Gov’t, civil society, industry players in oil and gas to convene second joint CSO conference

The Petroleum Authority of Uganda (PAU), in partnership with the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development (MEMD) and key industry players (Total Energies, CNOOC Uganda Ltd, Uganda National Oil Company and EACOP Ltd), and the Civil Society Coalition on Oil and Gas will host the Second Annual Joint CSO Conference on oil and gas.

The conference is scheduled to take place on 18th June 2024. This conference aims to create a unified roadmap for implementing Uganda’s energy transition plan, emphasising the importance of building consensus in the sector’s development.

The primary goal of the second Joint CSO Conference is to discuss Uganda’s energy transition strategy and the critical role the oil and gas sector will play in achieving these objectives. The conference will provide a platform for CSOs and NGOs to share their perspectives and experiences, facilitating a mutual understanding among government entities, the oil companies, and civil society. This dialogue is expected to generate balanced views and collaborative solutions moving forward.

Uganda’s oil and gas sector has made significant strides, notably following the signing of key agreements for the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) in April 2021 and the announcement of the Final Investment Decision (FID) for the upstream and midstream oil and gas projects in February 2022. These developments have led to substantial investments and created numerous employment opportunities, business contracts, and service payments, benefiting Ugandan citizens.

The Government of Uganda unveiled its Energy Transition Plan during COP28 in December 2023 in Dubai. The plan’s key objectives include establishing an energy system to support Uganda’s rapid economic growth, providing universal access to electricity and clean cooking in line with SDG7, and laying the groundwork for an Integrated Energy Resource Plan. Additionally, the plan aims to engage international stakeholders on Uganda’s energy needs concerning development, energy security, affordability, and greenhouse gas emissions reduction. It also seeks to unlock financing within the context of Just Energy Transition Partnerships (JETP).

CSOs and other stakeholders have a vested interest in Uganda’s energy transition and have conducted various studies on the subject. There are diverse views on balancing energy transition efforts with the exploitation of hydrocarbon resources. Uganda’s oil and gas sector is poised to play a crucial role in ensuring a just transition, with the generated value being reinvested in cleaner technologies and socio-economic benefits. Building a durable consensus on the appropriate transition process, which includes the exploitation of Uganda’s oil and gas resources as outlined in the energy transition plan, is essential. This can be achieved through productive debates between government entities, IOCs, and civil society actors.

The first national conference, held in May 2023 as a pre-event to the 10th East African Petroleum Conference and Exhibition (EAPCE) at the Serena Hotel in Kampala, was successful. Participants agreed on the need for regular engagement and dialogue on strategic issues. The upcoming conference will continue this dialogue, offering a platform for balanced discussions between government entities and CSOs/NGOs, and fostering trustful and lasting relationships with the civil society community.

This conference promises to be a significant step towards achieving a balanced and inclusive approach to Uganda’s energy transition.

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