Uganda’s cabinet has approved the auction of six new exploration blocks in the oil rich Albertine basin in what will see the country’s first competitive bidding round.
The new shift follows the passing of the Petroleum Exploration Development and Production Act 2013 Section 52 which allows the State Minister for Energy with the approval of Cabinet announce areas open for bidding for a petroleum exploration licence.
Under Uganda’s law the Minister shall, within fifteen days of approval by Cabinet under report to Parliament all areas open for bidding for a petroleum exploration licence with the announcement published in the Gazette and in newspapers of national and international circulation and in other electronic and print media thereafter.
State Minister for Energy, Eng. Simon D’ujanga informed parliament this week that the government would allow bidding in six blocks including Semiliki and Kanywataba blocks in Ntoroko District, Ngassa block in Hoima district, Taitai and Karuka block in Buliisa district, Mvule block in Yumbe and Moyo districts and Ngaji block in Kanungu and Rukungiri districts.
Following the announcement and applications by interested exploration companies the Minister shall in consultation with the Authority, process all applications for exploration licence expeditiously and in any case not later than one hundred and eighty days after receipt of the application.
The law allows interested parties to apply for not more than 10 blocks at any particular time meaning that one company may show interest in all the six blocks up for auction.
Companies are awarded a block for a period not exceeding three years after which can receive license renewals for a subsequent period not exceeding two years with the maximum renewals pegged at two times.
Where no applications are received despite invitations for bids being called out for three times the minister can however ask for direct applications.
VIEW STATUS OF LICENSING IN THE ALBERTINE GRABEN OF UGANDA