Kampala, Uganda: Oranto Petroleum, a Nigerian indigenous integrated oil and gas company has secured two production sharing agreements with Uganda to explore for oil and gas around Lake Albert. Oranto Chairman, Arthur Eze expressed his excitement at the opportunity to enter into the agreement, stating that “Lake Albert is home to some prime petroleum acreage”.
Oil was discovered in Uganda in 2006, near its border with the Democratic Republic of Congo. Production is due to begin in 2020 with estimated reserves of up to 1.7 billion barrels.
The oil fields found so far in Uganda are estimated to contain deposits of around 2.5 billion barrels of oil. The oil found so far lies in the Albertine Graben—an area about 500 kilometres long and up to 45 kilometres wide, forming Uganda’s western border with the DRC and stretching from Lake Edward in the south to the border with South Sudan in the north. The ‘graben’, meaning a depressed crust of the earth’s surface lying between two geological fault lines—has been the most intensively surveyed and prospected of Uganda’s sedimentary basins.
Other basins that may have oil deposits are the Hoima basin (to the east of Lake Albert), the Lake Kyoga basin (further east, in the centre of the country), and the Kadam-Moroto basin, still further east, in the Karamoja sub-region. According to the Ugandan government Petroleum Exploration and Production Department, “The area presently tested represents less than 30% of the total area with the potential for petroleum production in the country, hence the potential for additional reserves in the country.
The Albertine Graben has long been thought to have the best oil potential but the Graben itself has not yet been thoroughly explored. This, and the existence of other, even less explored basins, has prompted speculation that Uganda’s eventual reserves may amount to 6 billion barrels
To put Uganda’s oil reserve figures in a wider context, the world’s most oil-rich state, Saudi Arabia, still has 263 billion barrels of ‘proven’ reserves. Libya has 46 billion, Nigeria 37 billion, Angola 9.5 billion. One or two billion barrels therefore represent a big find for Uganda, enough, certainly, to supply domestic needs for at least 20 years while selling a significant surplus overseas, but it is not such a big find for the world beyond. The world as a whole consumes one billion barrels of oil every fortnight.
With a record of oil-spills and their inability to engage with local communities, resulting in militancy and degradation, international oil companies have proven themselves inferior to African-originating firms. Any country in Africa with a developing extractives industry, should put African firms like Oranto Petroleum at the top of their tender lists. They know how to build businesses on the African continent where international oil companies, ie big oil, have failed.
Atlas Oranto Petroleum International Limited (AOPL) comprises Atlas Petroleum International Limited and Oranto Petroleum International Limited. These two private Nigerian indigenous sister companies are fully owned by Prince Engr. Arthur Ikpechukwu Eze and his Royal Family from The Kingdom of Dunukofia. Prince Engr. Arthur Ikpechukwu Eze founded Atlas and Oranto Petroleum International in 1991 and 1993 respectively. AOPI is wholly Nigerian-owned. AOPI is an active operator in fourteen Oil Blocks in West Africa region including OML 109 and OPL 320 in Nigeria.
Atlas Petroleum International and Oranto Petroleum, Nigeria’s largest privately-held, Africa-focused exploration and production group has an extensive footprint across the African continent. This includes 21 oil and gas licenses in 10 jurisdictions, including producing assets in Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea and numerous Atlas/Oranto-operated blocks.
Operating as sister companies in the West Africa region since 1991, Atlas and Oranto now operate in nine countries and 10 jurisdictions throughout Africa, with regional offices and representatives in all core investment locations. The group’s technical base is strategically located in Lagos, Nigeria, with corporate headquarters in Abuja, giving the energyconglomerate direct access to policy-makers in Africa’s largest economy.
AOPL maintains vast interests in upstream sector cutting across Nigeria, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Togo, Chad, Ivory Coast and Liberia. Its technical partners include Roc Oil, Pioneer Natural Resources of the USA, Canoxy, Transworld of the USA, LukOil of Russia, Tetra, Noble, Kosmos Energy of the USA, Petronas of Malaysia, DNO of Norway, TransAtlantic Petroleum of the USA and Canada’s Nexen.