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Uganda has announced that it will award more than a dozen oil exploration blocks in 2015 ending an eight year wait since the last licensing.

The announcement by the Petroleum Exploration and Production Department and reported by the Wall Street Journal is planned for the second half of 2015.

The new licensing is expected to attract many international oil companies as the region experiences a boom due to recent discoveries with Uganda having hit oil in 76 out of 88 exploration and appraisal wells drilled.

The licensing was stopped in 2007 as Uganda developed new regulations to govern the sector. Since the ban the country has witnessed a number of oil discoveries with estimated oil reserves now estimated at 3.5 billion barrels.

Since 2007 Uganda has passed two bills with another at the final stages in parliament.

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