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New oil road brings Uganda closer to first oil

An aerial

Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda flew to Hoima by helicopter to commission the Kingfisher Access Road and took this aerial photograph. 

Uganda’s Prime Minister, Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda, last week commissioned the 10-kilometer Ikamiro-Kingfisher road that provides the only access by road to the lone oil field for which a production license has been issued in the Albertine Region.

The road, which meanders along a steep rugged cliff, was constructed by the China Communications Construction Company (CCC) Ltd. Prior to its construction, the area could only be accessed by air and water through Lake Albert. According to junior Energy Minister, Peter Lokeris, the cost of the road will be recovered by the company when oil production commences.

The Kingfisher oil field is operated by CNOOC Uganda Ltd under a Joint Venture Partnership with Total E&P Uganda Ltd and Tullow Oil.

The oil field, locally known as Kajubirizi, was discovered in 2006 and its production licence issued in 2012, initially to Tullow Oil, before a farm out deal passed it on to CNOOC Uganda Ltd the same year. It is one of the 21 oil fields that have been discovered in the country to date.

Dr. Rugunda being welcomed by CNOOC officials. (Photo: F. Mugerwa)

Dr. Rugunda being welcomed by CNOOC officials. (Photo: F. Mugerwa)

While commissioning the new road, Hon. Rugunda expressed optimism that it would play a central role in enabling CNOOC to deliver first oil by 2019.

“The Government and people of Uganda are very expectant of the fast tracked development of this field by CNOOC Uganda Limited so that commercial production can be realized as soon as possible,” he said. “Government expects CNOOC to complete Front End Engineering and Design (FEED) for this field before the end of this year and prepare the field for production in the Financial Year 2018/19,” he told guests who included the Chinese Ambassador to Uganda, Zhao Yali and the Energy Ministry Permanent Secretary, Kabagambe Kaliisa.

The Prime Minister also indicated that more production licenses would be issued soon.

“Government has also been in discussions with Tullow and TOTAL who are operating the other fields with regard to issuing Production Licences for the other petroleum discoveries in the country. These discussions are being finalized and we expect additional production licences to be issued shortly.”

Other oil roads

In addition to this Kingfisher Access Road, the government is currently upgrading other roads in the region to facilitate oil production and commercialisation.

These include the Ikamiro-Kabwooya road which is currently at tendering stage; the Kigumba-Kyenjojo road; the Bulima-Kabwooya road; the Kabwooya-Kyenjojo road; the Mubende-Kagadi-Ndaiga road; and the Hoima-Wanseko road.

The 92-kilometer Hoima-Kaiso-Tonya road that links Hoima town to oil sites in Kabwooya-Kaiso Tonya has already been upgraded to tarmac and is fully operational.

Report by our Hoima Correspondent