Resource warmongers descend on Uganda

Uganda’s Sunday Monitor brings us what is by now a familiar African story:

While not yet an oil producer, promising prospects have drawn in the usual suspects. At a dinner table to thank higher powers for the good fortune of oil in May this year, President Yoweri Museveni sat next to Heritage Oil’s Tony Buckingham. Anyone with an Internet connection will learn interesting things about Mr Buckingham. (Sunday Monitor)

As the Yorkshire Ranter notes today, Heritage Oil was involved in a recent border incident between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo in which a British geophysicist was killed.

On August 3, the Congolese army
killed British oil contractor Carl Nefdt in a pre-dawn raid on a barge
operated by Canada’s Heritage Oil Corp., one of two companies looking
to exploit oil in the wider Albertine Graben. The Congolese claimed the barge was on their side of the lake. The Ugandans say that is not true. (

According to the Monitor, the episode hasn’t done Heritage’s interests in the region any harm at all.

After the Uganda-DRC standoff, Heritage appears to have emerged stronger. Sources say it is now getting better cooperation from Joseph Kabila’s government (in the face of threats by Uganda to re-enter). Before this, Heritage had made it publicly known that Kinshasa was at best dilly dallying about activating the exploration concession agreement it signed with Kinshasa. Think about this.

However, If Uganda’s sabre-rattling has paid off for Heritage, why has it’s main partner in the Lake Albert area, Ireland’s Tullow Oil, had a contract cancelled by the Congolese government?

Tullow Oil Plc’s exploration contract
in the Democratic Republic of Congo will be canceled after the
government found irregularities in the agreement, said
Hydrocarbons Minister Lambert Mende. Tullow’s stock fell.         

Tullow said the agreement was valid and legally binding and
offered to double its signing bonus as a gesture of goodwill. The
London-based company and Canadian partner, Heritage Oil Corp.,
have been awaiting a decree from Congo’s President Joseph Kabila
to allow them to start drilling on two blocks on Lake Albert on
the Ugandan border. (Bloomberg)






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