Uganda halts work at CNOOC’S Kingfisher oil project after death

KAMPALA (Reuters) – Uganda’s petroleum regulator says it has suspended work at CNOOC’S Kingfisher oil project area after a fatal incident on Friday.

“This regrettable incident follows several safety incidents at this authority … previously brought to the attention of CNOOC Uganda Limited,” the Petroleum Authority of Uganda said in a letter to CNOOC Uganda late on Friday.

The authority gave no more details on the incident. CNOOC spokesperson Aminah Bukenya said she would comment at a later time.

The authority said it had scheduled a meeting for Sunday and that in the meantime, apart from safety and security work, no other activity was allowed at the Kingfisher field.

Drilling of oil wells for commercial production at the field started in January, as Uganda races towards producing its first oil output in 2025 after a long delay.

Kingfisher is one of Uganda’s two commercial oil development projects. The other, Tilenga, is operated by France’s TotalEnergies.

At peak production, Uganda plans to produce about 230,000 barrels of crude oil per day.

Uganda discovered crude oil reserves in the Albertine rift basin near the border with Democratic Republic of Congo in 2006.

Government geologists estimate the country’s confirmed reserves at 6.5 billion barrels of oil, of which 2.2 billion are recoverable.

(Reporting by Elias Biryabarema; writing by George Obulutsa; editing by Nick Macfie)