By Moses Oketayot and Jolly Gwari
Kampala – The Uganda National Oil Company (UNOC) has joined the petroleum product massive trade and business.
The government agency has joined the lucrative trade of importation of petroleum products in partnership with the third largest local market player in Stabex internal. The partnership will see UNOC import 400,000 litres of petroleum products and supply to the former (Stabex).
A government agency mandated to handle the state’s commercial interests in the petroleum sector, UNOC was sanctioned to ensure that the resource is exploited in a sustainable manner.
Presided over by Minister of Energy and Mineral Development, Hon. Mary Goretti Kitutu, the launch took place on Monday, March 16, at the Nasana’s based Stabex international headquarters, Wakiso district.
Hon. Kitutu encouraged UNOC to ensure consistency, timely delivery of quality products and excellence as they embark on the journey aiming at making the client happy.
She further extended her vote of thanks to UNOC for joining the market on behalf of government.
“UNOC is a company that should do business on behalf of the government, and I am happy that today, I am launching this business part of UNOC,” said Hon. Kitutu
She added: “According to statistics from UBOS, Uganda consumes about six million litres of petroleum products daily, and the demand has been growing at an average rate of 9% in the last 6 to 10 years.”
The Energy Minister also regimented the Uganda National Oil Company (UNOC) to prioritize the use of gas (LPG) in households as a way of diminishing reliance on charcoal as a means to save and conserve the environment and forest cover.
In her speech, Kitutu said as one with a background in the Water & Environment Ministry she understands how deeply popularizing LPG can go in bolstering environmental conservation efforts.
In addition, Kintu portrayed that there are lots of partners prepared to finance efforts by the government to popularize LPG technology for cooking purposes through provision of 1m LPG gas cylinders as a pilot project under which citizens will acquire cooking gas at a heavily subsidized rate.
The launch of the partnership was graced by the Chief Executive Officer of UNOC, Proscovia Nabbanja who depicted that agency joined the business to set a footprint and also look at other markets while extending beyond what is available within the country.
“So, this business to us means that we can secure petroleum products within the country but also tap into the regional and international markets,” Nabbanja assured.
She also further said that the company is going to invest USD71M in constructing the Kampala fuel terminal which will have the storage capacity of 60 million litres in the next 24 months that will boost the one in Jinja with storage capacity of 30 million litres.
She concluded that UNOC has joined the business of bulk petroleum trade not to compete with the local players but to compliment them because in future they will also have partnerships with other oil retailers in the country but for now they have started with Stabex because of their knowledge within the local market.
While speaking the press, General Manager of National Pipeline Company at UNOC, John Bosco Habumugisha disclosed that the future of petroleum products is in the use of water transport through the use of oil tankers which have a bigger capacity of over 2 million litres as compared to trucks which only transport in thousands.
He further noted that such trucks are prone to accidents and lead to wearing out of roads where he cited the Jinja highway that is a beehive for oil trucks which has led to wear and tear of the road. He revealed that to reduce pressure and disruptions on the road infrastructure, UNOC will be using lake transport mostly as opposed to road while bringing in its products from Mombasa to the country.
The Board Chairman of UNOC, Emmanuel Katongole, said that they have joined the business envisioning the use of the same infrastructure in future to supply the petroleum products that Uganda will be producing from the oil wells in the Albertine region in the next five years.
According to UNOC Chairman Emmanuel Katongole, the idea will benefit Ugandans to ensure increased access to high quality and competitively-priced and yet high-quality petroleum products.
“UNOC recently reactivated petroleum storage terminals both in Jinja and Kampala where vast quantities of reserves are being kept, We are already working with URA and PPDA to ensure the company 100% complies with all statutory obligations during their commercial operations.” Katongole disclosed.
He believes with partners like Stabex, there will be plenty of market for the petroleum products in the country.
Stabex officials say their company, which is 3rd largest local OMC in Uganda by market share, will be leveraging on its 50 fuelling stations scattered across the country covering all major towns to do a good job and meet the high expectations UNOC has in them. For example, they will be engaging in similar partnerships with Shell, Total and others.