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Uganda to choose oil firm

KAMPALA, Mar 11 – Uganda will next month decide which international oil firm will carry out production and development of its nascent petroleum industry, an energy ministry official said Wednesday.

Uganda is currently weighing rival bids from France\’s Total and the Chinese state-controlled giant CNOOC to take over assets in the oil-rich Lake Albert region.

"Our expectation is that by April we will have finished our evaluation and that the government will give the go ahead for the transactions to proceed," the energy ministry\’s permanent secretary, Kabagambe Kaliisa, told reporters.

Uganda\’s estimated two billion barrels of crude are currently controlled by two small exploration firms: Britain\’s Tullow and Canada\’s Heritage.

Tullow is to buy Heritage\’s stakes and will immediately resell a significant share to an oil major with significant experience in production and delvelopment, operations manager Brian Glover told AFP recently.

Kaliisa said that Tullow\’s prospective partner must have a considerable capital available to invest in Uganda.

"We have told everybody in the world that we are looking for strong investment in this sector. We are looking for companies that have strong market capitalisation," he said.

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