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TotalEnergies Drills 47 Wells Ahead of First Oil 2025 :: Uganda Radionetwork

TotalEnergies Drills 47 Wells Ahead of First Oil 2025

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Plans are to have about 100 wells drilled by the end of this year, and 237 wells will be required at the commencement of production.
19 Jun 2024 15:07
Drilling Rig located in Ngwedo Sub County in Bulisa District ready for Commissioning Credit Wambi Michael

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TotaLEnergies says it has so far completed the drilling of 47 wells under the Tilenga project in the Albertine Graben

. Drilling operations on wells located in Bulisa and Nwoya districts started In July 2023. Some of the completed wells are located in the Murchison Falls National Park.   

James Berya Opio, the Upstream Project Coordinator, Tilenga Project told the just-ended Second Annual Joint CSO Conference on oil and gas that the three rigs mobilized for the drilling operations have been effectively and efficiently operating.

"Our efficiency in drilling has greatly improved. We used to take up to 22 days drilling a well but now we are able to drill under 10 days per well," said Opio, one of the panelists at the conference Organised by the Petroleum Authority ( PAU) in collaboration with Civil Society Coalition on Oil and gas.   

////Cue In “The first three well pads….. 

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TotalEnergies imported three “Walking rigs” and “silent’ for drilling on the ecologically sensitive Albertine graben which includes the national park.  

Opio said they expect to drill 98 wells by the end of this year. “For us to be able to reach plateau production, we need to have about 237 wells. I believe we are very much on course to get to that objective. We have been taking lessons from every well that we drill and applying them to subsequent wells on our return on experience or REX,” said Opio.           

He further noted that their efficiency in drilling has improved with drilling duration reduced from about 10 days per well e from the initial 22 days per well. “Whereas initially, we started with a nonproductive time of about 22 %, those times have now come down to about 5%,” he said

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According to Opio, all the civil work that has to be in place to prepare the well pads for drilling stands at about 34% progress, and a number of well pads have been handed over for drilling. 

“These include Jobi Rii 5, Ngiri 3 and Gunya 1. Drilling operations have been completed. They have been handed to the enabling infrastructure constructor to continue with remedial works, “   

In May 2021, TotalEnergies EP Uganda embarked on a 43-month to Uganda’s first Oil ambition with almost six months left to 2025. The company noted while the timelines for Uganda’s first oil had been changing, it promised that there would be no turning back.   

It is expected that the project will be 60% complete by the end of 2025. With an FID taken in early February 2022, the company embarked on ensuring that the boots descend on the ground to put up onshore facilities for the production, storage, and export of crude oil.  

The project's components included enabling infrastructures, drilling wells, and engineering, supply, construction, and commissioning of surface facilities. The infrastructure included a Central Processing Facility situated in Bulisa District. 

It will also involve setting up a water abstraction facility to draw water from Lake Albert. Other facilities include the Operator camp and the operation support base.  A bore will also be drilled to cross the crude produced from wells across the River Nile. 

“The operator camp area, the operations support base area, and the CPF area have all been handed over to the EPCC contractor by the enabling infrastructure. That is Motengil,” Opio revealed.

However, he said they are yet to complete the retention pond system. “The retention pond system is supposed to ameliorate the flooding the flooding downstream of the industrial area. So works on that component should be done in July”  he said.

Roads to the Tilenga Industrial area were not tarmacked at the time the joint venture partners took the Final Investment Decision (FID). Opio reports that three major roads have been completed. The roads connect to all the well pads and the industrial area.

///Cue In “Progress is also underway……   

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Apart from the roads, Opio revealed that there is also ongoing work on other surface works within and outside the industrial area. 

The engineering component within the industrial area reportedly stood at about 86% progress, while the procurement component of that aspect was at about 67%. “Most of the major equipment has been procured, and we are in the process of setting up the first two turbine gas generators within the industrial area”      

The Construction Camp The company reports that it had put up a construction camp of about 2000 persons as of the end of the first quarter of this year.

“From the off-site perspective, by the end of April, up to 30 kilometers of pipelines had already been welded. So that is the major milestone that has been obtained,” Opio revealed. 

The update about the progress could soothe the hearts of some Ugandans who have been pushing the government to begin oil production. However, going by the progress so far, it is e evident that the first oil may not be possible within the first or second quarters of 2025.  

Some of the key facilities linked to the project like the refinery remain on paper, while works on the East African Crude oil are still in their infancy.

Philippe Groueix, General Manager of TotalEnergies EP Uganda told Uganda Radio Network that attaining First Oil 2025 will require the agility of all the players in the sector and that they aim to have oil out of the ground as soon as possible.