UCMP Kingfisher trip raises information concerns
In their quest to participate in the promising oil and gas industry, members of Uganda Chamber of Mines and Petroleum (UCMP) recently visited Kingfisher Development Area managed by Chinese exploration company China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) to get firsthand information of the industry trends and how they can partake in its development.
The members described the trip as a success but noted that oil companies and government should provide more information to help them prepare and improve as they ready for the development and production stages of the industry.
“There is a lot of talk about the need for certified welders for one but we never get the details. For instance, what level of training will be required of locally trained welders and which ones will need more skilling? Such detail will help us prepare better and give us a higher chance of success,” Harald van Aubel, Director of Operations at Fabrication Systems (U) Ltd.
Adding: “Let them give the local companies a list of products and services that will be a necessity in the next three or so years so that they are ready to provide them by the time the need arises. It is all about planning.”
Fabrication Systems has already benefited from the Kingfisher operations where it has set up steel structures for the drilling platform site besides supplying steel gratings. van Aubel was excited by having to see firsthand the works his company had been involved with and also having to interact closely with other UCMP members on the itinerary – opening up more business avenues in the process.
The Kingfisher trip follows similar excursions the Chamber has organized to help its members keep abreast with developments in the petroleum and minerals industries and therefore the available business opportunities, if any.
The members visited the Kingfisher Four well which is being drilled by ZPEB, a Chinese firm that was subcontracted by CNOOC.
Huang Chuachang, the Field Operations Coordinator of the Kingfisher Development Area said it was a development well; the first highly deviated and extended well in the Albertine Region.
In the company of government officials from the Petroleum Exploration and Production Department (PEPD), UCMP members toured the residential camp and the active drilling site.
PEPD’s Michael Okello said his team’s presence was to ensure the oil firms adhere to best practices like local content objectives. Uganda is working on a national content policy which will be a guiding tool on local companies and individuals can directly or indirectly benefit from the oil and gas industry.
CNOOC got a production license in September 2013 with its joint partners Tullow and Total E&P also due to get their own later this year according to government officials.
Uganda’s oil deposits were recently put at 6.5 billion from 3.5 billion barrels following more exploration and appraisals.