13 February 2013

Uganda: Total Hits Two Dry Wells in Nebbi

Total E&P Uganda, the French oil company handling the exploration and production of oil in Block 1 in the Albertine region has hit two dry wells in their first attempt to discover commercially-viable hydrocarbons in Nebbi district.

Block 1 lies in the northern part of Lake Albert region and parts of it are in the districts of Nebbi, Nwoya, Arua, Kiryandongo, Masindi and Bulisa.

Amne- Sophie Leroy, the Total E& P Uganda environment and social affair manager, said Odyek-1 and Riwu-1 that are located in Panyimur and Alwi sub-county respectively were drilled in January after acquiring 2D seismic, but no hydrocarbons were found.

Leroy, however, explained that it was not unexpected to get negative results because the success ratio recorded at the

early stage is usually low. "West Nile is a new exploration area, with lower perceptivity than other areas of the basin where the exploration started. Thus it is not unexpected to get negative results such as dry wells in such area," she said. Leroy added that the following the failed attempts, the company suspended plans to drill, Okuma- A, well in the same area as Riwu-1.

She also revealed that another site, Alwala- A, was prepared but with the expiry of the EA- 1A license for exploration, the company will not drill the well. Leroy added that Total is in the processing of restoring the sites. She was speaking at a meeting with Nebbi leaders at Leosim Hotel, in Nebbi town last week.

The negative results have ignited various discussions in the oil industry; although expert say Total's exploration license covering Block A of the Albertine Basin is a large area and there is still likelihood of substantial findings. Mark Tivu, the Nebbi deputy chief administrative officer, said it was disappointing for Total to hit dry wells because surveys and other studies had shown prospects of oil the area. "The Government needs to take interest in some of these reports and study them carefully. How comes Total is hitting dry wells when earlier studies and surveys had shown high prospects of oil in the area?" Tivu asked.

Lyoidah Kiconco, a geologist, recently said a dry well does not necessarily provide definitive evidence of an absence of oil.

She argued that for effective discovery of commerciallyviable oil deposits, there must be proper timing and studies of the rock formation. Efforts to get comments from the petroleum exploration and production department in the energy ministry proved futile.

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