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Jobs in Uganda’s Oil and Gas Sector surge to over 13000

Uganda's oil and gas sector is experiencing a period of rapid growth, fueled by the approaching first oil production target in 2025.

Energy Ministry Permanent Secretary, Irene Batebe

This translates to a significant boost in employment opportunities for Ugandans, with the current number of 13,607 expected to climb even higher.

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Energy Ministry Permanent Secretary, Irene Batebe, highlighted the positive trend in a recent speech.

By the end of March 2024, employment in the sector (oil and gas) stood at 13,607 with over 90% being Ugandans,” said Energy Ministry Permanent Secretary, Irene Batebe.

Throughout the year 2023, employment within the Oil and Gas Sector experienced a positive trajectory, witnessing an increase from 12,949 employees in Quarter One to 13,067 in Quarter Four, with a peak of 13,819 by the end of June,” she added.

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A key driver of this job creation is Uganda's national content laws.

These regulations aim to ensure maximum participation from Ugandan companies and citizens in the oil and gas sector.

To qualify as a Ugandan company, a minimum of 70% of the workforce must be Ugandan nationals, with exceptions granted only if skilled personnel cannot be found domestically.

Additionally, specific quotas are mandated for Ugandan representation in management (20-30%), technical positions (30-40%), and support roles (95%). The Petroleum Authority of Uganda closely monitors these figures, anticipating even higher Ugandan participation within the next 5-10 years.

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Batebe elaborated on the diverse employment landscape: "The sector offers direct employment with the oil companies themselves, but also generates a substantial number of jobs through contractors and subcontractors. Notably, there's a strong emphasis on recruiting Ugandan nationals for these positions."

Local communities are also benefiting, with over 4,500 people finding employment within the oil and gas sector by the end of March 2024.

Uganda boasts an estimated 6.5 billion barrels of oil reserves, with recoverable volumes ranging from 1.4 to 1.8 billion barrels. It's important to note that only 15% of the potential exploration area has been licensed so far, paving the way for a future licensing round by the Ministry.

Investing in Ugandan human capital is another crucial aspect of the development strategy. Batebe emphasized the significant training initiatives undertaken by both oil companies and contractors.

"In 2023 alone," she revealed, "over $6 million was dedicated to training Ugandans in various disciplines, resulting in more than 417,000 man-hours of training delivered."

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Public sector officials are also included in these efforts, with over 50 individuals receiving sponsored training programs and nearly 1,000 Ugandans benefiting from internships and specialized training opportunities.

The national content regulations encompass all entities involved in the oil and gas sector, including licensees, operators, developers, contractors, and subcontractors. Licensees hold the responsibility of ensuring their contractors and subcontractors have national content plans that comply with the legal requirements.

With a projected total investment of $20 billion before first oil production, Uganda's oil and gas sector has transitioned into the development phase. This massive investment focuses on building the infrastructure needed to extract oil from discovered fields, establish facilities for commercialization (refineries and pipelines), and develop supporting infrastructure like roads and a second international airport.

Batebe identified two key opportunities arising from these investments. The first is national content, which prioritizes the participation of Ugandan companies and citizens in supplying goods and services required for the oil and gas sector.

The second opportunity lies in fostering linkages with other sectors of the Ugandan economy. This means that the growth in oil and gas will have a ripple effect, stimulating economic activity in various industries throughout the country.

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