Government sets May for new licensing round

Irene Muloni, the minister of energy and mineral development, has revealed plans for the second licensing round of three oil blocks in the Albertine Graben region.

The oil blocks were left over from the last competitive licensing round in which 17 mainly small and independent oil companies expressed interest. Two companies dropped out at the last stage, leaving Nigeria’s Oranto Petroleum and Australia’s Armour Energy Limited, both of which signed production sharing agreements with the government in 2017.

“The size of the blocks earmarked for licensing under the second licensing round range from 500 square kilometres to 2000 square kilometres depending on the maturity of the block in regard to the data coverage,” Ms Muloni said at the ministry’s seat in Kampala.

The three blocks are Taitai & Karuka in Buliisa district, Mvule in Moyo/Yumbe, and the Ngaji block between Rukungiri and Kanungu that was earlier dropped due to its eco-sensitivity.

Ngaji covers half of Lake Edward and is part of the Queen Elizabeth National Park; it is also part of the same ecosystem as the Virunga National Park – Africa’s oldest national park and a Unesco World Heritage site.

Ms Muloni said the licensing round will be announced at the upcoming East African Petroleum Conference, which is slated to take place in Mombasa from 8 to 10 May.