Kampala: The Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Petroleum Authority of Uganda (PAU) aimed at strengthening the collaboration between UNBS and PAU in the development and implementation of standards for the oil and gas sector in Uganda.
The Executive Director, Petroleum Authority of Uganda, Mr. Ernest Rubondo, acknowledged that the development and implementation of quality standards in the oil and gas sector are very critical given the level of investment expected from the oil and gas sector and the sectors’ potential to contribute to the transformation of Uganda’s economy.
Mr. Rubondo further revealed that between USD 15-20 billion is expected to be invested over the next three to five years, mainly through putting in place the infrastructure required for production and commercialization of the discovered resources.
According to the MOU, the Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) will provide guidance on internationally recognized practices, procedures, and guidelines on the development of standards-related deliverables.
UNBS shall also participate in national certification, testing, verification, and inspection of goods, equipment, and related processes and provide testing and conformity assessment services in line with developed national standards for the betterment of the sector.
UNBS shall also design promotional activities for standards in the petroleum sector and provide stakeholder training in standards and conformity assessment in the petroleum sector.
However, the UNBS Ag. ED Mr. David Livingstone Ebiru urged the Petroleum Authority of Uganda to ensure that the oil and gas sector forms associations so that UNBS’ interventions are purposeful and intentional to help the sector meet the minimum standards to compete globally adding that the sector to be forthcoming in pointing out areas where new standards can be developed since they are demand-driven.
In the same vein, Petroleum Authority Executive Director, Earnest Rubondo said that it is crucial that Uganda adheres to standards if it is to gain more from oil and gas developments in the Albertine Graben.
This partnership comes at the time when Uganda’s oil and gas activities have shifted from exploration to development stage and some of the international oil companies are currently engaged in oil field development while others are engaged in building infrastructure for the commercialization of Uganda’s oil and gas finds.
According to Rubondo, huge financial resources are expected in the coming years, and that Ugandans should be prepared to meet the world standards.
”The commercialization phase involves among others the purchase of some of the equipment needed to have oil out of the ground adding that such equipment is normally purchased by the oil companies, the authority has to ensure that they meet international standards. Costs for the purchase of such equipment are recovered by the oil companies when oil production commences,” Rubondo said.
Ebiru further noted that while the oil and gas sector presents new opportunities for Uganda, the players in the sector must strictly adhere to standards adding that with the memorandum of understanding, they should be able to focus their interventions on the respective actors in the sector.
He said manufacturers wishing to earn from the oil and gas sector in Uganda need to ensure that they strive to meet the internationally accepted standards. The UNBS according to Ebiru will work with local suppliers to ensure that they meet the standards.