of the facility to UNOC on Friday in Jinja.
Today, the facility holds 15 million liters of petroleum in reserves.
The terminal is being operated in a joint venture with private firm, One petroleum. The storage facility has endured a tumultuous past after its establishment in the 1970s.
The reserve was used inconsistently and erratically for much of its existence. In fact, by 2007, it had been abandoned, until government tried to get a private partner to revamp it. Plans to revamp the reserve had stalled over controversies over the bidding procedure since 2008. Eventually, Hared petroleum took the deal in 2012, but did not last long too.
The lack of reliable national fuel reserves has often left Uganda at the mercy of stock outs.
Established by the Petroleum (Exploration, Development and Production) Act 2013, the Uganda National Oil Company (UNOC) is responsible for handling the country’s commercial interests in the oil and gas industry. Shareholding of the company is held fully by government.
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