Multinational power generation company Aggreko is the latest in a number of international energy firms to eye opportunity in Uganda’s gas to power industry, according to local media reports.

While Aggreko has not yet applied for a licence, it is seeking talks with Uganda’s energy regulator on how it can produce electricity from the gas reserves in the western part of the country.

Chamberlain Duruike, head of oil and gas for Aggreko Africa, told a local newspaper that the company is interested in playing a role in Uganda’s gas industry. “We are the only operator able to offer the customers the choice of diesel, heavy fuel oil (HFO) and gas. We would urgently like to open up discussions with Electricity Regulatory Authority on the best way forward,” he said.

Gas potential

Uganda’s oil industry, valued at US$150bn, according to the ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, has already sparked off major interest from energy firms looking to develop the gas.

Norway’s Jacobsen Elektro Holding, Albatros Energy Uganda and Lake Albert Infrastructure Services have all applied for licences this year.

Jacobsen said it wanted permission to produce 100 MW of power. The company, which already has a 50 MW thermal power plant at Namanve, wrote in its licence application of how the three major oil companies – Tullow, Total and Cnooc – had determined Uganda’s gas reserves to be higher than earlier anticipated.

Lake Albert Infrastructure Services Limited, whose parent company in Uganda is EleQtra, said it would spend US$87 million to develop its 52 MW gas plant. Albatros Energy, which is to put up a 230 MW power plant using crude oil, does not mention how much money it will spend.

Licensing delays

However, there are still delays in Uganda’s progress towards becoming an oil producer.

Only Cnooc has received a production licence. Tullow Oil submitted a couple of licence applications but none has been issued to date. The government was supposed to have chosen the lead investor for the refinery by June this year, but has failed to do so.