Expedite oil exploration,  Nankabirwa tells new UNOC board 

The new board chaired by Mathias Katamba will be expected to fast-track UNOC's agenda to explore oil. Photo / File 

What you need to know:

  • UNOC acquired an exploration license for the Kasuruban Block in the Albertine Graben in February 2023 during the second licensing round

Energy Minister Ruth Nankabirwa has asked the new Uganda National Oil Company (UNOC) board to expedite the issue of oil exploration to ensure the sustainability of Uganda’s oil and gas sub-sector. 

UNOC acquired an exploration license for the Kasuruban Block in the Albertine Graben in February 2023 in the second licensing round, in which five blocks including Ngaji, Turaco, Avivi, Kasuraban, and Omuka had been made available.

Little has been heard about the exploration activity since, almost a year into the licensing. 

However, while speaking during the innuaguartion of the new board chaired by Mathias Katamba, Ms Nankabirwa said the acquisition of an exploration licence had sought to advance Uganda’s in-depth expertise in the oil and gas sector to make oil a sustainable resource. 

Therefore, she said there was need for UNOC to get involved as fast as possible to ensure sustainability. 

“The license needs to be executed immediately. We want to see UNOC getting involved in the exploration to ensure sustainability. This is expected to be done by the new board as soon as possible,” she said.

The Kasuruban Block in western Uganda, straddles through the districts of Hoima, Buliisa, and Masindi, making it the biggest of the five blocks that were announced in the second licensing round. The block covers more than 1,285 kilometres in the three districts. 

While signing the production sharing agreement last year, Ms Nankabirwa said UNOC would help Uganda to ensure oil production sustainability and economic viability, with the agreement providing for a Petroleum Exploration Licence of six years, split into three exploration periods of two years each.

The license also provided a minimum work period, in which there would be reprocessing of existing seismic data, acquisition of new seismic data, interpretation of seismic and oil well data, and drilling of at least two exploration wells. 

Government also revealed that UNOC had paid the required fees for signature bonus, research and training fees per year, and annual acreage rental fees for the first exploration period for the Kasurubani Contract Area. 

Six-year licence

UNOC paid $100,000 (Shs368m) for the signature bonus and $25,700 (Shs94.7m) for the Kasurubani Contract Area to a six year petroleum exploration licence.