Cnooc and Total pitch oil investment plans to Uganda

The Cnooc headquarters in Beijing. The company, along with Total, is in the process of entering a partnership with the UK's Tullow Oil to jointly operate exploration areas in Uganda. (AP)

Global petroleum firms Total and China National Offshore Oil Corporation (Cnooc) have presented their investment plans in Uganda's emerging petroleum industry to the government, said an official.

The two companies are currently in the process of entering a partnership with UK's Tullow Oil to jointly operate exploration areas in western Uganda.

The east African country struck commercial deposits of oil in 2006 and after four years of frenetic exploration and appraisal activity, Tullow says small scale commercial production will begin later this year.

"The two companies made presentations of their investment proposals and planned partnerships with Tullow to the government this week and we're continuing with the evaluation process," said the commissioner of the government's petroleum exploration and production department, Ernst Rubondo.

He would not disclose details of the proposals saying that would violate confidentiality principles.

Tullow is currently awaiting government approval of its proposed purchase of Heritage Oil's 50 per cent stake in their jointly owned exploration areas 1 and 3A. It already wholly owns exploration field 2.

The government has to endorse the proposed partnerships with Total and Cnooc with whom Tullow has already entered sale and purchase agreements for stakes in its Ugandan properties after it has completed acquisition of Heritage's shares.

Rubondo would not say when the government will announce its decision, but an official familiar with progress of the evaluation process said the firms had been assured a decision would be made by the end of March. "The ministry of energy is currently studying proposals," the official said. "Then the attorney general also has to scrutinise the sale and a purchase agreement Tullow has signed with these companies."

 

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