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Who owns Uganda’s new oil exploration firms?

On Aug. 01, 2016, the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development announced the completion of evaluation of seven bids for the first competitive licensing round and invited four of them to negotiate for Production Sharing Agreements (PSAs). The government will eventually issue five exploration licenses upon successful completion of the negotiations. The negotiation for the PSAs is the final milestone before granting exploration rights over these areas.  The key aspects being discussed during the negotiations include the respective work programmes, National Content, and the fiscal aspects like Royalties, which were biddable. Further due diligence is also being undertaken on the successful bidders with regard to their financial, technical and Health, Safety and Environment management capabilities prior to the issuance of licenses.  The Independent’s Isaac Khisa made an online background check on the ownership of each of the four companies:

Armour Energy Limited –Armour Energy Ltd, an Australian exploration company, is negotiating for the Kanywataba Bloack.

Mather
Mather

Armour Energy Ltd is listed on the Australian Stock Exchange.  DGR Global Ltd and American Energy Partners own 15% and 23.25% in the AEL respectively. Nicholas (Nick) Mather, who is the CEO of the exploration firm, is the managing director and co-founder of DGR Global Ltd (ASX).  He also serves as a director at Orbis Gold Ltd (formerly Mt Isa Metals Ltd), AusNiCo Ltd, Navaho Gold Ltd, Lakes Oil NL and SolGold plc.

Niger Delta Petroleum Resources Ltd of Nigeria –Niger Delta Petroleum Resources is negotiating for the Shallow and Deep Plays in the Ngassa Area.

Fatona
Fatona

The company   is a wholly owned subsidiary of Niger Delta Exploration & Production Plc (NDEP).  It was incorporated in March 1992 (as the Midas Drilling Fund) before assuming its current name in Nov 1996. NDEP is a publicly-owned, integrated independent oil and gas focused investment company.

Layi Fatona, the firm’s managing director, is a petroleum geologist with 39 years of oil industry experience. He is also the chairman of Geotrex Systems Ltd, an exploration and production consultancy firm, which he joined after a seven-year stint at the Petroleum Engineering and Exploration Department of the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC).

Layi and his lean management team at Niger Delta is said to have  brought a new dimension to the commercialisation of gas and adding refining to the value chain for Marginal field Operations and operators. He pioneered the monetisation of gas resources by building the first ever gas scrubbing plant with full value capture from Liquefied Petroleum Gas, propane and dry gas production through total elimination of gas flaring. He is currently looking at raising $400 million through private investors and an Initial Public Offering (IPO) on the Nigerian capital market to fund expansions in the Sub-Saharan Africa.

Oranto Petroleum International Ltd of Nigeria – Oranto Petroleum is negotiating for the Shallow and Deep Plays in the Ngassa Area.

Prince Arthur Eze
Prince Arthur Oze

The company is chaired by Prince Arthur Eze, who also doubles as the CEO.  His company has secured significant upstream positions in frontier plays in Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Togo, Ivory Coast, Chad, Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea. Eze is considered the eighth richest person in Africa with a net worth of more than $5.8 billion.

WalterSmithPetroman Oil Ltd of Nigeria – WalterSmithPetroman Oil Ltd is negotiating for the Shallow and Deep Plays in the Turaco Area.

The firm was co-founded by Abdulrazaq Isa and Danjuma Saleh in 1996 and is headquartered in Lagos, Nigeria.  Initially, the firm was a joint venture between Waltersmith and Associates Limited, a Nigerian company, and Petroman Oil Limited of Calgary, Canada, to operate as an oil exploration and production company.  But in 2001, Walter Smith Petroman Oil Ltd became a wholly-owned Nigerian company with the divestment of Petroman Oil Limited.

Abdulrazaq is known for being an entrepreneur and former banker and has extensive experience in both private and public sectors.  During his professional career, he has been involved in the structuring and financing of several multi-million dollar transactions in the upstream and oil service segments of the oil and gas industry.

Similarly, Danjuma is an astute banker with over 17 years’ experience in retail and mortgage banking.  Danjuma possesses excellent marketing and corporate banking skills and sits on the boards of several other companies including Pipeline Integrity Ltd and Tropical Wood Processors Nigeria Ltd.

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editor@independent.co.ug

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