The Government of Uganda has announced the second phase of the public tender for the lead investor/operator for the development, implementation and operation of the proposed 60,000 barrels/day oil refinery and its related infrastructure.
The latest development follows the request for qualification which the government published in October.
The issuance of the call for investors in the refinery quickly followed another milestone in Uganda's fledgling petroleum industry--the issuance of the first oil production permit to the Chinese firm, CNOOC, in September.
According to a recent statement from the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, the request attracted responses from seventy-five firms, with eight consortia submitting detailed statements of qualifications.
As a result, six large, multi-national consortia have been short-listed to receive the Request for Proposals (RFP).
According to the energy ministry, one of these firms/consortia will be selected by mid-2014.
Fred Kabagambe-Kaliisa, the energy ministry's Permanent Secretary said the government is pleased with the 'significant' interest in Uganda's refinery project.
"The interest in the Project clearly demonstrates that the international community sees real economic and energy opportunities within Uganda's borders and the broader region," he said.
Irene Muloni, the energy minister added: "As we move forward to identify a final partner in this Project, we remain committed to an open and transparent process.
We look forward to working with our final partner to develop this refinery and further unlock Uganda's vast energy resources."
The short-listed firms include; a consortium led by the China Petroleum Pipeline Bureau; Marubeni Corporation (Japan); and another consortium led by the UK-registered Petrofac. The other consortia include one led by the Russian-based RT - Global Resources; the South Korean--based SK Energy; and Vitol--a Dutch-owned company.
These six firms and consortia now enter the next phase of the selection process in which they will be issued an RFP, expected to be released over the next 30 days.
They will then be asked to submit a full proposal for the financing, development and operation of the refinery project.
As the final partner is identified, the government is also working hard to acquire about 29 sq km of land needed for hosting the refinery and other auxiliary facilities and industries in Hoima District.
The government has always insisted on building a refinery within Uganda with the hope that the facility will help meet Uganda's growing energy and petroleum product needs, as well as improve the country's energy security by reducing the need to import petroleum products.
The project, government officials say, will also contribute to economic gains for Ugandans as the construction of the refinery alone is estimated to create 4,000 to 6,000 temporary jobs.
According to the government's latest oil development forecast, the country expects to pump out its first oil by 2018.