President Yoweri Museveni has commissioned the first of the oil drilling rigs in the Albertine’s Kingfisher area operated by Uganda’s oil Joint Venture partner CNOOC.
The event which took place in Buhuka Kikuube district on Tuesday has been described as one of the major milestones as the Chinese developer promised to deliver first oil by 2025.
CNOOC plans to use the commissioned rig to dill part of the 31 well pads from which oil will be extracted once production kicks off. The President said Uganda will continue to develop its oil and gas resources alongside other sources of energy.
President Museveni used the occasion to allay fears that the Oil being developed by Uganda may not be marketable given the debate to shift from fossil fuels to cleaner energy options.
Uganda’s crude reserves are estimated at 6.5 billion barrels, of which 1.4 billion barrels are recoverable. According to the President, the 6.5 billion so far discovered is less than half of the area under exploration.
The commissioning of the drilling rig for the Kingfisher Development Project(KDF) has sent excitement among sections of Ugandans. Some think oil production should begin in the coming weeks. Some have wondered why CNOOC should begin drilling when the construction of the refinery meant to refine crude oil from King Fisher and Tilenga projects has not begun.
And equally when the East African Crude Oil Pipeline meant to export crude to the international market has not taken off. Others have asked where the crude oil will go in the absence of the two commercialization projects inform of the pipeline and the refinery.
The Executive Director of the Petroleum Authority of Uganda (PAU), Earnest Rubondo explained that in order to produce the volumes that are expected from the Kingfisher and Tilenga projects, drillings of the wells for production have to be done in advance.
Those volumes require production from many wells. So you need to start drilling these wells early. So that when the day of production reaches, you begin to have production from the different wells. So according to Rubondo the drilling that has been commissioned is for the first production well that will produce oil in the Kingfisher field.
Construction of the Kingfisher project is being undertaken by a joint venture of China Offshore Oil Engineering Company and China Petroleum and Construction Corporation.