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Tullow urges Ugandan government to speed up oil production license

Kampala — UK-based Tullow Oil has urged the Ugandan government to speed up the awarding of oil production licenses that have been pending for nearly two years as it seeks to start oil production in the country.

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Tullow's general manager in Uganda, Jimmy Mugerwa, told a conference late Tuesday in Kampala that Tullow oil had spent over $ 3billion on Ugandan oil and was almost ready to go to the production stage once it had a production license.

"We appeal to the government to get committed to the deadline that they set by June this time around." he said.

Tullow oil submitted applications for eight licenses but continues to haggle with the government over development and recovery rates.

Uganda first discovered oil in 2006 and exploration companies led by Tullow drilled more than 116 wells, with the resources now estimated at 6.5 billion barrels. But the start of production continues to be pushed back due to delays by government in offering licenses.

Of the three companies involved in Ugandan oil, only CNOOC has been given a production license for the Kingfisher field. Tullow and Total are still waiting.

According to Ernest Rubondo, the head of Uganda's Petroleum Directorate, the government is working around the clock to ensure that the approvals are granted in time to enable the country to meet its 2018 target of first oil.

"We have a few remaining points of disagreement, which we hope to iron out soon," he said. "On our part we are optimistic let the companies fulfill their part of the bargain."

Uganda's current discoveries can support a peak production of at least 200,000 b/d for more than 20 years, according to the energy and minerals ministry.

--Namala Doreen,
--Edited by Jonathan Dart,