Ejiofor Alike with agency reports
Nigeriaâ€™s Oranto Petroleum has signed two production sharing agreements with Uganda to explore for oil and gas around Lake Albert.
Oranto Petroleum International was among a number of companies that bid in the countryâ€™s first competitive oil exploration licensing round last year, with two other Nigerian firms and Australiaâ€™s Armour Energy.
Â â€œWe are excited to enter this agreement … Lake Albert is home to some prime petroleum acreage,â€ Reuters quoted Chairman of Oranto Petroleum, Prince Arthur Eze, as saying in a statement.
The deal covers the Ngassa Shallow Play and Ngassa Deep Play exploration blocks located near the southern part of Lake Albert, Ugandaâ€™s ministry of energy and mineral development said.
Uganda discovered oil in 2006 in the Albertine rift basin along its border with the Democratic Republic of Congo. Recoverable crude reserves are estimated between 1.4 and 1.7 billion barrels and first production is due in 2020.
Ugandaâ€™s Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development had earlier confirmed that the deal with Oranto covers the Ngassa Shallow Play and Ngassa Deep Play exploration blocks located near the southern part of Lake Albert.
The first batch of licences that Uganda awarded in the early 2000s was given on a first-come, first-served basis.
But after the discovery of commercially recoverable reserves the country enacted new laws to manage the sector and under those laws exploration licences must be granted on a competitive basis.
In Nigeria, Oranto Petroleum operates Oil Prospecting Leases (OPLs) 293 and 320, a deepwater block in the Niger Delta with major upside potential, as well as OML 109.