Total, UNOC to consider third licensing round of oil blocks

Uganda launched the second licensing round for petroleum exploration in May 2019. Photo | File 

What you need to know:

According to Mr Phillipe Groueix, Total Energies are considering participating in the third licensing round after close scrutiny of what is likely to be offered. 

Total Energies and Uganda National Oil Company (UNOC) have expressed interest in the third licensing round of new oil blocks in the Albertine Graben, and Karamoja sub region.

Speaking at the launch of Total’s Action for Sustainability campaign in Kampala, Mr Phillipe Groueix, the Total Energies general manager, said they were considering participating in the third licensing round after close scrutiny of what is likely to be offered.

“I don’t know what will be offered, but we will look at it as usual, and consider whether to participate,” he said, noting that Total’s sustainability campaign seeks to showcase initiatives being undertaken to ensure sustainable development of the oil and gas resources. 

Mr Peter Muliisa, the UNOC legal and corporate affairs manager, said they are waiting on the Ministry of Energy to publish oil blocks to be offered.

“We haven’t seen the [oil] blocks to be included in the next licensing round, but once the ministry publishes them, and we identify some that are active, and are within our plan, we should be able to participate,” he said. 

The Energy Ministry plans to launch the third licensing round for exploration of oil blocks in March next year. 

Ms Irene Bateebe, the Ministry of Energy permanent secretary, recently said government was exploring other basins that have potential to hold oil and gas.  

“We are currently undertaking exploration work in the Moroto-Kadam basin [in Karamoja] to ascertain the petroleum potential,” she said, noting that the Ministry of Energy was also awaiting Cabinet approval to kick start new exploration activities. 

In 2019, government embarked on the second licensing round, which culminated in grant of licenses to UNOC, and Australia’s DGR Global

Mr Muliisa said, UNOC applied for two oil blocks in the second licensing round, but secured one blocks, noting that negotiations for Production Sharing Agreements with government had been concluded and approved. 

UNOC will undertake exploration of the Kasurubani oil blocks south of Victoria Nile in Buliisa, Hoima and Masindi districts, while DGR will explore the Turaco oil block in Ntoroko District, 

Early this year UNOC finalised an application for an exploration license with CNOOC, to undertake possible oil reserves exploration in the Pelican-Crane offshore block in Ntoroko District.  

Uganda launched the second licensing round for petroleum exploration during the ninth East African Petroleum Conference and Exhibition in Mombasa, Kenya in May 2019.

This licensing round covered five blocks in the Albertine Graben among which included Block 01 Avivi Area, Block 02 Omuka, Kasuruban, Block 04 Turaco and Block 05 Ngaji. 

Majority of these blocks are in the northern tip of Lake Albert across Nebbi, Nwoya, Buliisa, Masindi and Kiryandongo districts.