Uganda launches first oil production rig

President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni heads to the speech venue after a ceremonial switch-on of the oil rig at Oil Pad 2 of the Kingfisher oilfield in Kyangwali Sub-county, Kikuube District. (Image: Gad Asaba/Kazi-njema News)

The first oil production rig in the history of Uganda’s oil industry has been inaugurated in the Kingfisher oil field.

The launch means that the rig can start works to drill more oil production wells and a water injection point which experts call ‘pudding’ – meaning the process of levelling the ground for actual crude oil production to the surface by 2025.

While speaking at the launch ceremony held at Buhuka village in Kikuube district on Tuesday, January 24, 2023, Uganda’s President, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, described the launch as carefully arrived at victory whose fruits will be enjoyed by all Ugandans.

He spared time supplying information to justify the need for oil alongside clean energy campaigns.

According to him, carbon dioxide from fossil fuels is harmless when handled well.

“Oil is not for energy alone. We need tar, we need fertilisers, nitrogen and so on. We have a lot of oil we must exploit because the 6.5 billion barrels confirmed so far is only from the 40% of the Albertine Rift Valley alone,” he said.

Audio: Museveni on oil (English)

The president congratulated the governments of China and France upon their continued partnership towards Uganda’s oil development journey and other sectors.

France’s oil giant – TotalEnergies EP Uganda, the developer of the Tilenga oil project is also expected to launch its first drilling rig next month.

On local content, Mr Museveni urged the oil host communities to embrace agriculture to benefit from the population boom induced by the oil developments.

“People working in the oil industry do not eat computers. They need food. So, agriculture is a sure way of taping into oil,” he said.

The drilling of about 31 production wells required to produce the more than 40,000 barrels of oil per day at peak in this oil field has started with the rig switch-on by President Museveni.

The Beijing, China made rig which has been planted at Oil Pad 2 of the Kingfisher Development Area is 60.5m tall with the latest drilling technology, free from environmental pollution, according to the project developer, China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC).

President Yoweri Museveni flags off the oil production rig at Kingfisher oil field on the shore of Lake Albert (Mwitanzige) in Buhuka Village, Kyangwali Sub-county in Kikuube District. (Image: Gad Asaba/Kazi-njema News)

The Minister of Energy and Mineral Development, Dr Ruth Nankabirwa, explained the tremendous progress made to all the oil industry related projects including the oil refinery and the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP).

At the same function, the licence for the EACOP project development was handed over to the developer.

Audio: Nankabirwa on oil (English)

The President for CNOOC Uganda Limited, Mr Chen Zhuobiao, congratulated Ugandans upon their cooperation that has enabled the significant milestone.

The United Republic of Tanzania Ambassador to Uganda, H.E Dr Aziz Ponary Mlima, who spoke on behalf of his country’s Minister for Energy, expressed Tanzania’s commitment towards the joint developed EACOP project.

Audio: Mlima on oil (English)

Mr Peter Banura, the host – Kikuube district chairman, called upon the higher authorities to intervene in the growing land disputes that have left thousands homeless, hampering development efforts.

He cited Bukinda evictees that remained in misery at an Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camp at the office of the Kikuube Resident District Commissioner (RDC).

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