| CAPE TOWN
CAPE TOWN Nov 4 Over 10,000 sq km with "high
petroleum potential" has been relinquished in Uganda and will
soon be available for relicencing along with unlicenced areas in
a competitive bidding process, an Africa oil conference heard on
The discovery of commercially viable oil reserves in
land-locked Uganda which are estimated to amount to 2.5 billion
barrels has been a game-changer for the east African region and
sparked a fresh hydrocarbon scramble on the world's poorest
Bernard Ongodia, the chief geophysicist for the country's
petroleum and exploration department, did not say who had
relinquished the licences in a presentation to the Africa
Upstream conference organised by Global Pacific & Partners.
But he said the expected passage soon of a Resource
Management Law would lay the framework for a comptetitive
bidding process in the country's hydrocarbon sector.
He also said that a "feasilbilty study for in country
refining has neen concluded and planning for refinery
development is on-going."
President Yoweri Museveni said in October the country aimed
to start refining its crude products in 2014.
Ongodia told the conference the target was to have the
refinery start output at 20,000 barrels per day (bpd) and
eventually reach 60,000. He said the government was currently
looking for advisors to help with the development of the plan.
Many oil-rich African countries refine little of their own
Ongodia also said the final draft of the country's Petroleum
Resource Bill will be presented to cabinet and parliament for
approval by December.
He said a study that looked at opportunities for Ugandans to
participate in the oil sector had been finalised but he gave no
He also said the government was undertaking a "strategic
environmental assessment" of exploration and hydrocarbon
Firms involved in the nascent oil sector include
London-listed Tullow Oil , Heritage Oil , French
oil company Total and Chinese oil group CNOOC
Last month, Uganda's parliament passed a resolution urging
government to withhold consent to Tullow Oil's proposed
partnership with Total and CNOOC.
That deal, in which Tullow is selling stakes in its Ugandan
exploration properties to the two companies for $2.9 billion, is
expected to unlock a $10 billion investment that will see the
country's oil sector advance into production phase.