Total buys Maersk Oil & Gas business in North Sea, causes panic in Uganda
The decision by French oil major Total to acquire over $7.45 billion stake Maersk’s oil and gas business operations in the North Sea will not affect Total’s Operation in Uganda says its Chief Executive Officer, Patrick Pouyanne.
The Company, one of the Joint Venture partners in the Albertine region on Monday announced it was buying Denmark’s Maersk Oil and Gas to enable it produce up to 200,000 b/d in the early 2020s.
The announcement that caused surprise to the oil markets equally raised fears that TOTAL could abandon the construction of the over $3.55 billion oil pipeline from Hoima to Tanzania’s port of Tanga.
Patrick Pouyanne in a statement sent reassurance to Uganda’s oil and gas sector saying there would be no impact on a plan to build the export pipeline from Uganda.
Total played a leading role in the negotiations leading to Uganda and Tanzania agreeing the East African Crude oil pipeline.
Uganda and Tanzania in May signed the East African Crude Oil Pipeline Inter-Governmental Agreement (EACOP) which unlocked some of the obstacles that had delayed Uganda’s oil production. President Museveni and his Tanzanian counterpart, John Pombe Magufuli launched the over 1400 kilometer pipeline project early this month.
TOTAL had time of commissioning the project said the JV partners would embark on a journey of detailed planning and execution complimenting the already ongoing studies such as Environment and Social Impact Assessments and Front End Engineering Design for the EACOP project.
Pouyanne in a statement hinted on that Total is still committed to earlier plans on the Uganda-Tanzania development.
“We are focused on Uganda and in Uganda we have progressed quite a lot on the project, with an agreement which has been signed between Uganda and Tanzania early August,” Pouyanne said.
The Maersk acquisition “does not impact the development plan that we have on the Uganda resources for the Tanzania pipeline. It’s a priority for us. We want to sanction that project first half 2018, and so we’ll not change our plans on Uganda, but maybe we’ll see if we can be efficient and participate in the development of Kenya,” he said.
Kenya hosts some of the assets owned by Denmark’s Maersk Oil and Gas in the South Lokichar area where Tullow oil recently hit a dry well.
It is expected that TOTAL could be one of the investors in the project after the National Oil Company takes its 40%. Government plans to create a national oil pipeline Company in which it control 40% and the rest by other investors.
In February 2012, Total E&P Uganda began operations in the sensitive area of the Murchison Falls National Park where majority of its exploration and production activities are based.
French oil major Total in January this year said it was buying the stake in Tullow Oil Plc for $900 million.
It also along with CNOOC and TULLOW launched the Front End Engineering Design (FEED) studies for the EA-1 and Northern EA-2 Upstream project.
Total E&P Uganda General Manager and Total Group representative in Uganda Adewale Fayemi this week told Uganda Radio Network that work on the Front End Engineering Design (FEED) studies was progressing well and that the Joint Venture Partners to were confident to make for a Final Investment Decision (FID) by the end the year.
The Joint Ventures Partners are waiting for the Front End Engineering Design (FEED) to determine costs and requirement that could also lead to the project execution and construction phase for the upstream facilities required to produce Uganda’s Oil targeted for end 2020.
The three companies conducting the d to conduct the Front End Engineering Design (FEED) include Fluor (partnering with China Petroleum Engineering and Construction Corporation – CPECC), Technip and Chicago Bridge & Iron Company (CB&I).
Managing public expectations remains a challenge for the government of Uganda as the country edges ever closer to producing her first crude oil. Dr. Earnest Rubondo, the Petroleum Authority Executive Director, is however excited that Uganda has smoothly navigated through the anxiety and expectations than previously thought.