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Ugandan President Launches Drilling Program at Kingfisher Project

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Ugandan President, H.E Yoweri Museveni, officially launched the drilling program for the Kingfisher Oil Field Development in Western Uganda on Tuesday.

The launch signals the start of drilling at the Kingfisher project by TotalEnergies and its partners in the development – the China National Offshore Corporation (CNOOC) and the Uganda National Oil Company (UNOC) – and follows the commissioning of the drill rig, which was completed in November 2022.

Leveraging the automated, 605-meter-long rig, named ‘LR8001,’ TotalEnergies and its partners will drill 31 oil wells in the Kingfisher Field Development Area as the country seeks to produce its first oil in 2024, with initial targets set for 2025.

Peter Muliisa, Chief Legal and Corporate Affairs Officer at UNOC, stated that, “Land for Kingfisher and Tilenga has been nearly fully acquired. The rig for Kingfisher has been set up, and we are ready to proceed.”

The development forms part of efforts by the Ugandan government for the country to produce its first oil and gas from the fields before June 2025 with the aim of fast-tracking the transition from charcoal and firewood use. The field is anticipated to produce 40,000 barrels of crude oil per day in 2024 and 20,000 metric tons of gas per year to meet growing energy demand in the country as well as for export to regional and international markets.

With TotalEnergies announcing a $10 billion Final Investment Decision for its Lake Albert Development in 2022 – of which the Kingfisher project forms a critical part – Muliisa added that the project is now moving ahead with the clearing of land where pipes for the East African Crude Oil Pipeline will be laid and an on-site central processing facility developed.

“For Kingfisher, the lines for the pipes that will transfer crude oil from the rig to the central processing facility have also been cleared. So, Kingfisher should actually be ready to pump fluids toward the end of 2024,” Muliisa said.

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Nicholas Nhede

Nicholas Nhede

Nicholas is an energy sector journalist with a passion on how technology and diversification of the energy mix can be used to address energy sector challenges. Nicholas holds a diploma in Journalism and Communication studies and has been covering energy-related topics including the Internet of Things, distributed energy and digitalisation since 2015.