CNOOC contributes to Uganda's quest to extract its energy assets

Updated: April 27, 2022 Source: China Daily
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The logo of China National Offshore Oil Corp (CNOOC) is pictured at its headquarters in Beijing, China April 4, 2018. [Photo/Agencies]

China National Offshore Oil Corp (CNOOC), the country's largest offshore oil and gas producer by sales revenue, will assist its partners in Uganda to construct two central processing plants and 35 well pads in the Lake Albert area by 2025, said business executives.

Discovered in Uganda's western region in 2006, the oil field covers an area of 1,518 square kilometers and has proven geological reserves of over 6 billion barrels.

The first phase of the project involves building two central processing plants and 35 well pads. They are scheduled to be operational in early 2025.

The project will also include the construction of a 1,443-kilometer oil pipeline, the first of its kind to connect Uganda and Tanzania in East Africa, which will ensure the export of crude oil.

Chen Zhuobiao, CNOOC's president for Uganda business, said that over the past decade, through unremitting efforts, CNOOC has proven itself to be a trustworthy partner in support of Uganda's oil industry with mature and advanced technologies from China.

Since then, as Uganda and its neighbor Tanzania reached consensus and agreement on a series of issues including crude oil pipelines, Uganda's journey to capitalize on the sector entered a "fast track".

During construction and after the oil field is put into operation in the coming years, Chen said that more than 20,000 jobs will be created in Uganda, which is helpful in accelerating the training of local oil and gas personnel and the improvement of professional domestic skills.

Focusing on long-term training, cultivation of local contractors and qualified talent, CNOOC has trained more than 150 contractors in various aspects of the oil and gas business, and cultivated over 3,000 oil and gas skilled talent.

With the continuous expansion of Chinese oil companies' business in Uganda, Gong Zhiwu, head of the Sunmaker Oil and Gas Training Institute, funded by CNOOC in Uganda, said that demand for local employees will increase significantly.

Gong said that the African country currently faces a large shortage of skilled talent and qualified trainers to meet the needs of the oil industry, and a system of vocational skills training, assessment and certification for localized employees has not yet been established.

Based on the skills and human resource development systems built in China's domestic petroleum and petrochemical industry, the training institute has successfully adopted vocational skills training, assessment and certification systems for local employees in Uganda to resolve relevant issues.

As a result of the deepening cooperation between China and Africa, the oil field project is of great significance in promoting the development of the Belt and Road Initiative and international energy cooperation, said Ju Wenjie, deputy general manager of the Uganda branch of China Communications Construction Co Ltd, another infrastructure service provider for the Lake Albert project in Uganda.

Construction and operation of the oil field will bring new development opportunities to Uganda, a country that relies on traditional agriculture and livestock as its main economic source, and will make it an important crude oil producer in East Africa, he added.

As one of the largest Chinese companies with the most investment in Uganda, CNOOC also fulfilled its social responsibility to support local economic and social development, while conducting construction of the country's oil field project. It helped build roads, set up scholarships and plant trees to improve local livelihoods, education and the environment in Uganda's western region.

"While the COVID-19 pandemic has brought difficulties for the global economy, the steady growth in ties between China and Africa fully demonstrates the resilience of Sino-African economic and trade cooperation, and Chinese companies' confidence in Africa's future development prospects," said Yu Zirong, vice-president of the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation.

Editor: Su Dan