Its official, Ernest Rubondo is Petroleum Authority ED
Ministry of Energy Permanent Secretary Dr. Fred Kabagambe-Kaliisa announced the appointment today just four days short of two months’ from when 256 Business News first reported that the veteran geologist had been tapped to head the petroleum Authority.
“Iam glad to announce the appointment of Mr. Ernest Rubondo as the first Executive Director of the Petroleum Authority of Uganda (PAU),” Kabagambe said in a statement today.
“The appointment which follows a recommendation by the Board of Directors of PAU ends a search for the Executive Director which started in January 2016,” Kabagambe added.
Rubondo’s appointment to head the PAU whose role will be to monitor and regulate exploration, development and production of Uganda’s petroleum sector ends the institutional set up and is expected to see a rapid ramp up to the long delayed oil production in Uganda. The PA in effect takes over roles previously played by the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development.
Rubondo holds an MSc in Petroleum Reservoir Geology from the Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine in the UK. And has worked with the Petroleum Exploration and Production Department (PEPD) under the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development since its inception in 1991. He rose through the ranks to become head of the department in 2009 before he was appointed the Director for Petroleum in the Ministry.
Rubondo takes office starting September and like his counterpart at the National Oil Company, he set up the Authority from scratch.
Uganda had initially hoped to progress to oil production in 2018 but delays in development of key infrastructure such as an export pipeline and a domestic oil refinery have seen timeline for first oil shift towards the 2020-21 timeframe.
Studies for a crude export pipeline through Tanzania are progressing rapidly but the procurement of a contractor for a domestic oil refinery are back to square one after negotiations with Russian consortium RT Global resources fell through. The government will shortly be entering new negotiations with South Korea’s SK Engineering and Construction.
Uganda has confirmed reserves equivalent to 6.3 billion barrels of oil from 40 percent of the area with hydrocarbon potential.