UNOC CEO Josephine Wapakhabulo features at 2018 Bloomberg New Economy Forum in Singapore

Uganda National Oil Company (UNOC), Dr. Josephine Wapakhabulo has today Tuesday reaffirmed government’s commitment to developing the much needed capacity and human resource to maximally exploit available opportunities as the country prepares for oil production in the next few years. 

“While it’s hard to live up to the standards set by big oil and gas players that come into Uganda with big budgets in terms of matching employee salaries, UNOC still remains the only oil and gas company in Uganda with 100 percent Ugandan workforce,” said Josephine. 

The UNOC chief today joined Darren W. Woods, Chairman and CEO of ExxonMobil, Dr. Sultan Al Jaber Minister of State, United Arab Emirates and CEO of Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) and Mr. Aliko Dangote the President and Chief Executive, Dangote Industries Limited on a panel to discuss “Energy Challenges in the New Economy”.

This panel discussion was part of the ongoing Bloomberg New Economy Forum in Singapore.

Established in 2018, the global event’s high level participants bring a range of valuable and essential perspectives from various parts of the world including the Asia-Pacific region, Africa and South America. 

This summit brought together global leaders such as Henry A. Kissinger, World Bank Executives, Janet Yellen, Former Chair of the U.S. Federal Reserve Board of Governors and Bill Gates among others. 

Dr Josephine discussing Uganda’s oil journey

When asked what measures UNOC was putting in place to conserve the environment, she revealed Uganda signed the Paris accord, an agreement within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, dealing with greenhouse-gas-emissions mitigation, adaptation and finance. 

She said Uganda has a “zero-gas-flaring policy that will be strictly adhered to during oil and gas production operations,” adding,  much as “Uganda is driven by a desire to industrialize as quickly as possible, cleaner energy options will be considered.”


She emphasised: “We also adhere very strongly to the IFC Performance Standards which help clients manage and improve their environmental and social performance through an outcomes-based approach and provides a solid base from which clients may increase the sustainability of their business operations.”

Dr. Josephine further mentioned that Uganda’s energy mix constitutes of 90% bio-mass energy, which is not a sustainable form of energy  considering the population is expected to increase from the current 40m to about 54m by 2035.

Uganda plans to reduce the biomass energy use to sustainable levels from the highs of 80-90% to under 50% by 2040.

The government is currently promoting substitution of bio-mass with LPG and solar energy to reduce dependency on bio-mass. 

Dr Josephine said the Refinery project will play a major role in this process.

In Africa, the growth of motorcycles is extremely high with an average of over 17% per year for the past ten years, surpassing passenger cars.

Uganda has the highest growth of motorcycles of any country in the world, with the densest fleet in Africa. 

The event saw experts discuss oil infrastructure development

Currently, the density of motor cycles is at 9units/1000 people. Imports stand at an average of 7,000 units per month.

Government says there is a plan to introduce cleaner and electric mobility. 

The strategy is to begin by greening motor cycles and this was launched in October 2018. 

The objective is to have at least 30% of all new motorcycle sales to be electric by 2020. 

This should be able to achieve a complete switchover from internal combustion to electric cycles by 2030.

Greening of the motor cycles is to be used as a stepping stone to further electrification of the transport sector in the country and the region.

The plan for clean mobility for the African continent was launched in May 2018 in Nairobi Kenya, with the support of the UN Environment.

Experts hope the change in the economic structure (industrialization and economic growth being pursued) and the population trends (rural-urban structures), will change the final energy demand structure.

In the meantime, energy demand is projected to increase by (5.4X) times while Biomass use will reduce from 88% to below 50%.

Electricity in the final energy demand is expected to increase from the current 2% to about 10%. 

Motor fuels will however increase from the current 27% to about 35%. 

The event attracted global business leaders

Therefore, officials say, the traditional fuels dominancy will reduce. 

The Energy mix will significantly include Fossil fuels and solar.

The UNOC as an oil company therefore has long term sustainable business in the oil sector in the country and region.

Renewable energy 

Dr. Sultan Al Jaber when asked the same question, said ADNOC has over its 50 years of existence been able to forge ways to ensure that renewable energy works alongside conventional energy to prevent harming the environment. 

ADNOC has also embraced technology and partnered with other players that are conscious about mitigating climate change. He mentioned that ADNOC has established industrial carbon capture, from which the captured carbon dioxide is injected to enhance oil recovery.

Darren W. Woods, Chairman and CEO of ExxonMobil, when asked to advise on employee retention methods, emphasized the need to give employees global opportunities, let employees make contributions to the progress of the company and recognize them for their contribution.

The President and Chief Executive, Dangote Industries Limited Mr. Aliko Dangote stated that they were in discussions with SABIC Industries a global leader in diversified chemicals, to establish an integrated refinery that will be developed to produce petrochemicals and fertilizers along with the traditional oil refinery products like gasoline and diesel. 

The reason for partnering with SABIC is that they have a massive R&D, he emphasized the need to train personnel and mentioned that they were in the process of creating two gas pipelines of about 50Km to carry 30 million barrels of gas. 

He said the refinery under construction will produce products of Euro 5 spec as opposed to the substandard Euro 3 of most countries, thereby reducing on emissions. 

There is currently no solar plant in Nigeria but plans are underway to build a 100mw solar plant soon.

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