KAMPALA — In the central business district of the Ugandan capital Kampala, a group of young Chinese are setting up a training center for local youths to work in the oil and gas sector.
Li Yu, business manager of Sunmaker Energy (Uganda) Ltd, told Xinhua in a recent interview that there are vast opportunities in the sector, including personnel training and provision of human resource services.
"Uganda is in strong need of technologies and experienced people to this (oil production). We spotted an opportunity," Li said.
Li and his colleagues are setting up a $4.53 million training facility that provides training for Ugandan youths to work in oil production. Construction is scheduled to be completed in February next year.
In the initial year, the center is expected to train about 1,600 students before scaling up to about 11,000 students annually, according to the company's plan.
Jerry Bo Ma, general manager at Sunmaker Energy (Uganda) Ltd, told Xinhua that after qualification, the students will be given internationally recognized certificates that will enable them to work in the oil industry.
The students will be skilled in welding, drilling, scaffolding, plumbing, driving, carpentry and masonry in a country where the government targets 2020 as the year when Uganda will begin oil and gas production.
The startup company has already received good will from the Ugandan government.
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, while meeting the Sunmaker Uganda Ltd founding partners last month, promised that the government would offer them land near the oil wells in the western part of the country for the second phase of the training facility.
During the meeting, Museveni also promised that the government would waive all taxes related to constructing and running the training center.
Ma expressed hope that in future Sunmaker Energy will serve as a bridge that furthers the cooperation between Uganda and China in the oil sector.
Uganda has so far discovered over 1.5 billion barrels of commercially viable oil. Some of the oil will be refined in the oil fields while the crude will be transported to the Tanzanian seaport of Tanga, according to Uganda government plans.
Last month, Uganda and Tanzania launched the construction of the crude oil pipeline that will carry 216,000 barrels of oil for export per day. The pipeline is expected to be completed in 2020.