KAMPALA, Jan. 8 (Xinhua) -- China University of Petroleum and Uganda's Makerere University have signed an agreement to establish a geoscience and petroleum institute to build capacity in the country's nascent oil and gas sector.
Ritah Namisango, Makerere University spokesperson, told Xinhua by telephone on Tuesday that the agreement was signed on Monday.
The agreement paves way for further discussion on the establishment of the institute at Makerere University, according to Namisango.
"The institute of petroleum and gas, once established at Makerere University, will be the first of its kind in Uganda. The overall issue is to ensure we build the required human resource capacity in the areas of petroleum, oil and gas," she said.
She said experts from China University of Petroleum will closely work with their counterparts at Makerere University College of Natural Sciences and that of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology to develop joint appropriate academic programs and conducting research.
"When the team from China comes on board they will work with experts at Makerere University to ensure they conduct joint research, academic programs and develop capacity in the petroleum, oil and gas sector," said Namisango.
Last year, Sunmaker, a Chinese company, opened up an oil training institute in the capital Kampala to equip locals with knowledge and skills in the oil and gas sector.
Uganda projects to start commercial production of oil by 2021, when the crude oil pipeline and the refinery will be in place.
Government figures show that the country has so far discovered 6.5 billion barrels of oil, of which about 1.5 billion barrels are commercially viable.