By Gloria Sebikari
Uganda’s oil industry is rapidly advancing, with the Kingfisher and Tilenga projects at the forefront of this transformative journey. Recently, the Petroleum Authority Uganda hosted a group of journalists, offering them an exclusive view of the remarkable progress and significant achievements in the field. As drilling operations, infrastructure development, and national content participation take centre stage, Uganda’s aspiration to achieve first oil by 2025 becomes increasingly promising.
Drilling Success and Capacity Building
The Kingfisher project achieved a major milestone with the commencement of drilling operations on January 24, 2023. Led by China Oilfield Services Limited (COSL), the drilling contractor, the project prioritizes capacity building and skills transfer to Ugandan nationals.
Training sessions held during drilling operations contribute to the growth of local expertise. Currently, drilling activities continue to progress, ensuring the efficient extraction of Uganda’s valuable oil resources.
In total, 31 wells will be drilled from the 4 well pads to limit the environmental footprint of the project.
Construction and infrastructure development
Kingfisher’s ambitious construction plans are well underway. Two out of the four planned well pads have been fully constructed, with Well Pad 2 already equipped with a rig. The temporary camp, providing accommodation for construction teams, has been successfully built and occupied.
Additionally, the completion of the safety check station facility enhances operational safety along the escarpment road. Work on the materials supply base and the permanent camp for the onsite production team is underway. Notably, all resettlement houses have been completed and handed over to the rightful owners, emphasizing the project’s commitment to community welfare.
Central Processing Facility (CPF) Progress:
The central processing facility, a crucial component of the project, has entered an active phase. Site grading and leveling operations have commenced, preparing the ground for the main construction.
The clearance of the crude oil feeder line’s right of way, connecting the CPF to the delivery point at Kabaale, has been successfully completed. Procurement efforts are in motion, with the arrival of the first batch of pipeline, HV cable, and tank materials at Mombasa Port in March 2023. These materials are now being transported to the Kingfisher Development Area (KFDA).
Driving Local Employment
CNOOC Uganda Limited, the key operator of the Kingfisher project, places a strong emphasis on national content participation. Currently, 159 Ugandans, representing 72% of the total workforce, are employed in various roles, with contractors and sub-contractors employing close to 1800 people. This commitment ensures that employment opportunities are maximized for the local population, driving economic growth and empowerment.
Supporting Local Suppliers
Uganda’s oil industry prioritizes local suppliers when sourcing necessary supplies and materials. By fostering partnerships with local businesses, the sector bolsters the country’s economy and nurtures sustainable growth within the region.
Training and Skill Development
Recognizing the importance of skills development, the Kingfisher project provides training opportunities to the local workforce. By equipping individuals with valuable skills, the project enhances their employability and contributes to long-term socio-economic advancement.
As Uganda’s oil industry propels forward, the progress made in the Kingfisher and Tilenga projects is nothing short of remarkable. The drilling operations, infrastructure development, and national content participation exemplify the commitment to maximizing local participation and ensuring a sustainable and prosperous future. With concerted efforts to meet project timelines, Uganda is well on its way to realizing the vision of first oil in Uganda.
The author Gloria Sebikari- Manager, Corporate Affairs- Petroleum Authority Uganda