This month, the COVID-19 Business Info Hub will explore opportunities for SMEs in the Oil and Gas industry. We will feature insights from different players, including SMEs, regulators, and organizations involved in the sector. Through these interviews, we will learn about how SMEs contribute to the chain and the challenges they face. We will also highlight the different initiatives to empower SMEs to actively participate in the Oil and Gas value chain during the Covid-19 crisis.

For entrepreneurs considering to venture into the Oil and Gas industry, the end result could be lucrative. The industry presents unique opportunities that can steer sustainable economic development for businesses and the country at large. Uganda’s Oil and Gas value chain has three segments: upstream, midstream, and downstream. The upstream segment involves the exploration for extraction of petroleum crude oil and natural gas. The midstream segment involves storing, marketing and transporting petroleum crude oil, natural gas and other byproducts. While the downstream segment involves the refining of petroleum crude oil and processing of raw natural gas. Players operating along the value chain range from oil companies, natural gas producers, petrochemical firms, and power generation companies to regulatory agencies, SMEs, and household consumers. Presently, the most notable players in the sector are Total E&P Uganda, Tullow Uganda Operations Pty Limited, and China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC). Government is putting in place infrastructure for facilitating developments to support the commercialization of sector, efforts that will provide opportunities to new players to emerge in the industry.

Despite the opportunities it offers, businesses that work in the Oil and Gas industry face ongoing liability risks, especially when it comes to environmental hazards.  Regulation helps to shield businesses, employees, and the general public from these risks, just as it protects the environment from pollution. There are two key regulatory bodies in the industry. First, there is The Petroleum Authority of Uganda (PAU). PAU monitors sector operations to ensure efficient management of petroleum resources. Second, the Uganda National Oil Company  (UNOC) has a mandate to investigate and propose new upstream, midstream, and downstream ventures for local and international investment. UNOC is also responsible for implementing the national content plan to drive local participation in the oil and gas value chain, which aims to generate local employment, investment in skills development, and greater participation by SMEs.

Are you interested in learning about the opportunities available for your business in the oil and gas value chain? Keep following The Covid-19 Business Information Hub this March to learn more about the industry and the government’s efforts to expand the sector through infrastructure and partnerships.