Uganda to offer 60 pct stake in refinery to investor
KAMPALA Oct 8 (Reuters) - Uganda is seeking an investor to fund and operate its planned $2.5 billion refinery that will move the east African country closer to pumping reserves discovered seven years ago.
Uganda hopes to become a top-50 global oil producer after Tullow Oil and its then partner Heritage Oil found oil in the Albertine rift basin along the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Robert Kasande, a senior official at the country's ministry of energy, told Reuters in an interview the investor will take 60 percent of the refinery and the government will hold the rest.
East African neighbours like Kenya have been offered 10 percent of the project to be hived off the government's share, Kasande added.
"We are looking for somebody with prior experience and technical expertise in investing in a refinery," said Kasande, a deputy commissioner at the petroleum exploration and production department.
Interested firms will have a month to submit their bids, he said, with winners being selected by April next year.
Egyptian private equity firm Citadel Capital has expressed interest in the project in the past.
China's CNOOC received the first production licence for the country's reserves that government officials estimate stand at 3.5 billion barrels.
"Our estimate is that by 2017-2018 the refinery should be ready and that time is in line with the first production licence that we just handed out," Kasande said.
French petroleum firm Total is also prospecting in Uganda and Tullow is awaiting government approval of its applications for six production licences.
Uganda agreed earlier to a plan to build a pipeline from its oilfields to a new port being developed on Kenya's northern coast to pump extra crude that will not be processed locally.
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