Unoc starts process to sell 45,000 barrels of crude oil from well testing

The Uganda National Oil Company has issued notices calling for bids for the sale of 45,211 barrels of crude oil from extended well tests concluded six years ago.

In his latest report to Parliament submitted two weeks ago, the auditor general faulted Unoc over its failure to dispose of the crude oil, which has been lying idle in storage tanks.

The bid notices by Unoc were published in today’s dailies with a closing date of March 9. According to the notices, interested parties will travel to Buliisa in mid-western Uganda next month to inspect the crude oil.

The crude oil is stored in specialised containers at four sites; Kasemene 1, Ngara-1, Ngiri-2 in Buliisa, and at Tangi Camp in Nwoya district.

Extended well testing is the process of evaluating the characteristics of petroleum reservoirs in order to adequately plan for production. The exercise helps to establish the characteristics of the crude oil in the reservoir, which informs the design of production, processing, and refinery and storage facilities.

There have been previous attempts since 2012 to dispose of the crude oil, although they were not successful. National Oil Company Officials say this is because of technical reasons.

The sale comes at a time when global prices for crude oil are starting to pick up, with Brent crude, the global benchmark, up 0.41% at $70.82 a barrel on the Intercontinental Exchange.

The potential buyers of the crude oil are local thermal power plants.

Unoc is tasked with managing and marketing the country’s share of petroleum received in kind, in addition to other responsibilities as per the Petroleum Act, 2013.

The body was incorporated in 2015 under the Companies Act by the Uganda Registration Services Bureau as a private company wholly owned by the government through the ministries of energy and finance.

If the sale materialises this time around, it will be Unoc’s first major undertaking in Uganda’s oil sector.