Uganda sees first barrel of oil in three years

Jul 11, 2006 02:00 AM

The first barrel of crude petroleum could be extracted from South Western Uganda in less than four years, a considerably shorter period than most people had anticipated, according to a senior official in the energy ministry. Hardman Resources has completed flow tests on one well, Waraga-1, which has been confirmed to be able of produce over 12,000 barrels of oil per day. The official said if, eventually, the company decides to start erecting the infrastructural facilities for commercial production, it would take three to five years to have those facilities in place.
"The period can actually be much shorter than that but the problem is that nearly all the materials have to be imported, which lengthens the time," said the official.

Being the first time petroleum production is going to take place in Uganda and in the East African region, a tangle of logistical challenges are expected to slow the pace of development of most of the critical facilities. Before production commences, companies will need to construct a pipeline network, collecting centres, wellheads, a road network and several other structures.
The period between now and the day the first barrel is exported is most critical minding that the nation, poor and underdeveloped, desperately needs the petrol dollars as soon as possible to fatten out its often cash strapped coffers and deliver better welfare to millions of people plagued by disease and hunger.

The official estimated that the ongoing tests could proceed for about 12 months and then Hardman or any other company depending on future developments would start construction of necessary facilities in the area.
Hardman said it had completed flow testing of Waraga-1 well after the uppermost zone of the well-yielded 3,650 bpd at maximum output. The well can cumulatively produce about 12,000 barrels of oil per day. The company will now move the rig to Mputa area for similar operations.

The length of the period for establishment of commercial production facilities and the eventual export of the crude oil will largely be determined by a decision on whether Uganda should construct a refinery or build a pipeline and export crude.
According to The Deputy Commissioner for Petroleum Exploration and Production Department, Mr Ernst Rubondo, there will be examination of factors like costs and market size for petroleum products here before a decision is made on what option to pursue.

Source: The Monitor
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