Canadian expert finds oil refinery in Uganda viable

Jun 29, 2009 02:00 AM

Refining oil in Uganda is economically viable, a Canadian expert has told President Yoweri Museveni. Claude Landry, an engineer with OPTEC Refinery and Petro-Chemicals consultancy in Montreal, said at a rate of 100,000 barrels of oil per day, the refinery would have a life span of 33 years.
Meeting Museveni at State House, Landry added that refining oil in Uganda would eliminate transportation costs and that there was a market available locally.

Landry, who has been in the petroleum consultancy industry for 50 years, explained that Uganda's oil is among the best in the world because it has very low contents of sulphur. Low-sulphur crude oil is cheaper to refine.
The Canadian expert was accompanied by Uganda's High Commissioner to Britain, Joan Rwabyomere, along with two legal advisors of the Commonwealth Secretariat, John Gara and Ekpon Omonbude.

According to a State House statement, Museveni expressed happiness at the reassurance that the economics of refining oil would be good for Uganda.
"You have immunised me against any confusion of the refinery issue," the President told Landry. He added that the refinery would avoid the construction of a pipeline to Mombasa. The pipeline, he said, would get waxed up along the way, thereby attracting costs in unblocking it.

Landry's advice comes at a time when the Government and the two oil companies are locked in arguments over whether to refine the oil in Uganda or channel crude oil to a refinery in Mombasa.
The companies say refining the oil in Mombasa makes more business sense because they can sell it to other countries. However, the Government wants them to refine it locally and satisfy the Ugandan market.

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