Uganda cabinet approves first open- bid licensing round for Petroleum Exploration

Simon D'UjangaCabinet has approved plans to open up six blocks in the Albertine Graben for licensing in the country’s first competitive bidding round.

State Minister for Energy, Eng. Simon D’ujanga, informed parliament last week that preparations for this bidding round commenced after the new law was put in place and were now culminating with the submission of a report on the plans to Parliament.

The six blocks are; Semiliki and Kanywataba blocks in Ntoroko District, Ngassa block in Hoima district, Taitai and Karuka block in Buliisa district, Mvule block in Yumbe and Moyo districts and Ngaji block in Kanungu and Rukungiri districts.

The acreage up for licensing comprises of areas where previous exploration efforts have been undertaken.

Heritage Oil and Gas drilled two wells on the Turaco discovery located in the Semliki block. The Kanywataba prospect area reverted to government in 2012 after the area operator CNOOC drilled a dry well. Ngassa discovery was also reclaimed by government last year after Tullow’s exploration license expired having drilled two successful wells on the discovery.

In the Mvule prospect Area, Neptune Petroleum’s license expired after drilling one dry well in 2012. Dominion Uganda Limited (DUL) did not encounter oil in the well drilled on Ngagi prospect area in 2010.  All these areas have good coverage of seismic data acquired by previous licensees.

The Petroleum (Exploration, Development and Production) Act, 2013 provides for licensing of areas with the potential for petroleum production in the country to be undertaken through open, transparent and competitive bidding.  Mozambique, Tanzania and Angola together with Norway, UK and India have also recently held licensing rounds.

Government plans to invite companies to participate in this licensing round during the first quarter of 2015.

Source: Petroleum Exploration and Production Department under the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development 

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