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Uganda Starts Oil Drilling Today

CNOOC and TotalEnergies bosses pose by the drilling rig

By Assad Mugenyi

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Uganda will start drilling oil for production today when President Yoweri Museveni officially commissions the rig at the Kingfisher oil field located in Kikuube district.

The watershed moment comes almost two decades after the first commercial discovery of oil was made in Uganda on January 6, 2006 and six years since the first Production Licenses (PLs) were issued.

It also comes less than a year after the announcement of the Final Investment Decision (FID) for Uganda’s oil and gas projects on February 1, 2022, which unlocked the inflow of US$15 billion into the country’s economy.

Announcing the planned launch last week, Ruth Nankabirwa, the Minister of Energy and Mineral Development, said the development plan for the Kingfisher field includes the onshore drilling of 31 wells from four well pads. The deepest well is over seven kilometres deep.

“The oil and gas resources will then be produced from 20 wells, with 11 water injection wells to maintain pressure to support production,” she said.

Chinese company CNOOC is the lead operator for Kingfisher.

The Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) work and services for the Kingfisher Development Area (KFDA) project were subdivided into four packages including pre-drilling civil works, oil field infrastructure, oil field production facilities, and installing the KFDA project feeder line, with completion rates between 19.49 per cent and 46.53 per cent.

In addition to the four EPC work packages, several contracts for works, goods and services for drilling and completions for developing and producing wells have been awarded to various companies.

The drilling rig for the KFDA, LR8001, arrived in Mombasa on September 12, 2022, and a total of 280 trucks delivered it in bits at the Pad-2 site in the Kikuube district. Its erection and installation works were concluded in November 2022 and third-party inspections were subsequently conducted.

The development and production of oil and gas resources in Uganda is undertaken through the Tilenga (operated by TotalEnergies) and Kingfisher projects. The seven fields in the Tilenga project are expected to have a peak production of 190,000 barrels per day, whereas the Kingfisher field will have a plateau of 40,000 barrels per day at First Oil.

Uganda has so far discovered about 6.5 billion barrels of oil, with 1.4 billion barrels of those recoverable, of which 1.04 billion barrels are classified as reserves. Recoverable gas resources are estimated at 500 billion cubic feet.

The country hopes to produce its first oil in early 2025.

(Reporting by Assad Mugenyi. Email: mugenyi.assad@gmail.com)

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Deep Earth
Deep Earth International critically examines developments in the extractive and energy sectors in Uganda and the wider East African region. Drawing from the vast experience of its founders who have each covered and written about these sectors for at least fifteen years, this website is the go-to platform for anyone seeking to get a better understanding of the same.

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