Uganda Exploration Activities


There are 6 sedimentary basins in Uganda, out of which the Albertine Graben is the most explored for petroleum discovery, development and production. The Graben forms the northern most part of the western arm of the East African Rift System, stretching from the border with South Sudan in the north to Lake Edward in the south, a distance of over 500km. Other sedimentary basins are: the Hoima Basin, Lake Kyoga Basin, the Kadam-Moroto Basin, Lake Wamala Basin and Lake Victoria Basin.

Within the Albertine Graben, a total of about 6,000-line kilometers of 2D seismic data and about 2,000km2 of 3D seismic data have been acquired. In addition, since 2002, 127 wells have been drilled in the Graben out of which 115 wells encountered oil in multiple reservoir intervals in the subsurface, representing a remarkable drilling success. To-date, 21 discoveries of oil and gas have been made in the country in excellent quality reservoir sands and many of the wells drilled have intersected significant net oil pay which is sometimes in excess of 30m. The oil is generally light to medium gravity (API of approx. 27o to 33o) and sweet, with low Gas-Oil Ratio (GOR) and some associated wax. The discovered resources are currently estimated at a STOIIP of 6.5 billion barrels of oil and about 500 billion cubic feet of gas resources.

Approximately 10% of the petroliferous Albertine Graben is currently licensed to international oil companies. The companies are Tullow Uganda Operations Pty Limited (Tullow), Total Exploration & Production Uganda B.V (Total) and CNOOC Uganda Limited (CNOOC). Each of the listed three companies holds 33.333% equity in the 4 licenses that make up the licensed part of the Albertine Graben. All the three companies have been issued with production licences. CNOOC was issued with a Production Licence for the Kingfisher oil field while Tullow and Total have been issued with 8 Production Licences; 5 licences for Tullow and  3 licences for Total. Government has exercised its rights in the contracts to take up its 15% participating interest in the production licences. This will be managed by the Uganda National Oil Company (UNOC) on behalf of Government.

Government of Uganda and the three partners are currently undertaking the developments necessary for the commercialization of the petroleum resources discovered. The commercialization is planned to include development of a 60,000bbl/day modular refinery starting with an initial processing capacity of 30,000bbl/day, and development of a heated export pipeline. The refinery development is currently progressing with Government and the lead investor having concluded a Project Framework Agreement.

Meanwhile, following the conclusion of the process to identify the least cost route for transporting Uganda's crude oil to the East African coast to access the international market, and agreement that the export pipeline route will be through Tanzania to the Port of Tanga, the two countries signed an Intergovernmental Agreement for the development of the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP). Traversing a distance of 1445 km from Hoima in Uganda to Tanga in Tanzania, the pipeline will be the longest heated pipeline in the world. Other pipelines are planned to be developed in the country. These include; gathering lines from fields to Central Processing Facilities (CPFs), feeder pipelines from the CPFs to collection hub, product pipeline from refinery to central market in Kampala and product pipelines linking Uganda to East African countries.

In addition to the Production Licences mentioned above, three Exploration Licences were issued in 2017 to two companies: Oranto Petroleum Limited and Armour Energy Limited. This followed the successful conclusion of the 1st Licensing Round in the country that commenced in 2015. The three Exploration Licences cover the Ngassa Shallow Play and the Ngassa Deep Play licensed to Oranto Petroleum Limited; and the Kanywataba Exploration Block licenced to Armour Energy Limited.