Exploration licence for Kanywataba field to be awarded Thursday

Energy minister Irene Muloni, will on Thursday issue an exploration licence for the Kanywantaba oil block in Ntoroko District to Australian junior exploration company, Armour Energy Limited.

According to a statement from the ministry of energy, Ms Muloni will also sign a Production Sharing Agreement for the oil block which measures about 344km2.

Both the exploration licences and PSAs are in conformity with the 2013 Petroleum (Exploration, Development and Production) Act which outlines standards in the new legal regime borne out of the National Oil and Gas policy of 2008.

Armour Energy will now join France’s Total E&P and China’s Cnooc, which are already licenced to operate in Uganda. The company is chaired by Nicolas Mather, founder of Arrow Energy which was bought out by Shell and PetroChina in 2010.

In Uganda, industry sources say, the company was brokered by Tom Buringuriza, the former deputy executive director of the Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) between 2008 and 2013. Prior to officially becoming the company’s country representative, he ran a consultancy firm pushing public-private partnerships concepts for skills development in the oil sector.

The issuance and signing of exploration licence and PSAs for three oil blocks had been earlier scheduled for June but was called off after red flags were raised on the two firms, WalterSmithPetroman Oil Limited and Oranto Petroleum, that had emerged as winners for the Turaco and Ngassa blocks.

The two companies are now being scrutinised by government officials.