By Lucy Adautin
Uganda is discussing with an investment company spearheaded by a Dubai royal family member aimed to develop a planned $4 billion refinery for some of its crude oil, its energy minister said on Tuesday.
In July last year, Uganda ended negotiations with consortium involving a unit of US firm Baker Hughes opening a new tab over its failure to mobilise financing in time.
Uganda counts on the 60,000 barrel-per-day refinery for its nascent hydrocarbons industry.
Minister of Energy and Mineral Development, Ruth Nankabirwa during a news conference said, “expressions of interest were received from several potential investors and they were evaluated … following which a memorandum of understanding was signed on the 22 of December 2023.”
She added that negotiations on vital commercial requirements between the government and United Arab Emirates-based Alpha MBM Investments began on January 16 and are hoped to be completed within three months.
Alpha MBM Investments’ website says it is led by Sheikh Mohammed bin Maktoum bin Juma Al Maktoum, a member of Dubai’s royal family and Uganda prepares to begin pumping crude commercially in 2025 from Albertine rift basin in the country’s west near the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo, as the Ugandan government jointly operates the fields through the state-run Uganda National Oil Company, China’s CNOOC, and France’s TotalEnergies.
President Yoweri Museveni’s government plans processing of some of its crude domestically to provide employment and benefit from technology transfer.
Nankabirwa revealed that Uganda had issued a licence to CNOOC to produce liquefied petroleum gas at a plant to be constructed in the Kingfisher development area where CNOOC operates.
Kingfisher is one of Uganda’s two commercial oil development fields. The second is Tilenga and is operated by TotalEnergies.
The amount of gas CNOOC would produce annually is not known, however Uganda’s gas reserves are estimated at 500 billion cubic feet.