Ugandan Hydrocarbon Reserves

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Hydrocarbon resources in Uganda have been struck in the Lake Albert basin, straddling the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo.[1]



Uganda has estimated oil reserves of 3.5 billion barrels, the government announced in September 2012, of which it predicted about 30% are recoverable. The oil found so far lies in the Albertine Graben, an area about 500 kilometers (km) long and up to 45 km wide in Uganda's west. [2] The government said in 2012 that only around 40 percent of the Albertine Graben had been explored to date.[3]

The 3.5 billion barrel figure cited in 2012 represented a 40% increase in the government's previous estimate of 2.5 billion barrels.[3] Uganda's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in May 2011 that Uganda has 12 billion standard cubic feet (339 million cubic meters) of natural gas reserves in the Albertine Graben region.[4]

Other basins that may have petroleum deposits which remain to be explored, according to Oil in Uganda, are the western Hoima basin, the central Lake Kyoga basin, and the eastern Kadam-Moroto basin.[2]


Uganda was not producing any oil as of December 2012, and French oil major Total S.A. said in September of that year that it expected to pump "first oil" from its Ugandan fields in 2017, a year later than its previous estimates had suggested. The government has withheld approval of the development plan offered by Total and its partners in Uganda, Tullow Oil and CNOOC, until several issues are resolved, especially the government's desire to see the companies partly fund a large oil refinery in the city of Hoima.[5] Other estimates have Uganda producing its first oil even later, with The Guardian saying in October 2012 that "those within the oil sector predict the first commercial production will happen around 2017 or even 2020."[6]

The Revenue Watch Institute wrote that once oil production begins, early extraction is projected at 4,000 - 5,000 barrels per day (bpd), citing government and industry officials who said that production would increase to 125,000 bpd or more after five years, and continue at the top rate for 15-20 years more.[7]

Some civil society organizations in Uganda have expressed concern that the oil industry will not employ enough Ugandans.


  1. "UPDATE 1-Uganda ups oil reserves estimate 40 pct to 3.5 bln bbls", UPI, 17 September 2012.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "How much oil (and gas) does Uganda have, and where is it?", Oil in Uganda, 5 March 2012.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "East Africa is next hot oil zone", UPI, 10 March 2010.
  4. "Uganda Has 12 Billion Cubic Feet of Gas Reserves, Ministry Says", Bloomberg, 12 May 2011.
  5. "Total Sees Uganda Oil Output Delayed by a Year", Wall Street Journal, 28 September 2012.
  6. "Uganda: oil, corruption and entitlement", The Guardian, 1 October 2012.
  7. "Uganda | Extractive Industries", Revenue Watch Institute, retrieved 4 December 2012.