Kigali, March 5, 2015

East African Petroleum Conference opens in Kigali, Rwanda

The 7th East African Petroleum Conference and Exhibition has officially opened at the Kigali Serena Hotel in Kigali, Rwanda.

The three-day conference which is held biennially was officially opened by Rwandan Prime Minister Anastase Murekezi.

Speaking at the event, Prime Minister Murekezi called for closer cooperation between the East African Community Partner States in the development of the region’s nascent oil and gas sector.

Murekezi said cooperation between the Partner States was the surest way to develop the region’s enormous energy and natural resources.

Murekezi said the collaboration should focus on petroleum exploration, production, refining, storage and pipeline development for product transportation.

“It is only through taking up a bold regional approach that EAC can develop the infrastructure that a single country cannot afford as they require lots of money,” said the PM.

“Our dream is seeing in East Africa, a vibrant economy that will eventually be exporting refined petroleum products to the world market, not just raw crude, and we must bemotivated to achieve this,” he added.

The PM said the EAC’s dream of developing the oil and gas sector can be efficiently realized if Partner States adopt new technologies that will produce energy in a more environmentally friendly and sustainable way.

Murekezi singled out the enabling environment for business and investment that the EAC has set up as one of the tools that would facilitate the growth of the oil and gas business in the region.

“The EAC has established a Customs Union and Common Market to facilitate free movement of goods among the EAC Partner States. This is supported by an ambitious infrastructure development programme in ICT, roads, railways and energy. Rationalization and technological improvements in cargo weigh bridges, reduction of police road blocks and introduction of OneStopBorder Posts are contributing to faster and cheaper delivery of goods from source to destination,” he said.

“In addition, the dwell time at the Ports of Mombasa and Dar es Salaam that have dropped from 20 days to an average of 5.7 days and transit cargo to Kigali that was reduced from 21days to between five and seven days will also help to boost the oil and gas sector.”

He said the EAC was committed to the development of infrastructure and energy, adding that plans were in place to link all the EAC Partner States with oil products pipelines that will facilitate access to the oil resources discovered in the region as well as imports from the international market.

Murekezi disclosed that prequalification of contractors for the construction of Eldoret-Kampala-Kigali pipeline had been completed.

“Preparatory work for extending the project to Bujumbura is set to commence soon following the securing of funding for feasibility studies for the Kigali-Bujumbura section. This oil pipeline network will be linked to the United Republic of Tanzania from a hub in Mbarara (Uganda) with a pipeline to Mwanza, Isaka and finally to Dar es Salaam,” he said.

In his welcoming remarks, EAC Secretary General, Dr Richard Sezibera, said the African continent and East Africa in particular was at the threshold of a promising petroleum industry. Sezibera said that six of the 10 biggest oil and gas finds in the last decade have been in Africa, with approximately 130 billion barrels of crude oil waiting to be tapped by more than 500 companies.

“Today, a number of investors have billed East Africa as the world’s most promising frontier for oil and gas exploration for the past 10 years and there is good reason for their optimism: 2.3bn barrels of recoverable oil have been discovered in Uganda and Kenya and more than 50 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in Tanzania. There are exciting signs of oil and gas in Burundi and Rwanda,” said the Secretary General.

The SG said the EAC would only reap maximum benefits from its petroleum industry if it invested in state-of-the-art technology in oil exploration and exploitation.

“This Conference is about Petroleum discovery and recovery. But it is also about technology. From the “rock bit” of 1908 that allowed drilling deep wells, to today’s Computer Aided Visualization, 3 D and precision all directional drilling, oil has always been a technologically driven enterprise. East Africa can only compete in this, as in many other areas, if the requisite investments in research and technology are made,” said Seziberas.

The theme of this year’s conference and exhibition is “East African Region – Proven Destination for Regional Energy Sufficiency and Lasting Socio-Economic Development.”

Participants at the conference cum exhibition include oil and gas exploration experts, oil exploration and marketing firms, government officials in the mining, natural resource and energy sectors as well as civil society representatives.

Simon Peter Owaka,

Chief Public Communications Officer


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