Oil seeps have been encountered in the Elgon region, indicating the potential existence of commercial quantities of oil and gas in northeastern Uganda. Honey Malinga, the director of petroleum at the energy ministry, yesterday said the finding of the oil seeps had raised hope of the existence of a petroleum system in the deep basin, lying in between Mt Elgon and Mt Moroto in Karamoja.
“The oil seep at the foot of Mt Elgon indicates the potential existence of oil and gas in the area. We are undertaking further studies in the area. Much exploration work has been undertaken in the Albertine Graben, we are now targeting Moroto-Kadam basin,” Malinga said while addressing the Oil and Gas Convention going on at Speke Resort, Munyonyo.
Oil seeps are natural hydrocarbon stocks characterised by natural lowrate escape of liquid or gaseous crude oil and tar, also known as oil seepages, to the earth’s atmosphere and surface. Oil and gas deposits are found in sedimentary basins and this basin area is dubbed the Moroto-Kadam basin, stretching from Karamoja to Teso sub-region.
Geological studies in the 1990s showed that the Albertine Graben and Moroto-Kadam sedimentary basins could be having oil deposits, according to the energy ministry. The other sedimentary basins include lakes Victoria, Kyoga and Wamala. But these are not considered as promising as the Albertine and Moroto-Kadam basins.
The commercial quantities of oil discovered so far in Uganda stands at six billion barrels, with about 1.4 barrels to 1.7 barrels being recoverable. Malinga said the Government intends to invite investors to bid to explore more oil blocks in May.
The launch will be held during the East African Oil and Gas Conference in Mombasa. He explained that the Government had the geotechnical data and information which has confirmed existing petroleum systems the explorers will bid for. He urged the banking sector to be more active to provide financial services to local enterprises seeking to do business in the oil and gas sector.