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    Found this article looking for Hardman news from the Uganda area and if the wishes of the Energy Minister for Uganda, Syda Bbumba, come true there'll be plenty of "Gumboot" dancing in the streets.

    Monday, April 7, 2003

    Hope Mixed With Fear as
    Uganda Strikes Oil
    THE FIGHTING and bloodshed in Africa's other oil-producing countries has made some Ugandans apprehensive over the news that preliminary results show that Uganda has huge petroleum deposits.

    A senior economist in the Ministry of Finance told The EastAfrican that the situation in Angola, Sudan and the sporadic fighting in Nigeria had a lot to do with their natural resources endowment.

    "Sierra Leone is politically mainly because of its natural resources. Congo is in that situation because of its resources, too," said Keith Muhakanizi, Economic Director in the Finance Ministry.

    The Ministry of Energy said last week that preliminary results from trial drilling found deposits estimated at billions of barrels along the western arm of the Rift Valley in the Semliki area.

    Energy Minister Syda Bbumba said the deposits would be quantified after another trial exploration to be undertaken between May and August.

    According to a statement by a joint venture composed of Canadian and South African firms, the well – which was drilled to 2,487 metres – had revealed the presence of methane, higher order gases and oil.

    "It is good news if the quantities make economic sense. It is a boom, but this depends to how it is managed, which is why I would say it is not 100 per cent good news," the economic director said.

    His main concerns were that such natural resources found in other countries had been a source of instability. Political analysts argue that the absence of competitive politics is an ideal condition for turning the findings into a disaster.

    Other economists, however, say that if the oil does not create conflicts, Uganda could become an economic giant.

    "Even if one billion barrels of oil were proved, that means no less than $10 billion in revenue for Uganda, a sum that can make a big difference to a country that has an estimated $4 billion in foreign debt," said an economist in the Ministry of Finance.

    A joint venture of Energy Africa of South Africa and Heritage Oil Corporation, a Canadian company, has been prospecting for oil in the Semliki Valley around the Lake Albert area.



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