MPs question oil firms over petroleum documents  

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MPs on the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) are asking for exploration reports from licensed oil companies in the Albertine Graben.

Officials from the Petroleum Authority of Uganda are under pressure to prevail upon oil companies that are yet to produce reports on their field exploration activities.

The Public Accounts Committee, in response to a query from the Auditor General’s 2016/2017 report on the non-compliance, want the authority’s Executive Director, Ernest Rubondo, to enforce adherence.

The Auditor General, in his report, noted that the companies are flouting Section 148 of the Petroleum Exploration, Development and Production Act, which requires companies to produce reports on “…geological, geochemical and geophysical work carried out, including a summary of drilling activities.”

MP Dononzio Kahonda (NRM, Ruhinda) said the officials lack control over the companies.

“From the submissions here, it seems the Ministry is not in charge; the Executive Director has issues with [obtaining] petroleum documents, which they should clarify,” said Kahonda.

Ernest Rubondo, the Executive Director Petroleum Authority of Uganda, said the documents are available, and that it is an oversight on the part of the Auditor General not to have seen them.

“I would request that this Committee believes that the reports were there…the reports were submitted. It is possible that the colleagues could just have missed out on the documents,” said Rubondo.

The officials from the separate entities could not agree on whether the documents were submitted, prompting Osegge to order harmonization, maintaining that the report must be submitted.

In January, MP Cecilia Ogwal (FDC, Dokolo District) raised eyebrows in Parliament when she claimed there are suspicious movements of vehicles said to be transporting oil drilled from the exploration sites.

Rising on a matter of national importance, Ogwal said oil was being sold informally, prompting Parliament to ask the Committee on Natural Resources to visit the sites and investigate the claims.

Energy Minister Irene Muloni, however, was quick in dismissing the allegations, saying the oil so far drilled was meant for carrying out scientific tests.

Muloni said the oil is to be publicly auctioned, and that a notice to that effect had already been published by the Ministry.

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