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DEVELOPMENTS IN OIL AND GAS EXPLORATION IN THE ALBERTINE GRABEN, WESTERN UGANDA. Robert Kasande, Principal Geologist, Petroleum Exploration and Production Department, Uganda The Albertine Graben is part of the East African Rift System (EARS) and lies at the northernmost end of the western arm of the EARS. Following exploration efforts which commenced as far back as 1927 and were interrupted by World War II and bad governance in the country between 1950 and 1980, the Graben came alive with the discovery wells Waraga-1 and Mputa-1 drilled in 2006. During 2006, Uganda has experienced an encouraging development in the petroleum upstream sector. The operations in the Albertine Graben of Hardman Resources Ltd (Hardman) and Heritage Oil and Gas Ltd (Heritage) together with their partner Tullow Oil have accomplished successful testing of the Waraga-1, Mputa-1 and Kingfisher-1 wells besides encountering good oil shows in the other untested wells of Mputa-2 and Nzizi-1. The test results are very encouraging and the probability of these discoveries being commercial is high. In the other licensed areas in the Graben, operations leading to seismic surveys are underway. A 2D seismic survey is underway in the northern part of Exploration Area 2. In Exploration Area 1, Heritage is finalising an Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) for a seismic survey planned for the 1st quarter of 2007. In Exploration Area 5, Tower Resources is also finalising an EIA for seismic surveys planned for the 2nd quarter of 2007. The Government in conjunction with Tullow Oil is working on an 'Early Production Scheme' (EPS) to produce the discoveries made in the Kaiso-Tonya area of Exploration Area 2. The EPS involves setting up a mini-refinery that would produce diesel and kerosene with the residue of heavy fuel oil to be used for thermal power generation. While the EPS is being planned, the appraisal of the discoveries continues starting with a 3D-seismic survey planned for the 1st quarter of 2007. These developments have necessitated the country to review its policy, legal and regulatory framework that would address the new phases of development and production as well as developing an institutional framework to handle these new and exciting developments.


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