“This activity has just commenced and represents a major milestone in the journey towards establishing Uganda as a major oil producing country in East Africa. It proves that oil production will indeed become a reality very soon”.
These were the words that came from Tullow Oil’s Corporate Affairs manager, Jimmy Kiberu, at the commencing of oil tests at Buliisa oil wells last week.
Mr Kiberu was speaking to Bunyoro MPs who were in the area to assess the progress of the oil industry.
The MPs were shown samples of crude oil that has been extracted in the ongoing well testing exercise.
The testing is underway at Kigogole-1 oil well and will also be conducted in the next two to three months at Kasamene-1A, Kigogole-3, and Ngiri-2 wells.
Tullow Oil officials say their target is to commence production by 2015 as the necessary infrastructure has to also be developed.
The Rig Manager at Kigogole-1 oil well, Mr Spencer Lock, said engineers are gathering information regarding well productivity, permeability and distances for development plans. They are also collecting samples of reservoir fluids which will be taken to a laboratory for analysis.
“The information obtained will be used to design the refinery. During that entire period, the well and reservoir pressures will be monitored and recorded,” Mr Kiberu said, adding that engineers are extracting 300-400 barrels of oil per day for testing.
The crude oil is being stored on site in bitutainers until a time when negotiations on the sale and transportation of the crude are finalised.
So far, cement factories have reportedly expressed readiness to purchase the crude oil to use in furnacing but Tullow Oil hasn’t determined the price per barrel.
The company is currently in discussions with the government to review a proposal to sell the crude oil for industrial use.
Tullow Oil has reportedly received approval from Nema and the Petroleum Exploration and Production Department to proceed with the current well-testing programme in Block 2.