UNOC seeks to strengthen oil drilling capacity

UNOC wants to boost its expertise to levels where it can favourably compete with the likes of CNOOC and Total Energies. Photo / File 

What you need to know:

  • UNOC seeks to strengthen oil drilling capacity The Uganda National Oil Company want to get into spaces that are currently occupied by the likes of CNOOC and Total Energies

Uganda National Oil Company (UNOC) has sought the services of China Oilfield Services to build the country’s oil drilling capacity, and engage in the oilfield services business.

In a memorandum of understanding signed between the two entities, UNOC will receive specialised training in exploration, drilling and engineering audits. 

China Oilfield Services is a tier one contractor currently involved at the KingFisher Area in spudding, operating the oil rig and drilling of the 31 oil wells in Kikuube District. 

Kingfisher is under China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC).

Ms Proscovia Nabbanja, the UNOC chief executive officer, also confirmed at least three oil wells have undergone spudding in preparation for drilling. Spudding refers to the process of beginning to drill an oil well.

“The technical teams are evaluating how much oil is in those wells but China Oilfield Services will be at the forefront of drilling the different wells within Kingfisher. The target is to drill 31 wells so that we see first oil by 2025,” Ms Nabbanja said.

UNOC, which was granted an exploration license by the Energy Ministry, is expected to secure a joint venture to explore oil in Kasurubani, which stretches 1,285 square kilometres in Masindi, Buliisa and Nwoya districts.

Ms Nabbanja did not rule out seeking services of China Oilfield Services during exploration. The memorandum covers two years with a possibility of an extension.

“We want to be like CNOOC or Total Energies,” Ms Nabbanja said, noting that the highly technical services will help UNOC build a business case to participate in key projects such as the pipeline and upstream projects. 

China Oilfield Services runs a global footprint of oilfield services such as drilling and exploration.  

Mr William Zhong, the China Oilfield Services head of marketing, said the memorandum seeks to build momentum for good cooperation, especially in the petroleum industry.

“From our side, we provide integrated services from exploration to decommissioning of [oil] wells, so we commit to provide the training and knowledge exchange for better relationships,” he said.