KAMPALA Feb 6 Uganda will sign a memorandum of
understanding on Thursday with Britain's Tullow Oil,
France's Total and China's CNOOC, an Energy
Ministry spokesman said, in a vital step towards starting oil
production in the country
East Africa's third-largest economy struck hydrocarbon
deposits in 2006 but commercial production has been delayed and
is not expected to start until 2016 at the earliest. Analysts
blame the delay on negotiations over a planned refinery.
The pact is expected to detail facilities that need to be
put in place, such as pipelines and a refinery, and flow rates
for oil fields, before actual production can start.
"It's the signing of the MoU between the Ugandan government
and the three oil companies," ministry spokesman Bukenya-Matovu
Yusuf told Reuters, after the ministry issued an invitation to a
Energy Minister Irene Muloni said last month that developing
Uganda's oil fields and building infrastructure would cost
between $15 billion and $22 billion, although there were plans
to try to reduce that.
Uganda has agreed to build a pipeline that will run to
Kenya's planned new Indian Ocean port of Lamu, which is expected
to become an export terminal for crude from Uganda, Kenya and
other regional states.