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Uganda Seeks China Help in Oil Exploration, Drilling

Source: www.gulfoilandgas.com 11/6/2006, Location: Africa

Uganda is seeking China's help in oil exploration and drilling following positive exploration results early this year that indicated the county is endowed with commercial oil reserves, state-owned media reported Saturday.

Early this year, Australian based Hardman Resources exploration results in Uganda's limited portion of the oil exploration block at the shores of Lake Albert in western Uganda indicated that between 100 million-300 million barrels of oil were established in the areas that have so far been explored, with some 30 million barrels of recoverable crude.

According to a government report, the oil fields which have partially been explored represent only 6% of Block II which is one of the six blocks of the whole Western Rift Valley oil system.

Uganda's Oil Development plan is expected to be ready in six months following an agreement between government and UK based Tullow Oil (TQW.DB), to fast track the oil mining plan as the country seeks to end the current power crisis in the country.

Tullow Oil is currently working on the plan which is expected to be complete by 2007 to pave way for the construction of a min-diesel refinery; the refinery is expected to be completed by 2009 to pave way for the commencement of oil drilling, said Uganda's minister of Energy and Minerals, Daudi Migeroko who is currently in China accompanying the president.

According to government, after the development plan, the country will commence on an 'Early Oil Production Scheme' which will be guided by the National Gas and Oil Policy currently being formulated.

The early Oil Production Scheme will involve setting up a mini-refinery to process a moderate amount of crude oil to produce diesel, kerosene and heavy oil as well as developing a heavy fuel oil-based power plant for producing cheap electricity using heavy oil at a cost of about six U.S. cents per unit compared with the present 24 U.S. cents per unit of electricity using imported diesel. The report further said the country is targeting to start oil drilling by producing around 14,000 barrels of oil per day which is later expected to rise to around 40,000 barrels a day. Data from the ministry indicates Uganda consumes around 10,313 barrels of oil per day. Uganda spends up to $500 million a year on oil imports.

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