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State Department Invites Duquesne Professor to Help Develop Energy Policies for Uganda

The U.S. Department of State has requested that Dr. Kent Moors, director of the Energy Policy Research Group at Duquesne University, assist Uganda in developing energy policies for new, vast oil finds.

Dr. Kent Moors

Moors, an internationally recognized expert in global oil and natural gas policy and finance, will head to Uganda on Friday, April 16. The challenge he faces is to help the country establish what would be a precedent-setting way of doing oil business in sub-Saharan Africa. So far, none of the African countries blessed with oil deposits has managed to tap reserves in a way that shares economic growth across society while protecting the environment.

He was specifically requested by the U.S. Embassy in Kampala and by the chair of the Ugandan Parliamentary Committee on Natural Resources to advise on the development of legislative, regulatory and public outreach initiatives to meet the significant challenges posed by major oil and gas finds in this central African nation. Moors will address and conduct working meetings with ministries, parliamentary committees and staff, the central bank, oil and gas companies, citizen groups and the national media.

In Uganda, careful decision-making now could help to transform the country, mitigating widespread poverty with proceeds from the first major petroleum find in east Africa while preserving Murchison Falls National Park, Uganda’s biggest and most visited wildlife reserve, and other environmentally sensitive areas, including the commercially fished Lake Albert.

“Availability of energy is a major need throughout the region—to provide power for economic development, agriculture and, perhaps most basically, the ability to purify water,” Moors noted. “The discoveries in Uganda provide an opportunity to do something about it.”

It also presents a unique opportunity. “There are few places in the world where no laws, regulations or experience exist to deal with massive oil discoveries,” Moors added. “Uganda provides a rare chance to design an approach from the beginning.”

The first of what is estimated to be billions of barrels of oil could begin flowing as early as next year, although peak flow is not expected to hit its stride until 2015.

In other African countries, the discovery of oil has fed corruption, led to dictatorship and civil wars, and scarred the land, even as many citizens continue to live in poverty. The U.S. and other nations are working against that backdrop for a major change in Uganda.

Previously, also at the request of the U.S. Department of State, Moors hosted an official Uganda delegation for preliminary discussions at Duquesne.

Moors’ expertise was recently tapped to address the North European Energy Security Roundtable in Gdansk, Poland, in February. He was invited by Jerzy Buzek, president of the European Parliament, to discuss Baltic energy security implications with officials from the European Union, Russia, Ukraine and the Caspian basin.

At another invitation-only presentation, Moors briefed the Windsor Energy Group on The New Global Energy Market: How the Credit Crisis Has Revised Projects, Finance and Trade. During the sessions at Windsor Castle, Moors met Queen Elizabeth II, who had established the group by royal charter, and addressed representatives of major international companies, public agencies and organizations.

Moors has been an advisor to the highest levels of the U.S., Russian, Kazakh, Bahamian, Iraqi and Kurdish governments, a consultant to private companies and law firms in 26 countries and appeared over 1,500 times as a featured television and radio commentator in North America, Europe and Russia.

A prolific writer and lecturer, his six books, over 750 professional and market publications, and over 250 private/public sector policy presentations and workshops have appeared in 44 countries.

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and tradition of academic excellence. Duquesne, a campus of nearly 9,500 graduate and undergraduate students, has been nationally recognized for its academic programs, community service and commitment to sustainability. Follow Duquesne University on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.