Energy minister Irene Muloni last week reiterated Uganda government’s commitment to join the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) “as a full time member” by 2020.
Uganda expects to have joined the league of oil producing countries by that time.
Ms Muloni, who also presented at the 3rd OPEC and non-OPEC ministerial meeting and 73rd OPEC Meeting in the Austrian capital Vienna, highlighted the country’s strides towards oil production from the previous phases of exploration and appraisals to the ongoing frenzied development activities to pave way for production.
“To date, commercial petroleum resources have been confirmed in Uganda, and are estimated at 6.5 billion barrels of crude oil in place, with an estimated 1.4 – 1.7 billion barrels of recoverable reserves. The recoverable reserves are expected to increase with the implementation of high-end technologies to enhance recovery”, Ms Muloni revealed.
These, she said had been discovered in only 20 per cent of the Albertine Graben, which is Uganda’s most prospective sedimentary basin.
Current oil reserves stand at 6.5 billion barrels with production awaiting up to $8b (Shs27 trillion) in among other infrastructures, the proposed crude export pipeline from Hoima in mid-western Uganda to Tanga port in Tanzania, phased 60,000 barrels per day (bpd) refinery, and development of oil fields.
Following last year’s awarding of production licences to Total, Tullow, and Cnooc (in 2013), technical studies are being undertaken for development of the 14 oil fields.
Ms Muloni, further commended the role played by OPEC, a 14-member country cartel of select oil producing countries, since the 1960s, in ensuring stable oil prices on the international market.
“OPEC was conceived at such a critical time of transition in the international economic and political landscape. This was a time characterized by extensive decolonization and the birth of many new independent states in the developing world.”
African countries in OPEC include Libya, Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea, Algeria and Angola. As of 2016 all OPEC members combined accounted for 44 per cent of global oil production and 73 per cent of the world’s “proven oil reserves”—1.2 trillion giving the body enormous influence in decisions related to the oil industry.
Ms Muloni went on to say: “Countries needed economic emancipation through exploitation of their natural resources in a proper and profitable manner. The role of OPEC in ensuring this realisation cannot be over-emphasized.”
Speaking at the third edition of the International oil and gas conference in Kampala two months ago, Ms Muloni revealed that Uganda had taken decision to join OPEC after consultations with some member countries like Equatorial Guinea.
“When we start producing our oil, we will join OPEC, to reap the benefits from being a member of the organization, these include stability of prices,” she said.
“We remain on course to deliver first oil in 2020,” Ms Muloni told the conference at Serena Hotel.
Equatorial Guinean minister of Mines, Industry and Energy Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, who officiated the conference at the Kampala Serena Hotel, advised Uganda to consider joining OPEC even when it has not yet begun oil production.