Drilling of oil wells at the Tilenga project is expected to commence in mid-July as the clock ticks toward the first oil in 2025.
The project operated by TotalEnergies EP is planned to produce 190,000 barrels of oil per day at peak.
Commencement of drilling of the wells is part of the 43-month journey by the joint venture partners as they pledged to invest about 10 billion dollars in the Albertine.
Petroleum Authority’s Manager of Corporate Affairs, Gloria Sebikari confirmed the target for drilling is next month. She did not however say when exactly the President is expected to launch it.
One of the rigs is located at Ngwendo Sub-county in Bulisa district while the other is at Jobi.
The President launched drilling at the King Fisher project operated by CNOOC at the end of this January.
Among the key facilities being constructed at Tilenga is the Central Processing Facility (CPF). Construction of the Support Base (CSB) for the Central Processing Facility (CPF) already commenced though there is fear that CPF may not be fully by early 2025.
James Amale, the Civil Works Supervisor however explained that production of oil could go on even when the Central Processing Facility is not fully completed.
“Construction of the CPF is like constructing a house. You may take twenty years to construct but it can not stop you from occupying it. You can decide to install the basic requirements, occupy it, then you complete it as time goes,” said Amale
He explained that they are aiming at completing the water separation component of the facility within the timeline set by the government and the Joint Venture Partners.
According to Amale, even during the drilling process, they will not pump all the wells at the same time. He was confident that by July 2023, a section of the CPF will be ready.
A Central Processing Facility (CPF) separates oil from the gas, water, sand, solvents, or additives it may contain. So it is a crucial part of the oil and gas Upstream process.
Ocitti Bob Felix, Manager of Operations and Compliance at the Petroleum Authority of Uganda agreed with Amale that production will commence as long as key components of the facility are in place.
He said that they are aiming at ensuring that by the mid of 2025. “In terms of the overall project, we are looking at the key components that should allow the operationality of such a facility and that is what he is talking about,” he said
Meanwhile, Ocitti confirmed that TotalEnergies EP has written the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum Authority informing them that it will not drill wells on two well pads located the North of Victoria Nile. The two well pads are Jobi East and Mpyo located in the Murchison Falls National Park in Nwoya district.
Ocitti said TotalEnergies has indicated that while the two wells are economically viable, they are not commercially viable.
In 2021, TotalEnergies announced that it will voluntarily reduce the footprint of the Tilenga project the Murchison Falls National.
All the oil wells in the North of the Victoria Nile have been placed in a line as part of the efforts to reduce that footprint.
TotalEnergies CEO, Patrick Jean Pouyannéwhile announcing the FID said the projects under Lake Albert Development will be executed in a way that will ensure low cost and low carbon emissions.
TotalEnergies is under the law expected to ensure that the area is restored to almost its original status.
The two well pads once fully relinquished can be put up for bidding by the government through the Ministry of Energy.