At last, a Nigerian oil firm, Oranto Petroleum International, has scaled through all hurdles placed before it in a bid to have noticable impact in the oil industry in Uganda.
The outfit is set to sign two oil exploration deals in that country this week.
When the deal eventually pulls through, the firm will be handling two main oil wells believed to have the production capacity of about 60 per cent of oil capacity in Uganda.
Preliminary reports said the gross crude reserves are estimated by government geologists at 6.5 billion barrels of which between 1.4 to 1.7 billion barrels are considered recoverable.
The earliest time that delivery of the production from the two wells is expected to begin is the first quarter of 2020.
It would be recalled that Oranto Petroleum International was among a number of companies that bidded for the country’s first competitive oil exploration licensing in 2016 with two other Nigerian firms and Australia’s Armour Energy also getting through to final negotiations for the award of the PSAs.
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But shortly after filling in their applications for the deal, some interest groups were said to have written the Ugandan government insisting that the country would be better off if a European firm was given the nod to take up the exploration deal.
The group was alleged to have pointed out that marketing of the oil would-be more feasible if the European oil company handled the job.
However, the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development said the deal with Oranto would cover the two blocks covering the Ngassa Shallow Play and Ngassa Deep Play exploration blocks located near the southern part of Lake Albert.
Uganda discovered oil in 2006 in the Albertine rift basin along its border with the Democratic Republic of Congo.
But after the discovery of commercially recoverable reserves the country enacted new laws to manage the sector and under those laws exploration licences must be granted on a competitive basis.
Expressing delight on the development, an aide to Minister of State, Petroleum, who pleaded for anonymity said there had been a consistent push by the ministry to encourage indigenous oil firms in Nigeria to look beyond the Nigerian shores.