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Uganda Launches its First Oil Drilling Programme

The Kingfisher field is part of a $10bn scheme to develop Uganda’s oil reserves under Lake Albert in the west of the country and build a vast pipeline to ship the crude to international markets via an Indian Ocean port in Tanzania. The president [Yoweri Museveni] has officially commissioned the start of drilling campaign on the Kingfisher oilfield,” the Petroleum Authority of Uganda (PAU) said on Twitter, describing the development as a “milestone”. The East African nation discovered commercial reserves of petroleum nearly two decades ago in one of the world’s most biodiverse regions but production has been repeatedly delayed by a lack of infrastructure like a pipeline. At peak, Uganda plans to produce about 230,000 barrels of crude oil per day. The country’s crude reserves are estimated at 6.5 billion barrels, of which 1.4 billion barrels are recoverable. However, the plans to tap the oil at Lake Albert, a 160-kilometre (100-mile) long body of water separating Uganda from the Democratic Republic of Congo, have run into strong opposition from rights activists and environmental groups.