Uganda on track to announce oil discovery in Karamoja

by Christopher Kiiza
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Uganda is on the move to announce the discovery of crude oil in Moroto – Kadam basin, Karamoja sub region as data analysed from 76.2% of the basin show availability of oil.

In addition to that, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, Eng. Irene Batebe says they have seen seepages which create a high degree of confidence that there is potential for crude oil resources in the Moroto – Kadam basin.

“We continue to promote geological and geophysical surveys for a number of basins. We do have what we call our prospective basins besides the Albertine Graben or that part of the Rift Valley. We do have other basins of Lake Kyoga, but also Kadam – Moroto basin in Karamoja,” said Eng. Batebe.

“So, we are doing extensive work in terms of geological and geophysical surveys in Moroto – Kadam basin, and from that, we have received positive results. We have seen seepages, and this creates confidence that there is potential for crude oil resources in the Moroto – Kadam basin. We will be moving to undertake additional work. We are currently analysing the data at about 76.2% of the basin covered, and once we conclude that work, we will then promote this area as part of our next licensing round,” she added.

The oil discovery in Karamoja coupled with the already established Albertine Graben in Bunyoro sub region could put Uganda among the top oil producing countries on the African continent.

Uganda discovered about 6.5 billion barrels of oil in the Albertine region, of which 1.4 billion barrels is recoverable.

Batebe said the Government is continuing to undertake geological and geophysical surveys in the frontier basins to ensure that it exploits new areas.

The Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development has already issued two production sharing agreements to the Uganda National Oil Company (UNOC), and DGR company from Australia to conduct oil exploration in Kasurubani Area stretching over 1,285 kilometers across the districts of Hoima, Masindi and Buliisa. This, according to Batebe, is to empower UNOC to also venture into the exploration of oil.

Following the issuance, Batebe said the Government expects two companies to progress with an “aggressive exploration programme to be able to support us in our reserves replacement agenda. Why do we need reserves replacement in terms of oil and gas, we are developing a number of infrastructure (the refinery and the East African Crude Oil Pipeline), and it is important that these are supported sustainably with sufficient crude oil and gas resources?”

ALSO READ: Uganda makes big strides towards first oil

Oil production

Uganda has set a target produce its first oil in 2025.

In January this year, President Museveni commissioned Kingfisher oil drilling rig in the Kingfisher oil field in Kikuube district.

Kingfisher project operated by China National Offshore Oil Company (CNOOC) is among the projects which Uganda is executing under its oil and gas sector. Other projects include; Tilenga project, the construction of the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) and the Refinery.

The commissioning of Kingfisher oil drilling rig followed the signing of the Final Investment Decision (FID) between government of Uganda and oil companies last year.

The signing of the final investment decision, and the commencement of drilling, Batebe said, is a significant milestone that goes to confirm that Uganda is on course to achieve its target of first oil production come 2025.

“Aligning with that, we continue with the development of the refinery. We are currently negotiating the long term agreements, having concluded the front end engineering design for the refinery. Meaning that today we know the design we are going to set up, we know the products that we are going to produce from this refinery; that is liquefied petroleum gas, diesel, petrol, heavy fuel oil and a little bit of some kerosene. That also speaks to the fact that we now know the investment CapEx (capital expenditure) for this refinery and we are now moving into the stage of mobilising the financing together with the private sector investors that we are working with on this project,” Batebe said.

Alongside the refinery, the Government has undertaken other critical infrastructure, such as the construction of Kabalega International Airport, which is expected to be commissioned in 2024.

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