Government is seeking to expand the current oil resource base to make maximum use of the planned oil and gas facilities that will be built. These include the refinery, pipeline, the processing facilities and other related infrastructure such as roads, airport and the industrial park.
The government is also seeking to empower the Uganda National Oil Company to fulfill its mandate of joint exploration activities. In that vein the Uganda National Oil Company (UNOC) Ltd and China National Offshore Oil Company (CNOOC) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to open a partnership in exploration in the Albertine Graben.
The function took place on 5th September 2018, Beijing, China. The MoU was signed by Dr. Josephine Wapakabulo, CEO UNOC and Mr. Fang Zhi, the Chairman of CNOOC international and was witnessed by President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, Mr. Sam Kuteesa, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Mr. William Byaruhanga, Attorney General.
Government of Uganda is in the process of commercialising the crude oil discoveries made in the country, currently estimated at 6.5 billion barrels, of which 1.2 – 1.7 billion barrels is recoverable. The commercialisation options include development of a refinery, a crude oil export pipeline and crude for power generation.
The MoU indicates that UNOC and CNOOC will work together to develop a block in the Albertine Graben in Western Uganda. This implies that more crude oil shall be discovered to support the projected production profile of already discovered resources that are under development as well as to create an avenue for UNOC to grow its exploration capabilities and begin its journey towards a fully-fledged oil company able to perform operatorship roles.
UNOC and CNOOC will kick-start the process of applying for the identified block and start exploration activities as soon as the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development grants them a license.
This partnership is expected to further open up opportunities within and outside of Uganda. UNOC hopes to rely on CNOOC’s experience as a national oil company to grow its capabilities and expertise.
The President of Uganda, HE Yoweri Kaguta Museveni was pleased with the step UNOC and CNOOC have taken in furthering exploration in the Albertine Graben.
Dr Josephine Wapakabulo indicated that UNOC is happy to continue building on a very firm and long-standing relationship between the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of Uganda.
She re-echoed UNOC’s commitment to ensuring sustainable as well commercial exploitation of Uganda’s Crude oil and gas sector. CNOOC reaffirmed its continued commitment to Uganda and working with UNOC to ensure national participation as well as supporting UNOC on its journey to operatorship.
The MoU shall be followed by further commercial agreements and it is hoped that all the relevant approvals will be concluded before end of this year, 2018 to pave way for exploration in 2019.
Uganda has six sedimentary basins are; Albertine Graben (Lake Albert Basin), Hoima Basin, Lake Kyoga Basin, Moroto-Kadam (Elgon – Kadam) Lake Wamala Basin and Lake Victoria Basin.
Like any sedimentary basin they are prerequisites for the presence of oil for geologists, he said. The basins must also be 3,000 meters deep to bury the rocks necessary to contain oil.
So far successful has been done in the Albertine and efforts are being made to begin studies with a view for exploration in the Moroto-Kadam Basin.