East African Workshop on a Geothermal Drilling Code of Practice

Sempaya geothermal hot springs, Uganda (source: flickr/ Joostv, creative commons)
Francisco Rojas 12 Feb 2015

A Workshop on Formulation of an East African Geothermal Drilling Code of Practice will take place in Entebbe, Uganda on 10-12 February, 2015

The African Union Commission (AUC) through the Department of Infrastructure and Energy and the German Geological Survey (BGR) organized a three day workshop in Entebbe, Uganda on 10-12 February, 2015 for high ranking decision-makers from Comoros, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. Also present were partners’ representatives from KfW, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Energie des Grands Lacs (EGL), and United States Energy Association. The workshop was organised under the auspices of the Regional Geothermal Program which is hosted and managed by the AUC. The workshop is a follow up of the first one on Rules and Regulations for Drilling and Completing Geothermal Wells held in Naivasha, Kenya on 13-15 May, 2014.

The objective of the workshop is to come up with a Code of Practice with the sole purpose of providing guidance on how to drill geothermal wells in accordance with best industry practices regarding environmental protection, workplace safety and the health of employees, etc. in good condition. The East African Geothermal Drilling Code of Practice is expected to be adopted and owned by the countries that are subscribed to the AUC-GRMF with adaptations made by each country as may be required to reflect its legislative practice.

In his opening remarks AUC Head of Energy, Mr. Philippe Niyongabo highlighted that “as a recommendation from the 1st workshop to develop drilling regulations based on the New Zealand drilling code and standards, we are gathered here today to continue the effort of finalising the drilling regulation as promised at the Naivasha workshop”. He went on to say that at the end of the workshop, AUC would distribute the developed drilling regulations to the all GRMF countries in both English and French to be implemented according to institutions set in each of the GRMF countries. Additionally, AUC will have the proposed drilling regulations as part for any future grant agreements to be implemented by both public and private developers. The AUC will continue in cooperation with its partners to develop geothermal energy sector in the East African Rift System countries and for that reason AUC has signed MoUs with USAID, ICEIDA, BGR, UNEP and DFID to provide this support.

In a speech read on her behalf Mrs. Anja Nina Kramer, Director, KfW Uganda by Mr. Frederick Barasa, he underscored that since the energy mix in the region is highly dependent on hydropower, seasonal drought causes numerous power outages hence the need for a sensible alternative of geothermal energy which is significantly cheaper, reliable and environmentally clean. The geothermal potential in countries along the East African Rift System has been estimated to be more than 15,000MW which is approximately three times the currently installed capacity in Eastern Africa. The German government has set an international target of giving another 100million people access to clean and renewable energy by the year 2030 and geothermal energy will play a key role in realising this target.

The workshop was delivered in form of lectures by world renowned geothermal experts from New Zealand and the United States of America.
For more information please contact

Mr. Philippe Niyongabo
Head Energy Division, AUC
Tel: +251 11 518 2414 and +251 11 518 2406.

Source: African Union