Ugandan President H.E. Yoweri Museveni on Tuesday commissioned the East African nation’s first of four oil rigs to start drilling at the Kingfisher field on the shores of Lake Albert as the country eyes production in 2025.
The three other rigs will be installed at Tilenga.
Uganda discovered crude reserves estimated at 6.5 billion barrels, with 1.4 billion recoverable nearly two decades ago in the western region in the Lake Albertine basin, Kingfisher and Tilenga oilfields.
President Museveni switched on the rig – a LR8001 deluxe land rig – installed in November 2022 at the Pad-2 site at Buhuuka village, Kibuube District.
It is operated by China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) and will start drilling 31 oil wells on four well pads.
“The company is now commencing the drilling of production wells less than one year after the announcement of FID,” Ernest Rubondo, the Executive Director of the Petroleum Authority of Uganda said.
“The drilling rig, which you have just switched on Your Excellency, will be used to drill all the planned 31 production wells of this oil field. 20 of these wells will be used to produce oil while 11 of the wells will be used to inject water in the reservoir to help improve production,” Rubondo explained.
The brand new state of the art rig was specially designed for this field. It is the strongest that has been used in the country to date, with about 8000 horsepower and consuming about 6 megawatts of power.
With Brent crude oil price trading at about $87.5 per barrel, the Kingfisher project will account for 15 percent of the total oil revenue to the government from upstream operations, equivalent to $6.9 billion for the entire project, or $360 million per year.
The French TotalEnergies’ operated Tilenga Project – which will produce 190,000 barrels of oil per day – will account for 85 percent of the expected oil revenues.
The rig at Kingfisher will drill oil wells at varying depths, the shortest of which is about 2.6 kilometres, while the deepest is 7.4 kilometres, said Mr. Rubondo, adding that the oil field extends about three kilometres into the lake.
The project is expected to produce 40,000 barrels of oil per day in 2025, but CNOOC officials are optimistic they could deliver the first oil ahead of schedule.
Uganda plans to export the oil and refine and support local petro-chemical based industrial projects.