Recent reports indicate that the French giant Total shall be partnering with the Chinese giant China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) while bidding for Ugandas’ recently discovered oil blocks.
Previously, the Ministry of Energy has shortlisted only four companies to participate in the bidding for the new oil blocks however, it was later discovered that CNOOC jointed the party upon landing an invitation from France’s Total.
This moved was questioned by the other bidding companies during a bidder’s conference that was held on Friday by the Ministry of Energy as one of the companies pestered for an explanation as to why CNOOC was in attendance yet it was not shortlisted.
To answer the company, it was informed that one of the bidders Total E&P Activities Petrolieres had written to the Energy ministry last month on 27th informing then about CNOOC’s bid for the blocks on offer.
Mr. Frank Mugisha the manager in charge of second licensing confirmed this as he said that a bidder was allowed to add a venture partner especially at the Request for Qualification (RFQ) stage.
However, if any other company considered using he same procedure, he said that it was impossible since the deadline for bidders to participate this way has long elapsed so they would have to continue just the way they are.
“A single bidder can bring in another party provided that party meets certain requirements. It has to be competent financially, technically because we evaluate that. It has to have powers of attorney, joint venture agreement between the successful company and the new entrant. So they have done all those. And you know CNOOC. CNOOC is a big company which is licensed in Kingfisher,” he said.
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Additionally, Mr. Mugisha said that CNOOC’s participation would impact positively on the country as it would help us reach the target financial requirements necessitated while exploring and drilling.
“And it is really an advantage. You know the area they are bidding for has a large portion of offshore and we have head challenges in drilling offshore. Actually more that 50% offshore. In terms of drilling, you need not less than $50 million in drilling a well offshore. So which company even if you are talking about national oil company. No company can afford that.”
Some of the blocks under offer include the Avivi in Arua, Omuka in Nebbi, Kasuruban which crosses through Buliisa and Packwach as well as other in Turaco and Ngaji which are found on the borders of Bushenyi, Rubirizi and Ntungamo.