UNIVERSAL ACCESS TO ELECTRICITY BY 2040: President Yoweri Museveni switches on power in a rural district of Uganda. Photo credit/rea.org

Cabinet sitting at Parliament Buildings has today approved a US$71 million World Bank loan to finance the grid expansion and reinforcement project to strengthen the rural electrification strategy (RESP) for 2013-2022, a roadmap to increase power access to 26 percent by 2022.

The loan will finance a series of investments in power distribution and off-grid solutions in the northern districts of Gulu, Lira, Nebbi, Arua, Kole, Oyam and Nwoya.

Also approved by Cabinet was consideration and approval of a request from the Minister of Energy to allow her issue three petroleum production licenses to Total E&P Uganda Bv, over discoveries in exploration area one of the Albertine graben, that is, Ngiri, Jobi-Rii and Gunya to be operated by total E&P Uganda BV.

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The ministers agreed that the production licenses to be issued have a 25-year duration and can be renewed for an additional five years as provided for in the Production Sharing Agreement (PSA). The licenses also provide that where there are oil fields which extend across boundaries of license areas, the oil fields be developed as one unit.

‘The final investment decision is planned to be taken in 18 months after issuance of the production licenses and first oil is expected in the financial year 2019/2020’, they said.

According to the cabinet minutes, the Petroleum Authority of Uganda will regulate the licensed companies while the National oil company will participate in all licenses to take care of government’s commercial interests.