Uganda’s estimated oil reserves rise to 6.5 billion Barrels

Total ImageUganda’s Petroleum resources are now estimated to be at 6.5 billion barrels up from 3.5 billion barrels that was estimated in August 2012.

According to a press statement of Kabagambe Kaliisa, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development that Ultimate Media has seen, the increase in the estimated petroleum resources is as a result of the evaluation of the data and information acquired by the Oil Companies licensed in the country during the ongoing appraisal of the discoveries in the Albertine Graben.

Of this estimated 6.5 billion barrels of oil in place, 1.4 billion barrels of oil are estimated to be recoverable. Previously, recoverable oil was estimated at 1.2 billion barrels from 3.5 billion barrels of oil initially in place.

“The reduction in the ratio between the oil in place and recoverable oil is mainly due to an improved understanding of the nature of the petroleum reservoirs in Uganda through the appraisal work undertaken on each of the discoveries.” Kaliisa explains

500 billion cubic feet of non-associated gas (independent gas) is also now estimated to have been discovered in Uganda. This translates to about 90 million barrels of oil equivalent.

“This gas can be processed and utilized in several ways including generation of electricity; production of Liquefied Petroleum Gas which is used for cooking or welding, supporting production of iron and steel and production of fertilizers.” The statement reads

Additional gas is also expected to be produced as associated Gas (gas dissolved within the oil) when production of oil commences.  So far the estimates of associated gas based on the Oil Gas Ratios for the different fields in the Albertine Graben is 173 Billion Cubic Feet of Gas.   This volume is very dependent on how the production of oil in the different fields will be carried out.

According to the statement the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development together with the oil companies are continuing to evaluate proposals for Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR).

World over, the average recovery rate is at 30%. However, some oil fields in countries like Norway and the USA have achieved recoverability of up to 60%.

Recoverability of oil depends on several factors which include; reservoir quality, oil properties (including viscosity) and the technology used in production of the oil. Reservoir quality mainly depends on the type of rock, its consolidation, porosity and permeability.

Kaliisa says licensed oil companies in Uganda are working with Government in carrying out studies to determine the most suitable Enhanced Oil Recovery method applicable to the discoveries in the Albertine Graben.

“Improved technology such as the use of gas injection, steam flooding and injection, polymer flooding and microbial injection have the potential to increase the recovery factor and therefore will be adopted if suitable in the circumstances” Kaliisa asserts

The methods used for Enhanced Oil Recovery need to be closely evaluated as they have an impact on the cost of oil production.  Enhancement methods need to take into consideration the actual cost of oil on the world market so as to balance the economic aspects of producing the oil.

Uganda has so far made a total of 21 oil and gas discoveries.   Exploration work has only been undertaken in less than 40% of the Albertine Graben which is the most prospective sedimentary basin in the country.

Appraisal work on the final four of the twenty one discoveries is still ongoing and is expected to be completed before the end of 2014.

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