Infrastructure projects Uganda must undertake for quick oil production

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Amid accusations from British explorer firm Tullow Oil that Uganda was dragging its feet in relation to becoming an oil producer the government is said to be pulling up its socks to try and speed up production. There are even reports that the company is considering selling its blocks to other companies and focus its energy in Kenya which has seen quicker progress.

According to a presentation by principal geologist in the petroleum and production department (PEPD) Dozith Abeinomugisha the government has already established steps needed to bridge especially the infrastructure gap.

Among infrastructure that needs to be in place include the refinery planned for Hoima as well as an oil pipeline to transport refined oil through Kenya.

As regards the refinery the government is yet to lock down a parcel of land as to where it will be set up and must also identify a lead investor in the project.

The proposed 60,000 barrels a day refinery is informed on the current demand in the country that stands at 30,000 barrels a day which is increasing by 2,000 barrels annually.

The government is also yet to put up three central processing facilities CPF needed including one near kingfisher field another in Buliisa and the last at Kaisa-Tonya.

On top of the CPFUganda also needs a storage facility which will store excess crude in periods such as maintenance of the refinery and one is earmarked to be set up in Wakiso district.

This means that another 207 kilometer pipeline also needs to be constructed linking Hoima and Buloba in Wakiso district.

To supply crude oil to the refinery the government also needs to build three pipelines including a 97 kilometer serving Buliisa and Nwoya oil fields, another 50 kilometer pipeline serving wells in Hoima district and a third from Kaiso-Tonya.

According the sector report by the ministry of energy and mineral development last year the construction and development of the crude pipelines would be facilitated by the drilling companies.

Prior to the report the government had also commissioned a study for internal crude pipeline in the country but is yet to develop even the actual designs for the pipelines.

Abeinomugisha also says that the government is considering three proposals for an export pipeline including one going through the Lokichar basin with a possibility of linking it to the pipeline from Southern Sudan.

This route will be 1380 kilometers in length with a storage facility needed in Lokichar and is said to be favored by the majority of east African governments as it would see a joint investment and thus shared burden. It would also reduce duplication of infrastructure.

The other involves a shorter 1300 kilometer pipeline from Hoima through Nairobi to Mombasa or the last proposal to have the pipeline go through Tanzania covering a total of 1950 kilometers.

The country above all must find a way of dealing with the land resettlement as this could hamper the quick launch of the infrastructure projects some of which are expected to take as much as 5 years to complete.

to date Uganda has discovered 3.5 billion barrels of oil.

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Author: Samuel Kamau Mbote

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