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Uganda-Kenya Oil Dispute: Licensing Challenges, Court Battles, and the Quest for Fuel Security”



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As part of an agreement, the Uganda National Oil Company applied for a license from Kenya’s Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) to operate as a local oil marketer. However, EPRA imposed conditions that Uganda deemed unnecessary. Some Kenyans took EPRA to court, seeking to block the license for UNOC. The High Court in Kenya is yet to rule on the matter, expected on February 12. Meanwhile, Uganda has filed a case against Kenya at the East Africa Court of Justice (EACJ) to compel the issuance of the license. Reports suggest Kenya wants Uganda to withdraw the case from the EACJ, but Minister Ruth Nankabirwa didn’t confirm. She maintains Uganda’s decision for direct fuel importation is to secure petroleum product supply. UNOC was to start importation this month, but a court challenge delayed it. Uganda imports over 90% of its petroleum through Mombasa, with a market-driven approach to pump prices, as stated by Nankabirwa. In 2023, Uganda’s petroleum consumption reached 2.5 billion liters, incurring a $2 billion expense, despite a 7% annual growth in demand, maintaining a well-supplied and competitively-priced market.

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