An Independent Researcher, Dr. Sabastiano Rwengabo has ruled out the possibility that Uganda may go to war with Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) over oil and gas finds in Lake Albert.
Dr. Rwengabo, an expert in conflict processes, international security and Arms Control and International Relations says the threat of war has been diffused by diplomatic and bilateral arrangements over the last ten years.
The discovery of oil and gas in the Albertine Graven in 2006 gave raise to tension between DRC and Uganda over Lake Albert area. There were fears that it would escalate into a conflict between the two countries sharing Lake Albert.
Sabastiano Rwengabo, also head a team of researchers on mechanisms for resolving intra-State and inter-State conflicts arising from oil and gas in the Albertine Rift Valley with Advocates Coalition for Development and Environment (ACODE).
He fears the likely environmental impact the discoveries may have on Lake Albert and Upper River Nile but not the political tensions arising from the discovery oil.
He suggests that much as arrangements to tame likely conflicts at state levels, Uganda and DRC need to ensure that oil and gas resources are manage well to avoid a civil uprising similar to Nigeria’s Ogoni land.
Reports suggest presence of over 2.5 billion barrels of oil underneath Lake Albert and that the volumes could more than double once DRC does explorations from its side.
From the Ugandan side, a number of blocks are already being operated by Total, Tullow and ChinA National Offshore Oil and Corporation (CNOOC).
Dr. Rwengabo says the agreements signed between Uganda and DRC and planned infrastructure like the East African Crude Oil Pipeline, the Refinery developed with a regional outlook provided another opportunity for cooperation and avoidance of conflict.
President Musevni and his DRC counterpart, Joseph Kabila in 2007 agreed on the need to pursue the management of shared natural resources between DRC and Uganda as part of the Arusha Accord.
President Museveni had in 1990 signed another agreement with the former Mobutu Sese Seko regime agreeing on joint exploration of the oil and gas resources between the two countries.
Energy and Mineral Development Minister, Irene Muloni and her DRC counterpart, Professor Aime Ngoi-Mukena in November 2017 held bilateral talks in Kampala to review intentions by DRC to join the East African Crude oil pipeline.
Muloni told journalists that the Intergovernmental agreements between Uganda and Tanzania provides that other countries within the region could join the project.