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4 Uganda Oil feilds could be Up for Grabs in 2013


Uganda is likely to auction four blocks for oil exploration early next year, the chairman of the Uganda Chamber of Mines and Petroleum told an energy conference on Wednesday.

London-listed Tullow Oil, which discovered substantial deposits in the east African country in 2006, expects to start small production late this year.

"Four blocks and 10,000 square km of relinquished acreage will be auctioned, most likely in the beginning of next year," Chairman Elly Karuhanga said.

Last month, the government introduced a long-awaited bill to regulate the east African country's nascent oil sector as it prepares for commercial production.

"New progressive laws are being made, and a round of licensing will be announced thereafter," Karuhanga said.

Tullow says it has found 1.1 billion confirmed barrels of oil and believes there are 1.4 billion left to find.

Earlier this year, it closed a $2.9 billion deal to bring in French oil major Total and Chinese group CNOOC as partners to develop its fields.

The group will now focus on their $10 billion plan to start pumping oil from huge reserves discovered on the shores of Lake Albert. They expect to ramp up to a major production phase in 2016.

Other companies holding interests in Ugandan blocks are Ophir Energy, which got two blocks with the acquisition after acquiring Dominion Petroleum, and Tower Resources.


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