Outgoing Total general manager Loic Laurandel has said Uganda could still start oil production in 2018 but a lot of ground work is still needed.
Mr Laurandel, who has been at the helm of the company operations since 2010 and helped establish, Total E&P (Uganda), added that the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed early this year between the government and oil companies, set the momentum for production but infrastructure like more roads need to be put in place.
“Since the MoU was signed, we are holding regular meetings on the implementation and working out a holistic plan of all activities, directly in line with our agreement with government,” Mr Laurandel said early this week.
He added: “There is still a big problem with infrastructure to make everything possible, mainly roads. Some construction has been realised but there are some which we have been identified as critical but works are yet to start.”
Mr Laurandel, who boasts of more than 30 years of experience in various Total affiliates across the world, has raised the company’s footprint in Uganda with estimated investments of $2 billion.
“The 2018 date is certainly achievable but we have a lot on our plate if every one of us (both government and players) delivers with commitment. But off course as players we think the earlier the better because we have invested a lot and would love to see some returns.”
Other critical infrastructure required, alongside roads, include, a rail way line, a $2.5 billion Oil refinery, a $3 billion export and internal pipeline network and Central processing facilities.
The government is already fast-tracking the search process for a lead investor to finance the 60,000 barrels-per-day (Bpd) refinery whose construction is expected to start next year.
The MoU spells out an export pipeline through South Sudan and Kenya, which Mr Laurandel said, several designs for it have been conducted and currently negotiations by government are ongoing.
Total, last year submitted one Field Development Plan (FDP), a basis for awarding a production licence, to government but revealed yesterday, they plan to submit another for Jobi Field area before the end of this month.
Energy minister, Irene Muloni, said recently government is in process of reviewing the company’s FDP and may be awarded a licence soon.