AFRICANGLOBE – Uganda’s Energy minister Irene Muloni says the country will start refining oil in the next three years.
Muloni said this after parliament passed a new law on petroleum refining, gas processing and conversion, transportation and storage on Thursday.
“If the President assents to the law then Ugandans will expect the first production in three or four years to come,” she said.
The proposed new law will tackle main stream activities, including processing petroleum and gas, in the petroleum industry.
Landlocked Uganda, which imports fuel through Kenya, spends a lot of money transporting the commodity and the setting up of refinery will help cut down on costs.
But some legislators, mainly from the opposition, are opposed to the construction of a refinery arguing that the project would not be economically viable.
Shadow attorney general Abdul Katuntu said one refinery for the entire east Africa region was ideal following the recent discovery of oil in Kenya alongside the already existing oil fields in South Sudan.
But Muloni said the east African countries agreed that the refinery must be built in Uganda.
Economically viable quantities of oil were discovered in Uganda a few years ago.
Over 3.5 billion barrels of oil have been confirmed in the Albertine region and exploration for more oil is still being undertaken.
Major international oil companies exploring for oil in Uganda include Total, CNOC and Tullow.