Chinese oil firm China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) says it aims to have a stake in an oil pipeline being developed to export Ugandan crude oil.
Uganda discovered crude oil reserves about 13 years ago but commercial production has been delayed partly because of a lack of infrastructure, such as an export pipeline.
The 1,445 kilometres East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP), costing $3.5 billion, will pass through neighboring Tanzania to the Indian Ocean port of Tanga.
“CNOOC shall participate in the EACOP project,” Aminah Bukenya, spokeswoman for the firm’s Ugandan unit, told Reuters, adding that the level of its equity stake would be determined by the joint venture partners.
The company jointly owns Uganda’s oil fields with France’s Total and Britains’ Tullow. Total had previously stated it was interested in financing the pipeline. Tanzania and Uganda are both expected to take stakes.
About two-thirds of the pipeline’s cost will be financed by debt and a Ugandan unit of South Africa’s Standard Bank Group and Japan’s Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp are jointly helping to raise the credit.
Ugandan officials have said the government is now aiming to have commercial crude production start in 2022.
Government geologists estimate the country’s reserves, in the Albertine rift basin near the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo, at 6 billion barrels.
Bukenya said CNOOC also planned to produce gas and use some of it to generate up to 42 megawatts of electricity for the company’s use and for sale to the national grid.
Energy Minister Irene Muloni said in December that Uganda’s oil fields had associated natural gas reserves estimated at 500 billion cubic feet.