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Oil companies shy away from Ngaji block bid
The seven oil companies that recently submitted bids for prospective oil blocks up for licensing in the Albertine Graben have shied away from the ecologically-sensitive Ngaji block in Lake Albert at Uganda-DR Congo border, according to officials.

Frank Mugisha, the acting commissioner in charge of exploration in the Petroleum Directorate, disclosed to Daily Monitor yesterday that "from the bids that were submitted there was none [interest] for Ngaji." "It was actually interesting although not surprising," he said. "There was a lot of smear campaigns by various environmental groups [like Global Witness] and we think it was part of the reason."

The Ngaji block, about 895 Km2 between the south western districts of Rukungiri and Kanungu, was among five other blocks up for grabs in the much awaited licensing round. Other blocks include Ngassa (410 Km2) in Hoima; Kanywantaba (344 Km2) and Turaco (425 Km2), in Ntoroko; Taitai & Karuka (565 Km2) in Buliisa, and Mvule (344 Km2) in Moyo/Yumbe.

The Ministry of Energy last week published a list of seven oil companies that bided for the oil blocks. The lineup included Armour Energy Ltd and Swala Energy Ltd from Australia, three from NigeriaŚWalterSmith Petroman Oil Ltd, Oranto Petroleum International Ltd, and Niger Delta Petroleum Resources Ltd, Rift Energy Corporation from Canada, and Glint Energy LLC from USA. The companies were shortlisted from a pool of 16 companies that had initially expressed interest. 

The government will now undertake evaluation of bids based on, among others, the companies's work programme, technical and financial capacities, which the Energy ministry permanent secretary Kabagambe Kaliisa said, the exercise will be concluded with negotiations with the successful bidders, signing the Production Sharing Agreements (PSAs) and awarding of exploration licences by end of June.
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By Frederic Musisi, Daily Monitor
Posted 10th, March 2016
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