China’s CNOOC eyes oil refinery

An oil well in Buliisa District. Construction of the refinery is expected to be complete by 2016. File Photo.

What you need to know:

The refinery will boost Uganda’s domestic earnings, help fund new infrastructure and provide cheaper energy.

The China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) has expressed interest in investing in Uganda’s oil refinery.

The Chinese State-owned company, expressed interest in the project following meetings with the company chairman Mr Wang Yilin and Prime Minister, Amama Mbabazi, in Beijing last week.

At the meeting, Mr Yilin, whose subsidiary (Cnooc-Uganda Limited) is yet to receive a 25-year licence to commence oil production, expressed the company’s interest in investing in both a refinery complex and the oil pipeline.

Referring to Uganda’s nascent oil and gas sector in a statement, Mr Yilin said he would, “lay a better foundation for other industrial efforts.”

Along with UK’s Tullow PLC and France’s Total S.A, Cnooc is in the final stages of preparing their Field Development Plans (FDPs) for the oil production in the Albertine at reported sum of $12 billion (about Shs31 trillion).

While the Chinese company has all along expressed interests in investing in both the refinery and pipeline projects, while its counterparts remained tight-lipped.

Mr Mbabazi said: “Our desire is not just revenues but achievement of the strategic objectives of transformation, and we needed people that could be reliable and trusted.”

Attempts to get full statement from Cnooc-Uganda Limited were fruitless, as the company spokeswoman did not pick our repeated calls.

However, it was not yet clear if the parties reached a deal.

The government has already agreed to construct a 30,000 barrels-per-day refinery complex in Kabale Sub County in Hoima District for the exiting 3.5 billion barrels of oil discovered so far.

Government estimates the two projects may cost more than $6 billion. However, the refinery will be subsequently increased to 60,000 barrels-per-day by 2018 and 120,000 by 2022.

Meanwhile, the U.S-based firm Taylor Dejongh (TDJ), which won the bid last year to offer transaction guidance and recommendations on the refinery project is still in progress.

The firm, among others, will commend appropriate ownership of the refinery, the associated elements, including; crude and product pipelines terminal and also recommend a suitable investor for the refinery in the public-private partnership deal.

Construction of the refinery is expected to be complete by 2016 while production has been scheduled to start in the same year.


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