Petroleum Authority of Uganda gets first Executive Director

The Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development on Thursday announced the appointment of Mr. Ernest Rubondo as the first Executive Director of the Petroleum Authority of Uganda. The announcement ends a search that started in March, conducted by the authority’s seven-member board of directors.

The petroleum authority was set up under the Petroleum (Exploration, Development and Production) Act 2013 to monitor and regulate the exploration, development and production of petroleum in Uganda. The authority also advises the energy minister in the negotiation of petroleum agreements and in the granting and revocation of licences.

His appointment is a step towards the operationalisation of the Petroleum Authority of Uganda, which analysts have blamed for the postponement of the first date of oil production. The delays arose from the absence of an operational Petroleum Authority, whose board was only constituted this year. While Uganda awarded three production licences recently, they remained tentative because the authority was not yet operational in the absence of a management team.

Rubondo has, since 2015, been head of the Petroleum Directorate in the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development. He also worked with the Ministry’s Petroleum Exploration and Production Department (PEPD) since its inception in 1991. He holds a Master of Science degree in Petroleum Reservoir Geology from the Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine in the United Kingdom.

“In the course of his career, Mr. Rubondo has been a key participant in the promotion of Uganda’s petroleum potential, negotiating the country’s Production Sharing Agreements (PSAs), monitoring the work of licensed oil companies and in negotiating the commercialisation avenues for the country’s crude oil,” the press statement announcing his appointment said.

“He has also been heavily involved in the formulation of the country’s legal and regulatory framework including the National Oil and Policy and the recently enacted petroleum industry legislation for Uganda”

Mr Rubondo will start his new job at the beginning of next month, the statement said. He shall, according to the Act, hold the office for five years and be eligible for reappointment for one more term.

According to media reports, employees of the authority will earn higher salaries compared to other civil servants. As executive director, Mr. Rubondo is possibly looking at a monthly salary of $20,000 (about Shs67.2m).