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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

Uganda issues oil exploration license to Australian firm

KAMPALA Uganda (Xinhua) -- Uganda on Thursday issued an oil exploration license to an Australian firm, Armour Energy Limited (AEL) in a bid to expand the country’s resource base from the current 6.5 billion barrels of oil.

Irene Muloni, Uganda’s minister of energy and mineral development while speaking at the signing ceremony here said there have been protracted negotiations due to the sustained low oil prices.

“We therefore appreciate the effort and commitment shown by Armour Energy Ltd that has been cooperative throughout the process, which shows their willingness to be a partner in the development of our oil and gas sector,” Muloni said.

She said the license covers a period of four years in the Kanywataba Contract Area, in the Albertine Graben.

Government also signed a Production Sharing Agreement with the exploration firm.

Robert Kasande, acting Permanent Secretary said one of the major achievements from this licensing round was the development of a state of the art data room which remains open to the industry to view and purchase data.

The data room will also be used for future licensing rounds.

“The ministry was able to generate 2.4 million U.S. dollars from the sale of data to bidders which was paid to the Uganda Petroleum Fund,” he said.

AEL joins China National Offshore Oil Corporation, France’s Total and Britain’s Tullow Oil in exploring for oil in Uganda.

Uganda in May this year signed an agreement with neighboring Tanzania to kick off the construction of a crude oil pipeline from Albertine Graben to the Tanzanian seaport of Tanga.

Construction of the 1,445-km oil pipeline is expected to start towards the end of this year and will last up to 2020. The first drop of crude oil is expected the other side of the pipeline by the end of 2020, according to goals set by both governments.

Uganda also plans to construct an oil refinery producing initially 30,000 barrels of oil per day.

Experts argue that if used well, the oil revenues are likely to fast track Uganda’s economic development unlike in some African countries where the resource has turned out to be a curse.

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EARLIER REPORT:

China helps boost Uganda health sector: minister

KAMPALA Uganda (Xinhua) -- Uganda’s minister of health on Wednesday said China has been critical in boosting the development of the country’s health sector.

Ruth Aceng was speaking at a ceremony welcoming a new Chinese medical team at the China Uganda Friendship Hospital in the capital Kampala.

“We thank China for the continued collaboration, cooperation and support. We acknowledge the good work these teams do in our hospitals,” said Aceng.

The medical team composed of nine experts will be based at the 100-bed hospital which was donated by China in 2012.

It will offer free specialized health and medical services in the east African country for the next two years.

Aceng thanked the Chinese government for the planned refurbishment and expansion of the hospital.

“As you plan to expand the hospital we need to more specialists coming in as we collaborate. We need continued collaboration in training, capacity building, human resource and medical supplies,” said Aceng.

Zheng Zhuqiang, Chinese ambassador to Uganda said the dispatch of medical teams to Uganda has become one of the major modalities of medical and health cooperation between China and African countries.

“Chinese medical teams have brought not only the high level medical treatment technology through the years, but also the traditional Chinese medical methods like acupuncture and manipulation therapy to Uganda,” Zheng said.

Over the last several decades China has been sending medical teams to Uganda in order to boost the country’s health care.

The first medical team arrived in Uganda in 1983 and since then, about 170 medical experts in different specialties ranging from urologists, gynecologists, orthopedics among others have served in the country.

 

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