Tullow Uganda has refuted recent media reports that it was opposed to construction of a refinery in the country. “With reference to an article published by the Red Pepper on the Tuesday February 5, 2013 titled ‘Tullow drops bombshell’, I wish to clarify that this article is incorrect and does not represent Tullow’s position on the refinery in Uganda,” notes Jimmy Mugerwa, Tullow’s General Manager and Director. Mugerwa adds: “In my speech delivered at the East African Oil and Gas forum, I clearly stated that Tullow Oil and its partners acknowledge the strategic value for Uganda of having a refinery designed to meet the requirements of local demand. Tullow is not opposed to Uganda’s plans to build a refinery but believes that having an appropriately sized refinery will be critical to realising the full commercial potential of the project.” Mugerwa says having both refinery and a pipeline is feasible but this would require a phased approach with the upstream being developed in parallel, adding that the pipeline is a critical component to the broader development as it is fundamental to underpin financially a project of this scale and complexity. “It is also important to accurately put into perspective the challenges highlighted in my speech. The infrastructure requirements and human resource capacity are not the factors that will hinder the development of a refinery or the project as a whole. The challenges highlighted are shared challenges that will have to be considered as we plan for the future development,” he says. He argues that the East African states should not look at the newly discovered oil and gas in isolation but should consider a joint energy master plan that would look at the situation in the region as a whole and make plans accordingly. He adds that the importance of having a joint energy master plan is to look at the development of the sector from a regional perspective taking into account the various strategic requirements such as number of refineries, pipelines and infrastructure across the difference countries and see how these can be synergised to achieve a more robust energy plan.