History of Petroleum Exploration in Uganda
The Early Efforts (Pre-1980)
In 1925, Petroleum Potential of Uganda was documented by a Government Geologist E.J. Wayland, in the publication “Petroleum in Uganda”. The report documented existence of oil seepages along the shores of Lake Albert in on both Uganda and DRC sides.
In 1936 -1956, the first shallow stratigraphic wells were drilled by the African – European Investment Company. The first deep well, Waki B-1 well was drilled in Butiaba, in 1938 and encountered bitumen. Twenty (20) Shallow wells were drilled in Kibiro and Kibuku areas for geological correlation and these are documented by Harris et al 1956. Geological surveys and Mines Department, during the 1940’s and 50’s established the presence of sedimentary sequences in the Albertine Graben (Memoirs of the Geological Survey, 1959).
The period 1945 – 1980 is referred to as the period of Limited Activity because of the Second world -war, change in policies of colonial masters where East Africa was zoned for Agriculture coupled with post-independence political uncertainties and instability in the Country.
Consistent and modern efforts commenced in 1983 with the acquisition of 9,578-line km of aeromagnetic data that identified three depo centres along the entire length of the Graben and have been going on.
Other achievements that have been made in this era are highlighted in the table below.
Petroleum (Exploration and Production) Act is enacted
World Bank Credit to support to Petroleum Exploration Promotion
Commencement of specialized training in petroleum aspects
Cooperation Agreement between Uganda and DRC for Joint Exploration and Development of Common fields signed
A PSA between Fina Exploration Uganda b.v and Government signed. Fina takes the entire Albertine Graben
Formation of Petroleum Exploration and Production Department; PEPD carried out ground geological and geophysical surveys in areas identified by the aeromagnetic data. Data acquired was used to Promote the Albertine Graben for investment
Petroleum (Exploration and Production) (Conduct of Exploration Operations) Regulations, 1993 came into force.
Licensing of Exploration Area 3 (Semliki Basin), to Heritage Oil and Gas Limited (HERITAGE)
HERITAGE acquires the first 2-D seismic data (170-line km) in Uganda.
Hardman Resources and Energy Africa is licensed Exploration Area 2 (Northern Lake Albert Basin)
2002 – 2004
Drilling of Turaco wells by HERITAGE and ENERGY AFRICA, the first deep wells in the basin to encounter oil and gas.
HERITAGE is licensed to Exploration Area 1(Pakwach basin).
Exploration Area 5 (The Rhino Camp Basin) is licensed to Neptune Petroleum (Tower Resources).
Drilling of Mputa-1 well by Hardman and Energy Africa in Kaiso-Tonya area.
Hardman Petroleum Pty (now Tullow) makes the first commercial discovery well in Kayiso Tonya area.
Hardman Petroleum Pty (now Tullow) signs an MOU with Government for an Early Production Scheme (EPS) for oil production, Seniorping plant; and Thermal Power generation ~ 50-85MW.
Dominion Petroleum is licensed to Exploration Area 4B.
Cabinet approves the National Oil and Gas Policy;
2010 – 2012
Farm-out of Heritage oil and Gas to Tullow and Farm-in of Total E & P Uganda and CNOOC Uganda Limited
Production License over Kingfisher issued
Petroleum (Exploration, Development and Production) Act 2013 enacted
In addition to Kingfisher, Total and Tullow submit applications for possible award of Production Licenses over sixteen (16) discoveries
A Memorandum of Understanding on Commercialisation was signed between Government and Licensed oil companies which under pinned the three principles options of crude for export, refinery and crude for power.
Appointment of the Board of Directors for the Petroleum Authority of Uganda
Uganda had the first competitive licensing round for 6 blocks in the Albertine Graben, that culminated into the licencing of Armour Energy Limited (Australia) and Oranto Petroleum Limited (Nigeria)
Six (6) Production Licenses issued to Tullow Uganda Operations Pty and three (3) Production licences issued to Total E & P Uganda
Appointment of Executive Director for the Petroleum Authority of Uganda
Seven sets of Upstream and Midstream Petroleum Regulation issued
The Hoima to Tanga Crude oil pipeline routing agreed
Appointment of Directors for the Petroleum Authority of Uganda
FEED for Upstream Facilities and also for EACOP were launched
IGA for EACOP was signed between Uganda and Tanzania and foundation stone laid
New exploration Licenses issued to Armour Energy Limited (Australia) and Oranto Petroleum Limited (Nigeria).