Bernard Ongodia

Bernard Ongodia

Senior Geophysicist

Directorate of Petroleum, Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, Uganda

Bernard Ongodia joined the Petroleum Exploration, Development and Production Department under the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development in 2002 as a Geophysicist and in 2008 was promoted to Senior Geophysicist, a position he still holds to-date. He is also the current Head of the National Content Unit in Directorate of Petroleum, Project Coordinator-Skills for Oil and Gas (SOGA) project and a Member of the Governing Council, Uganda Technical College-Elgon. Bernard holds a Bachelor of Science Degree (BSc.) majoring in Physics from Makerere University, Kampala (1996), Master of Science Degree in Exploration Geophysics from the University of Leeds, United Kingdom (2005) and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) Oil and Gas Management from Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, United Kingdom (2015).  He also holds various diplomas and certificates in the fields of; Electrical Engineering, Management, Environment and Petroleum Geoscience obtained from the various reputable institutions in the world.


SESSION 17:  National Content Development in the Petroleum Subsector in Uganda

The confirmation of commercial petroleum resources in Uganda has not only improved the prospects for the country to develop a robust oil and gas industry but also presents an opportunity to leverage these resources for revenues generation, domestic investment and catalyze domestic private sector development. However experience shows that turning this potential into real opportunities for citizens requires deliberate and sustained efforts in specific aspects including employment, training, industrial development, infrastructure development and technology transfer. In this regard, the Government of Uganda embarked on a concerted effort to ensure direct and indirect participation of Ugandan citizens and enterprises in the petroleum subsector so as to contribute to achieving lasting benefits for the country.

The initiatives undertaken have been underpinned by robust regulatory framework that seeks not only to maximize the benefits from the petroleum resource and also addresses the challenges associated with its development. The key frameworks include: the National Oil and Gas Policy, 2008; The National Content Policy, 2016; Petroleum (Exploration, Development and Production) Act, 2013; Petroleum (Refining, Conversion, Transmission and Midstream Storage) Act, 2013; the Modal Petroleum Sharing Agreement, 2016; and the attendant regulations on national content. These frameworks put deliberate emphasis on capacity building, employment, enterprise development, the use of locally produced goods and services and research & development and technology transfer.

Significant achievement have so far been registered towards national content development in the petroleum subsector in Uganda including: setting up a dedicated National Content Unit in the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development; establishment of the Association of Oil and Gas Service Providers in 2012; establishment of Uganda Petroleum Institute Kigumba; introduction of Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in Petroleum Geosciences and Production at Makerere University; undertaking of specific studies related to national participation viz. study on the opportunities and challenges for Ugandans’ participation in the oil and gas sector (2011), Industrial Baseline Survey (2013), capacity Skills Needs Analysis Study (2015); regulation of expatriates; steady growth in employment of Ugandans and   percentage of contract value spent with Ugandan companies; and  introduction of courses in petroleum studies in the country by the private sector. Plans are also underway to develop an Industry Enhancement Centre, a National Supplier Database and a Human Capacity Register.   

However the various studies that have been undertaken by both Government and the private sector in Uganda have highlighted a number of constraints for Ugandan suppliers to provide goods and services to the oil and gas industry, including information asymmetries, limited access to finance, inadequate infrastructure, difficulties meeting high quality standards of the international oil companies and cost disadvantages due to lack of experience among others. These revelations, coupled with the technology and capital-intensive nature of the industry put local entrepreneurs at a comparative disadvantage to offer services to the petroleum industry.  

Accordingly, the presentation on National Content Development in the petroleum subsector in Uganda will showcase the framework that Uganda has put in place, the achievements registered to date, challenges and the way forward.