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Oil Production on the Radar

Official oil drilling begins on December 15th, CNOOC officials confirmed to the Energy, and  Mineral Development Minister, Hon Ruth Nankabirwa during a visit to the King Fisher Development Area. During this visit, the minister also commissioned the new drilling Rig LR 8001 and its testing to ensure that the machines work perfectly.    

The drilling means gathering the hydrocarbons from far most points within the rocks from over 400 wells. Once the Central Processing Facility (CPF) and the necessary pipelines are ready, then, the valves will be turned on – production begins as expected in 2025. 

The rig material was shipped into the country in September by Ugandan logistics companies. The rig was assembled at the CNOOC’s operation area in Kikuube.

Similarly, the Tilenga rigs are in the country. 


The government of Uganda issued the first oil production license to produce CNOOC in September 2013 following satisfactory appraisal works. The company commenced Front Ende Engineering Designs (FEED) which were completed.

Subsequently, the government also issued TotalEnergies the production licenses in 2016 September for the Tilenga project. TotalEnergies also carried out FEED that was satisfactory to the government. 

The companies and government were involved in protracted legal and commercial discussions whose end climaxed in the signing of the Final Investment Decision(FID) in early February 2022.  

The timelines 

When oil was discovered in 2006,  it was envisaged in the National Oil and Gas Policy, that production of 4,000 barrels of oil per day under the Early Production Scheme would lead to the production of kerosene and diesel for direct sale into the local markets and heavy fuel for electricity generation, but that proposal was scrapped in 2009 after donors objected to putting infrastructure in a protected area.

The government envisaged that mega production would then start in 2015 after substantial volumes of oil and gas were discovered. Uganda has 6.5bn barrels of oil in place with 1.4-1.7 billion barrels recoverable. This volume represents 40% of the entire Albertine Graben, an area stretching 500km along the DRC,  the South Sudan borders. It is 45km wide across the rift valley

The oil production timelines were moved forward to 2018,   2020, and 2022. Optimism is ripe that will be achieved in 2025.  

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