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The World Bank will fund infrastructure projects worth $245 million to revamp facilities in Uganda's Albertine oil region, ahead of first oil production in the country, Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni said in a statement Thursday.

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World Bank Vice President for Africa Makhtar Diop announced this during a meeting with Museveni in Kigali, Rwanda, on Thursday, according to the statement.

Uganda's oil region, located along the country's western border with the Democratic Republic of Congo is remote, with very limited infrastructure such as roads, air strips and railways -- a major handicap for the planned exploitation of oil fields, which are estimated to hold some 3.5 billion barrels of crude.

Oil companies, such as UK's Tullow, China National Offshore Oil Corp. and France's Total, are expected to spend up $15 billion to develop oil fields in the next three-five years.

CNOOC, which is developing the Kingfisher oil field in the Lake Albert Basin, said early this month that development of the field will likely be delayed by a year to 2018 due to infrastructure bottlenecks. The Kingfisher field has an estimated 635 million barrels of oil reserves and is expected produce between 30,000 to 40,000 b/d of crude when it comes on stream.

Uganda is also planing to build a 60,000 b/d oil refinery and an export pipeline to ship out surplus commercial volumes of crude.

--Namala Doreen,
--Edited by Deepa Vijiyasingam,