Tullow, Partners May Invest $14 Billion in Uganda Oil Fields

Tullow Oil Plc and its partners expect to invest as much as $14 billion developing oil fields in Uganda, General Manager Jimmy Mugerwa said.

Tullow, an exploration company based in London, is working with Total SA of France and China’s Cnooc Ltd. to develop fields that the government estimates contain 6.5 billion barrels of oil resources. Crude production may begin as early as 2017 and is expected to reach 200,000 barrels per day by about 2020, according to the World Bank.

“With the partner companies, we are looking at $8 to $10 billion for the upstream and $3 to $4 billion when we start the pipeline construction,” Mugerwa said in an interview Thursday in Kigali, the capital of neighboring Rwanda.

Uganda, where oil was discovered in 2006, announced last week it will sell its first round of exploration licenses later this year after lifting a permitting moratorium that has been in place since 2007. Cnooc was the first company to be issued with a license, while applications for other companies are still pending. Tullow expects to make a final investment decision for work in Uganda by the end of 2015 or early 2016, Chief Executive Officer Aidan Heavey said in November.

Six oil blocks are on offer in the so-called Albertine Graben, on Uganda’s border with the Democratic Republic of Congo. More than 400 companies, both domestic and foreign, have expressed an interest in the acreage during preliminary stages, Energy Minister Irene Muloni told reporters on Feb. 24.

Tullow, which has drilled 79 wells in Uganda, is evaluating the licensing round, Mugerwa said.

“The bids are still open, but right now, nothing is concrete,” he said.

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