TotalEnergies takes FID on $10bn of oil projects in Uganda, 16 years after first discovery

TotalEnergies, CNOOC and the Uganda National Oil Co. have taken a final investment decision (FID) today on the development of onshore oilfields around the Lake Albert in Uganda, and a massive export pipeline to Tanzania.

The first discovery was made in January 2006 by Hardman Resources at the Mputa-1 well. Since then, over 1.4bn barrels of recoverable oil have been proven in the area. However, repeated tax disputes with the Government of Uganda and lack of refining and export infrastructure constantly delayed their development.

The project was put back on the table only in April 2020 when authorities agreed the sale of TullowOil’s entire assets in Uganda to TotalEnergies for $575m. This sale was officially completed in November 2020, making TotalEnergies operator of most discoveries and finally paving the way for a final investment decision (FID).

TotalEnergies is now operator of the Tilenga oil project, where first oil is expected in 2025 with a peak production projected at 190,000 barrels of oil per day (bopd). The Tilenga project covers six oil fields within Contract Area CA1, License Area LA-2 (North) and Exploration Area EA-1A, all located within the Albertine Graben in Western Uganda.

Plans for the project include the drilling of 426 wells from 31 well pad locations, supported by a network of underground pipelines to collect oil production and transport it to a 200,000 bopd central processing facility (CPF) built within the planned Industrial Area in the Buliisa District. Once treated at the CPF, oil will be exported via the 1,443 km East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) that will terminate at an oil depot and an offshore loading terminal in Tanga, Tanzania.

On its side, CNOOC is operator of the Kingfisher oil project with a projected peak output of 40,000 bopd.

Advancing the project’s low-cost and low emissions, TotalEnergies was able to fast-track the FID and get it approved less than two years after it acquired its operated interest from TullowOil.

“The design of the facilities incorporates several measures to limit greenhouse gas emissions well below 20 kg CO2eq/boe, including the extraction of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) for use in regional markets as a substitute for burning biomass, and the solarization of the EACOP pipeline,” the company said in a statement.

In parallel, the Government of Uganda is also hoping to build a 60,000 bpd refinery on site to process its domestic crude. The Project Framework Agreement was signed with the consortium comprising YAATRA, BHGE, LionWorks, and Saipem in 2018 to develop, finance, construct and operate the greenfield oil refinery.

Full details on the Tilenga Oil Project and the EACOP pipeline project are available in the “Projects” section within your Hawilti+ research terminal.

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