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Uganda: Australia joins suitors of country’s oil

Robert Mukombozi, in Brisbane

The Australian government has announced plans to venture into Uganda’s oil market, promising mutual benefits. Mr Stephen Bohnen, the executive officer, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Queensland, has said his government has finalised plans to engage the Ugandan government over prospects of including it among the partners, especially in the oil sector.

Cordial relationship

“We have a cordial relation with Uganda and the delegates here have brought to our attention that there are opportunities for us to enter into Uganda’s oil industry. We are engaging in high level talks to come out with an agreement,” he said during celebrations to mark Uganda’s 48th independence anniversary in Brisbane on Saturday.

Mr Bohnen, who represented Australia’s Foreign Affairs Minister Kevin Rudd, said the high profile dialogue would enable both countries come out with a comprehensive agreement that would ensure they benefit mutually from the oil deal.

At various levels of negotiation, he said, the Australian government was involving the major stakeholders-the mining magnates.

“We are involving and will continue engaging our miners to be able to identify where they would want to put their investments in Uganda’s oil business,” said Mr Bohnen.

The Ugandan High Commissioner to Australia, Dr James Lukabyo, said the venture would be a major boost in both countries’ trade and diplomatic relations.

And according to Dr Lukabyo, Uganda needs only 11,000 barrels of oil per day, meaning foreign companies are interested to enter the market to develop commercialisation options such as exports of oil to international markets, especially at this time when more has been discovered in other areas such as Western Uganda.

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