13 new oil blocks to be licensed after signing of Bill
Posted Monday, January 28 2013 at 02:00
According to state minister for mineral development, the blocks will be auctioned as soon as President Museveni signs the oil Bill.
The licensing of 13 new oil blocks in the Albertine Graben will commence after the President assents and signs the 2012 Petroleum and Exploration Bill into law, government has announced.
Speaking at last week’s East African Oil and Gas forum, organised by Economic Policy Research Centre –Uganda, Mr Peter Lokeris, the State Minister for Mineral Development, said the government was set to license the new oil blocks to oil companies but were only awaiting for the President to sign the Bill that will lift a moratorium.
Mr Lokeris noted that the planned auction will allow international oil companies to bid for exploration acreage in the oil basin where deposits of up to 3.5 billion barrels of crude oil have been declared and companies like France’s Total E&P, China’s CNOOC Ltd and UK’s Tullow Oil PLC, are already on ground.
“Government delineated a total of 17 oil blocks in the region of which four were licensed before a ban was slapped on any acreage back in 2007. The remaining 13 will be auctioned as soon as the President ratifies the Bill.”
He added that the competitive rounds for new acreage will be guided by the new petroleum law unlike hitherto where fields licensed to oil companies have been reclaimed by government through expiry of licenses, relinquishments and requirements.
The licensing round will be Uganda’s first since a ban was slapped on any further process (licensing) in 2007. As of end of last year, all exploration activities had had up to 87 per cent success rate with 76 wells drilled out of 87.
The existing companies had also announced plans to invest around $10-12 billion to develop the four blocks, although Tullow has since weighed an exiting option citing red tape.