Feature: Chinese oil giant contributes to empowering young talents for Uganda's emerging oil industry
KIKUUBE, Uganda, July 9 (Xinhua) -- On the shores of Lake Albert in central Africa, which is shared by Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, international oil giants China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) and French TotalEnergies, are busy preparing to start Uganda's first-ever commercial oil production.
In the Kingfisher oil field here in Kikuube district in the Western Region of Uganda, and Tilenga oil field in neighboring Buliisa, run by CNOOC and TotalEnergies respectively, young Ugandan oil talents are taking on tasks, acquiring skills and knowledge from international experts.
Emmanuella Kaducu, was one of the oil and gas university students in Uganda who has won a national contest regarding the country's budding oil industry. One of the rewards of the contest was a trip to visit the oil wells in the western part of her country.
At Kingfisher, Kaducu and the other winners met their future peers who are already working in the oil and gas sector.
Kaducu told Xinhua in a recent interview that she drew a lot of inspiration from the young professionals, and this strengthens her resolute to finish her course in petroleum geoscience and production at university.
At Kingfisher, CNOOC has taken on young Ugandan professionals who acquire practical skills and knowledge from their Chinese supervisors.
Linette Naiga, a junior drilling engineer at a rig on one of the oil pads at Kingfisher who spoke to Kaducu and her friends, said increasingly young professionals are taking positions in the country's nascent oil sector. She said opportunities are there for those who are determined to work hard and focus on their career.
Naiga, who graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Petroleum Engineering and Environment Management in 2021, is optimistic that she will pass on the skills and knowledge acquired in the sector to younger Ugandans who join the oil and gas industry.
"Working with the Chinese is so rewarding, there is so much to learn, so much technology transfer. It is challenging though rewarding, it pushes me every other day to the limit," said Ambrose Ogwang, one of Naiga's workmates.
Ogwang, who is a drilling engineer, said his humble background, including his parents dying when he was young, did not stop him from pursuing his dream.
"In my family, my journey in oil industry has inspired quite a number. It has been a series of learning and growth," he added.
Kaducu said such stories from young people in the oil and gas industry are inspiring.
"There so many examples of young people doing well in the oil and gas industry. I know a number of those who were doing my course. I see that they are doing well, the impact they are making on people's lives," she said.
CNOOC and TotalEnergies in February last year announced the Final Investment Decision (FID) to start commercial production in Uganda. FID is the detailed plan that an oil company will follow to develop an oil field.
The 10-billion-USD project, according to Uganda's Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, includes the development of the oil wells and the construction of a crude oil pipeline that will transport the oil from western Uganda to the Tanzanian seaport of Tanga.
The 1,445-km pipeline, estimated to cost 3.55 billion dollars, will be the world's longest-heated pipeline. The first oil output is expected in 2025 after completion of construction, according to the ministry. The project will generate about 160,000 jobs besides provisions of goods and services.
Uganda in 2006 discovered 6.5 billion barrels of oil, of which 1.4 billion barrels are commercially viable, according to the ministry.