Energy Permanent Secretary , Robert Kasande (L) , an officer from Oranto and fomer Energy Miniister , Irene Muloni
The Energy Ministry is expected to conclude negotiations with oil companies qualified to operate new blocks in the Albertine Graben.
The meeting at Serena Hotel Kigo is an important development towards the conclusion of the long-awaited second round licensing of oil blocks. Energy and Mineral Development Ministry Permanent Secretary, Robert Kasande is expected to steer the process on the government side.
The then Energy Minister, Engineer Irene Muloni announced the second licensing round in May 2019 hoping that process would be completed in September of the same year. The blocks on offer included Avivi in Arua, Omuka in Nebbi, Kasuruban located between Buliisa and Packwach) Turaco in Ntoroko District and Ngaji stretching along the borders of Bushenyi, Rubirizi and Ntungamo.
The entire process should have been completed by the end December with the award of exploration licenses to the successful bidders but almost went on halt as the COVID-19 pandemic struck.
Four out of the six companies that submitted bids were successful having met the requirements in the Request for Qualification (RFQ). The successful bidders include Total E & P Activities Petrolieres, France. DGR Global Limited, Australia, Uganda National Oil Company Limited (UNOC), Joint Venture of PetroAfrik Energy Resources East Africa Ltd, Uganda and Niger Delta Petroleum Resources Ltd, Nigeria.
The meeting at the shores of Lake Victoria is expected to discuss the Request for Proposal (RFP) and the Modal Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA) documents.
The last licencing round in 2015, since the new petroleum regulatory regime came into force in 2013, attracted about 17 prospective oil companies and was concluded in 2016 with only Australia’s Armour Energy Limited and Nigeria’s Oranto.
Multiple petroleum discoveries in the Albertine Graben are estimated to contain 6.5 billion barrels of oil, of which 1.4 billion are considered recoverable – foreign investments into the country are expected to reach nearly $20 billion. The acreages on offer have become more attractive since Tullow Oil announced the sale of its entire stake in the Lake Albert Development Project to Total.