UGANDA HIRES GE, OTHERS TO DEVELOP REFINERY PROJECT

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Uganda has selected a group, which includes General Electric Company, to build and operate a 60,000-barrel-a-day refinery that will process crude from fields being developed by Total SA and Tullow Oil Plc.

The Albertine Graben Refinery Consortium, which also includes Yaatra Ventures LLC, Intracontinent Asset Holdings Limited and Italy’s SaipemSpA, was picked after a review of more than 40 companies, Uganda’s Energy Ministry said.

Uganda, according to Reuters report, has been seek­ing a new developer for the $4 billion facility since negotiations with groups led by Russia’s RT Global Resources LLC and South Korea’s SK Engineering & Construction Company collapsed. GE has recently expanded in the industry by teaming up with Baker Hughes Incorporated, while Saipem, a $4.1 billion company based in Milan, has operated for more than 50 years.

The government expects to conclude a project framework agreement with the developers over the next two months, according to Uganda’s Energy Ministry.

The facility in Hoima district will initially be able to process 30,000 barrels a day. Starting in 2020, the plant will be supplied by fields with 6.5 billion bar­rels of resources, developed by Total, London-based Tullow and China’s CNOOC Limited.

Alan Gelder, vice president of refining, chemicals and oil markets at consultants Wood Mackenzie Limited said it’s hard to estimate a cost for the project because Uganda doesn’t yet have the entire  infrastructure it needs to bring equipment into the landlocked country.

While the government initially reserved 40 percent of the refinery for itself, with an option to sell part  of that holding to other countries in the region — it hasn’t disclosed the share to be controlled by the consortium. Uganda will build a refined-product pipeline to Kampala and a crude-export pipeline through neighboring Tanzania.

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