On Tuesday, January 24, 2023, President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni launched Uganda’s first oil drilling rigs at a site in the Kingfisher project area, one of the country’s two commercial oil development areas in Kikube district, as the country races to meet its target of first oil output in 2025.
The launched rig will be used to drill a total of 31 wells in Kingfisher, while three other rigs to be deployed later in the Tilenga project area will drill a total of 426 production wells, according to the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development.
The Kingfisher Development Area (KFDA) covers the Kingfisher field located in Kikuube District, with plans for future tie-ins of Mputa-Nzizi-Waraga fields in Kaiso-Tonya and Hoima districts.
In his speech, the President thanked the Chinese government, CNOOC, and other partners for the progress so far. He also appreciated the French government for not making trouble.
The President also encouraged locals to grow food crops and vegetables for people involved in the oil business to eat.
He discouraged people from encroaching on the Bugoma forest because it is a big water catchment area and is crucial to the cycle.
The work programmes implemented by the KFDA project and monitored by the Authority so far include subsurface optimization and studies, front-end engineering and design (FEED), environment and social impact assessment (ESIA), land acquisition, tendering of engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) together with drilling and completions, and geotechnical surveys.
The 60.5-meter-tall Kingfisher oil rig will enable the country to drill its first oil well ahead of commercial production in 2025.
The Board Secretary for the Petroleum Authority of Uganda, Ernest Rubondo, said that the total estimated revenue from the project stands at 6.79 billion dollars.
Rubondo encouraged Ugandans to support the project to also benefit from the available opportunities.
The Chinese Ambassador to Uganda, H.E. Zhang Lizhong, thanked the Ugandan government for providing a favourable environment for investors, and more importantly, for Chinese investors in Uganda.
He also appreciated Uganda’s efforts in maintaining peace in the region and promised more China-Uganda relations in terms of exports to China, tourists from China, and above all, support for infrastructural development.
At its peak, Uganda plans to produce about 230,000 barrels of crude oil per day.
Uganda’s crude oil reserves are estimated at 6.5 billion barrels, of which 1.4 billion are recoverable.
Uganda discovered commercial reserves of petroleum nearly two decades ago, but production has been repeatedly delayed by a lack of infrastructure like a pipeline.