Kampala – Uganda, the country with sub-Saharan Africa’s fourth-largest oil reserves, received 10 production applications for 21 discoveries in the Albertine Graben region as the nation moves closer to starting output in 2017.
Tullow Oil Plc, Total SA, and China National Offshore Oil Corp. all sought licenses, according to a statement on the website of Uganda’s Petroleum Exploration and Production Department in Entebbe near the capital, Kampala. The government is in talks with Tullow about its eight applications, CNOOC got its first license in September, and Total’s request was made in December, the notice shows.
Total may submit five more applications this year in Exploration Area 1, and one for EA 1A, according to the statement. Tullow has until the end of April to appraise the Waraga discovery in Exploration Area 2, where it is the operator, and is also drilling at Waraga-3, a second appraisal well, the department said.
The East African nation last month shortlisted six companies, including China Pipeline Bureau, Marubeni Corp., and Vitol Group, to build a $2.5 billion refinery to process 60,000 barrels a day of crude.
The lead investor will own 60 percent of the plant, while the government’s stake will account for as much as 40 percent, and the nation has invited Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania, partner countries in the East African Community, to buy an interest of as much 10 percent, according to the PEPD.
The refinery may be developed in two phases, starting with a daily capacity of 30,000 barrels, according to Robert Kasande, the assistant commissioner in the energy ministry. Construction will commence in 2015, while production starts 2017, he said. Uganda has sub-Saharan Africa’s fourth-biggest oil reserves, according to the International Monetary Fund.
Meanwhile, Ugandan regulators are reportedly in the final stages of evaluating proposed field development plans for ten oilfields in the country’s Lake Albertine rift basin.
The developments proposed by London-listed Tullow Oil and France’s Total are set to give momentum to the East African country’s long-delayed efforts to commercialise its hydrocarbon resources.
“Tullow has to date submitted field development plans and petroleum reservoir reports for eight discoveries,” the head of the state-run Petroleum Exploration and Production department, Ernest Rubondo, told Dow Jones Newswires.
“Government has reviewed these submissions and is in discussion with Tullow with regard to content of these submissions,” Rubondo added without elaborating further.
An official with Uganda’s energy and minerals ministry told the wire service most of the licenses were likely to be approved within the next six months.
Last September, China National Offshore Oil Corporation was awarded the first Ugandan production licence for its Kingfisher development, where Tullow Oil and Total are also partners.
The CNOOC-led development is expected to produce between 30,000 and 40,000 barrels of oil per day after it comes online in 2017 or 2018.