Nigerian firms top bids for Uganda’s first competitive oil offer

Uganda received seven bids, including three from Nigerian companies, for its first competitive oil licensing for six oil blocks, following close of bidding last week, Uganda’s energy ministry said.

WalterSmith Petroman Oil Limited, Oranto Petroleum International Ltd. and Niger Delta Petroleum Resources Ltd. are competing with Glint Energy of U.S., Rift Energy of Canada, Swala Energy and Armour Energy of Australia, the ministry said in an e-mail statement from the capital, Kampala.

The companies, which were part of 16 offer bidding documents on Oct. 1, are competing for blocks in the Albertine Graben region, where London-based Tullow Oil Plc, China National Offshore Oil Corp. and France’s Total SA are jointly developing the nation’s crude finds of 6.5 billion barrels of oil resource.

The blocks on offer are the 410km2 Ngassa, Taitai & Karuka (565km2), Ngaji (895km2), Mvule (344km2), Turaco (425km2) and Kanywantaba (344km2).

Attraction of seven bidders the round of bidding is significant given the low global oil and gas prices, Fred Kabagambe-Kaliisa said in the statement.

Uganda, where Tullow discovered commercial oil deposits a decade ago, plans to start production around 2018, according to the ministry. A production license was awarded to CNOOC more than two years ago and the country is in talks with Russia’s RT Global to build a 60,000-barrel per day refinery.