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3 Nigerian firms qualify for oil exploration in Uganda



The Ugandan Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development said it has selected three Nigerian firms to explore oil in that country.

The firms are WalterSmithPetroman Oil Ltd., Oranto Petroleum International and Niger Delta Petroleum Resources Ltd.

Uganda disclosed on Monday that it also included an Australian company, Armour Energy Ltd. in its licensing bid for oil search, adding that negotiation is already at an advanced stage..

In  its first competitive bidding round for six exploration blocks, covering a total of 3,000 square kilometres (1,150 square miles), in February 2015, the Nigerian firms were among those favoured for further talks.

Said the ministry, bidding documents were issued to 16 oil firms but only seven submitted bids.

The four companies will negotiate for five production sharing agreements (PSAs) covering four blocks.

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“Negotiations for these PSAs are the final milestone before granting exploration rights,” the ministry said in a statement. Issues for negotiation would include exploration work programmes and how the financial proceeds will be shared.

Crude oil reserves estimated by government geologists at 3.5 billion barrels were discovered in the Albertine rift basin along Uganda’s border with Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in 2006 but production has repeatedly been pushed back.

Spats over taxation, disagreements over field development strategies and delays in erecting infrastructure such as the export pipeline agreed with Tanzania in April have all been blamed.

The jointly developed pipeline will carry Ugandan crude oil to Tanzania’s Indian Ocean port of Tanga for export.

The three oil firms are said to already be operating in Uganda, U K, France and China.



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