Ugandan Minister for Energy and Mineral Development, Irene-Margaret Muloni believes the future of the hydrocarbon sector of the East African country is bright.
The Minister who was addressing the 2019 Africa Oil Week currently underway in the South African city of Cape Town, disclosed that Uganda will soon export its first crude oil from its Lake Albert oil discovery to the international markets.
Madam Irene-Margaret Muloni was of the view that the oil export to international markets will make Uganda one of the latest countries to have joined the oil exporting countries after the government came to an agreement with Tanzania that enables it to transport its crude oil through the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP), a 1,445-kilometre pipeline from Hoima, Uganda, to the port of Tanga in Tanzania as the proposed route.
“It is exciting times for Uganda, we are now preparing for production. It has taken us some time, but we are there,” she said.
The exploration discovered six billion barrels and we have plans to recover about 1.4 billion of these. And now the issue is to get that out of the ground. We’ve already agreed with Tullow, Total and CNOOC the way forward to commercialise that oil, she announced.
“We need two big destinations. One is access to the international markets through the pipeline to add value and ensure security of supply within the East Africa region. Also, we are importers of petroleum products now, so we have a refinery under development.
”That refinery is planned for Kabaale in Western Uganda’s Hoima district, along the eastern shore of Lake Albert, close to the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Once the refinery is completed, expected to be in 2022, it will produce kerosene, gasoline, diesel, heavy fuel oils for Uganda and other local markets. In addition to the refinery an airport, hospital and a 100-megawatt thermal power plant are being constructed.
“For these two big projects the pipeline is more advanced with the FEED signed and an intergovernmental agreement with Tanzania.
She pointed out they currently are negotiating the host government agreements amongst themselves and setting up the private companies that are going to own and operate the pipeline.
For the refinery, she stated “we’ve already approved the configuration of the refinery that will handle 60,000 barrels per day”. Those two projects are ongoing and as a country we are preparing the infrastructure.”
The Minister said with the Lake Albert oil beginning to flow, Uganda has set its sights on further resources and in May this year, announced a second licensing round for additional oil exploration in five blocks in western Uganda that will be announced before the end of 2019.
“It is all about attracting companies to come and join us in the exploration. We have only licensed about 15% of the resources but the appetite is there because the parameters are world class. The success rate when you drill is hovering around 85%, meaning every time you drill a hole there is a good chance of success” Madam Irene-Margaret Muloni explained.