East Africa Oil Discoveries Breed Challenges
From Voice of America
By David Arnold
Significant oil reserves have been discovered in Uganda and Kenya in recent years. However before Kenyans and Ugandans can benefit from the discoveries infrastructure challenges, political issues and special interests must be overcome say experts.
In the last two years the Irish exploration company, Tullow Oil, confirmed reserves of 1.7 billion barrels of crude oil buried near the shores of Lake Albert in Uganda. Across Uganda’s border to the north, the company next discovered an estimated 300 million barrels in Kenya and is now exploring in southern Ethiopia, tracing a Great Rift hydrocarbon basin that promises economic transformation for some of the world’s poorest countries.
Tullow’s success has attracted major producers from around the world, including France’s Total, China National Offshore Oil Corporation (NCOOC), Exxon and Chevron. More major oil interests are expected soon, including Brazil.
The industry is excited. “Now every potential hydrocarbon basin across East Africa is the subject of intense interest,” writes Bill Page in the annual Deloitte guide to oil and gas in East Africa.
“More hydrocarbons have been discovered in East Africa in the last two years than anywhere else in the world,” a senior oil company executive told Page. Natural gas has been also discovered offshore, but public attention in these countries has focused on the potentially faster returns from pulling East Africa’s oil out of the ground first.
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