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Tullow Oil expects to start production of oil in its Ugandan fields this year


London-listed Tullow Oil expects to start production of oil in its Ugandan fields on a small scale late this year and will drill 20 wells in the east African nation, its regional exploration manager said on Tuesday.

"We are looking at small scale production expected to start in late 2012," Ian Cloke, Tullow's South and East Africa exploration manager said at the Eastern Africa oil, gas and energy conference.

The firm announced on Monday that it had also struck 20 metres of light, waxy crude after drilling its first well in Kenya's arid north, sending its shares higher.

Tullow earlier this year closed a $2.9 billion deal to bring in French oil major Total and Chinese group CNOOC <0883.HK > as partners to develop its oil fields in Uganda.

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

Cloke said they were in the process of acquiring all the necessary permits for the construction of a refinery and an export pipeline.

"This year we plan to drill 20 wells in Uganda," he said.

Commercial hydrocarbon deposits were discovered in the east of Uganda in 2006. Tullow says it has found 1.1 billion confirmed barrels of oil and believes there are 1.4 billion left to find.


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