The oil major Total has signed a deal to commit $5.1 billion of investment to an oil-production project in Uganda.
Commercially viable oil reserves were first discovered in Uganda in 2006 by London-based Tullow Oil Plc., but various delays have hindered the project, and Tullow has also sold its stake since then. Now, Total will develop the Kingfisher and Tilenga oil fields, which it has a 57% stake in, near Lake Albert. Production is expected to reach 230,000 barrels per day.
To transport the produced crude oil to the port of Tanga in Tanzania for export, an almost 900-mile-long heated pipeline – which Total will also have a large stake in – will also be built. During the construction phase, businesses in Uganda and Tanzania are expected, according to Total’s annual report, to be awarded $1.7 billion worth of work, with further work in future.
Like many oil companies, Total is committed to transitioning away from fossil fuels, but the project demonstrates that oil will continue to be in demand for some time yet for fuel and industrial products like slideway oil. There are also concerns about the developments potentially impacting the environment around Lake Albert in the Murchison Falls National Park, but Total claims that measures will be taken to avoid any disruption to the region.
Total is already a major player on the African continent, and this investment, coming at a time when many oil companies have reigned in their spending, will further reinforce that position.