Drilling for oil
in western Uganda
 
Kampala, Uganda — 4 October 2012 – French oil firm Total SA will be bidding for more oil exploration blocks in Uganda when the country’s government conducts a new licensing round, according to a company executive.

Reuters reports that Total entered Uganda’s burgeoning petroleum industry early this year after it took a third of British explorer Tullow Oil’s exploration assets in the country. China’s CNOOC also bought a third of the assets.

Total’s Uganda unit general manager Loic Laurandel told reporters here that the company expected to produce Uganda’s first oil in 2017, although the government expects production sooner.

He said Uganda needed both a refinery of about 30,000 barrels per day to supply fuel products to the local market, and an export pipeline to support a peak crude production of 200 to 230,000 barrels per day.

“We think in three to four years after commencement of production we will reach that peak production “’ so that should be around 2020 or 2021," Laurandel added.

Uganda discovered hydro carbon deposits in the Albertine rift basin along its border with the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2006. The government estimates reserves at 3.5 billion barrels.
Only 40% of the basin has been explored and the government intends to invite bids for hundreds of sq km of new exploration blocks after parliament has passed proposed oil laws, which is expected by the end of this year.

“The road infrastructure in Uganda needs to be upgraded over the next two years to allow for importation of huge equipment for the implementation of basin development plan,” Laurandel said.

Total, which operates Block 1 on the northern tip of Lake Albert, says it will spend about US$650 million in Uganda on exploration and appraisal drilling and seismic data acquisition by the end of next year.

Source: Reuters Africa. For more information, click here.