Gloria Sebikari, the senior communications officer with the Directorate of Petroleum, confirmed that the two sides have concluded negotiations and are ready to sign the agreements.
Sebikari said the minister of Energy and Mineral Development, Irene Muloni, will grant two petroleum exploration licenses and sign the Production Sharing Agreements for the Ngassa Block with Oranto Petroleum Limited.
The signing and grant of exploration licenses to Oranto had been called off in June this year when the government said it needed to carry out more due diligence on the company before it would put pen to paper.
Oranto was among international oil companies that had submitted bids in the first round of competitive oil exploration licensing in 2015.
The source indicates that the companies that went through the bidding process have had to engage in more negotiations hoping that the government would reduce its rate of the share in the Production Sharing Agreements.
Oranto Petroleum will become the fourth international company in Uganda’s young oil and gas industry.
The major players have been Total E & P Uganda, Tullow Uganda Operations Pty Limited and China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) who are all holders of production licenses issued in respect of six (6) exploration blocks in Albertine Graben.
Uganda is currently described by the World Bank as one of the most promising inland exploration frontier in the world and the country to watch in the oil and gas space, due to the commercial discovery of an estimated 6.5 billion barrels of oil, 1.4 billion of which is recoverable.
With oil production expected to begin in 2020, there has been a hive of activity and more is expected in the coming months, with plans to build a refinery and crude oil pipeline to the port of Tanga in Tanzania, in offing.
The government is also considering a fresh licensing for three oil blocks in Taitai and Karuka and the Ngaji Block that were not taken up in the last round of bidding.