Source: ISN Security Watch
By Jody Ray Bennett
10 Jun 2010 - Uganda’s recent oil discovery has the chance to reshape relations with its neighbors and the West as energy multinationals eye potential opportunities.
The Great Rift Valley of East Africa - the birthplace of humankind - holds a reservoir of billions of barrels of untapped oil. Over the last four years, UK-based oil exploration and production company Tullow Oil has discovered reserves of nearly 2 billion barrels of oil in rural western Uganda, with the largest finds in the Lake Albert Basin.
In what is now being called the largest onshore oil discovery in sub-Saharan Africa in 20 years, Tullow believes that this drilling area will yield “several billion” barrels of oil; and at least 15 major strikes by various oil companies have been made throughout Great Rift Valley since Tullow’s discovery. (See this article to view Tullow’s drilling area with further analysis.)
Now as with any new resource discovery, especially on the African continent, and especially when it involves a private company from a former colonial power, questions begin to emerge about the host country’s negotiating power and the regional and international relations implications of the find.
Uganda is now at this point: It is a potentially new wealthy oil state, landlocked by its neighbors who are watching enviously as petro dollars promise to double Ugandan state revenues. The country is also being eyed by other international actors who wonder how oil might shape relations that were once based primarily on non-energy trade, the country’s captive labor pool and military training exercises with Ugandans as a part of a larger strategy to thwart terrorism in Horn of Africa.
Uganda’s oil discovery is also being compared to what is often cited as the Nigerian “petroleum curse” in which “billions of pounds in oil revenues [are] siphoned off by corrupt leaders while communities in the environmentally scarred, oil-producing regions still live in poverty.”
Still, others have identified the ongoing employment of Ugandans as private security contractors, trained and shipped off to Iraq by western private military and security companies, as a security advantage for Uganda. Their training in Iraq could come in handy on the front line of security for Uganda’s new oil infrastructure.
For the complete article, please see ISN Security Watch.
By Jody Ray Bennett
Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan are currently engaged in vital talks over the dispute relating to the filling and operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the Nile River. While non-African actors are increasingly present in the negotiations, the African Union (AU) is playing a marginal role.
Climate change was more central than ever at this year’s Munich Security Conference (MSC), the leading international forum for senior military, security and foreign policy leaders. The release of the inaugural “World Climate and Security Report 2020” (WCSR 2020) by the Expert Group of the International Military Council on Climate and Security (IMCCS) should help policymakers take effective action.
The mission of the Munich Security Conference is to “address the world’s most pressing security concerns”. These days, that means climate security: climate change is the ultimate threat multiplier, and anyone discussing food security, political instability, migration, or competition over resources should be aware of the climate change pressures that are so often at the root of security problems.
The European Green Deal has made the environment and climate change the focus of EU action. Indeed, climate change impacts are already increasing the pressure on states and societies; however, it is not yet clear how the EU can engage on climate security and environmental peacemaking. In this light, and in the run-up to the German EU Council Presidency, adelphi and its partners are organising a roundtable series on “Climate, environment, peace: Priorities for EU external action in the decade ahead”.