Government yesterday launched the search for a lead investor to construct an oil refinery, as the ministry of Energy and Mineral Development issued a request for bids.
The 60,000 barrels-per-day refinery is to be built in Kabaale parish, Buseruka sub-county, Hoima district. Issuing the request for bids, Permanent Secretary Fred Kabagambe-Kaliisa, said the refinery project would serve a large and growing market for refined petroleum products in East Africa and beyond. The government plans to contribute and own 40 per cent of project equity while the lead investor will own 60 per cent.
"We are committed to a transparent process to develop Uganda's first oil refinery. This project marks the start of Uganda's energy independence and the refinery will enhance Uganda's energy security by unleashing the opportunity of our country's rich oil resources, which some have described as the largest onshore oil discovery in Africa in the past 20 years," he said.
Kaliisa pledged that the bid would be handled transparently and should be secured by the first half of 2014, while commencement of refinery operations is expected in 2017-2018.
The project construction alone is expected to create between 4,000 and 6,000 temporary jobs. Once complete, ongoing refining operations would create more than 650 permanent jobs, most of them held by Ugandans.
The refinery is expected to produce diesel, petrol, paraffin, jet fuel, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and heavy fuel oil. Kaliisa added that the refinery project follows a resolution made in 2007 by the heads of state of the East African Community (EAC) states to boost the regional refining capacity in order to ensure security of supply of petroleum products and sustainable utilisation of the crude oil resources in the region.
This will tap into Uganda's oil discoveries worth 3.5 billion barrels of oil, of which up to 1.7 billion is commercially recoverable.