Bloomberg News

Uganda Supports High Oil Prices, Won’t Join OPEC, Minister Says

June 02, 2011

June 2 (Bloomberg) -- Uganda won’t join the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries because it wants to take advantage of higher prices, the nation’s foreign affairs ministry said.

Operating outside the group will allow Uganda to regulate its output and avoid pressure to boost production when prices are rising, Henry Okello Oryem, the minister of state for international relations, said today in an interview in the capital, Kampala.

The oil industry in Uganda, East Africa’s third-biggest economy, is poised to grow as Tullow Oil Plc, the U.K.-based energy company, plans to start pumping crude and gas from the Lake Albert Basin in 2012. The country has an estimated 2.5 billion barrels of oil, with about 1 billion barrels in proven reserves, according to Tullow.

“OPEC is controlled because it is under pressure from major countries,” he said. “Rather than being controlled, we shall be independent and take advantage of prices when they are high.”

The decision to stay away from OPEC was influenced by Norway, which is not part of OPEC,’’ he said. “And because Norway is helping us in policy, we believe for a while we won’t join OPEC.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Fred Ojambo in Kampala at fojambo@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mike Anderson at manderson34@bloomberg.net


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