Total To Invest $650m On Ugandan Oil Wells

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Total is France’s largest oil company

Following the acquisition of a third of the Ugandan oil blocks belonging to British explorer Tullow Oil, Total plans to expend $650 million on seismic data acquisition and drilling of 9 new exploration wells in the country by the end of next year, Total E&P Uganda’s GM, Loic Laurandel disclosed.

“The first oil exploration well will be drilled by the end of 2012 and eight new exploration wells will be drilled by the end of 2013,” he explained.

Tullow which first discovered oil in Uganda from its Mputa-1 exploration well around the western border the country, recorded a 48 percent rise in first-half pretax profit to $829 million and earlier planned to begin commercial production in the 1.1-billion-barrel field early this year but disagreements with the government over its $472 million tax bill have hampered the independent explorer’s plans.

At its Ngamia rig site in Kenya, where Tullow said it found an estimated three times more volume of oil than its Uganda find, the company began drilling this year.

In February, it completed the sale of a third of its Ugandan interests to Tullow and China’s CNOOC, each, for a total of $2.9 billion.

According to reports, Laurandel while commenting on Total’s activities said: “Total E&P Uganda is currently continuing the exploration, delineation and appraisal campaign initiated by the previous operators.”

Reports reveal Uganda also said it is seeking an advisor to help it secure financing for a refinery with a 120,000 barrels per day capacity, to process its crude.

However, Tullow said that for the fundraising to be attractive to investors, the refinery’s capacity should not exceed 60,000 barrels per day.