News and Analysis

First oil laboratory to be opened in Uganda

Uganda has received a high end laboratory that will test rock samples to determine the potential of a given area for hydrocarbons (oil and gas).

The lab, the first of its kind in the country, will study sample rocks from potential areas to establish their permeability, porosity, conductivity, fluid content and geologic age – for presence of hydrocarbons, through a process known as Core sampling.

Core sampling is a process used in mining by taking a solid core of rock from a reservoir to determine the potentiality of a mineral. Mr Sriniras Reddy, the lab’s operations manager, said yesterday, the sampling will give oil companies “data about the fields” they are exploring for hydrocarbons, without having to take the samples abroad for testing as has been the practice.

The Shs1.8 billion facility has been established by ICON Industrial Services (U) Limited chaired by businessman Godfrey Kirumira.

Now that the laboratory is here, we hope to get business from the joint venture companies noted Mr Kirumira. He exuded confidence that the laboratory will offer the same services as presented abroad, though at comparatively lower rates.

Mr Bernard Ongodia, a senior geophysicist at government’s Petroleum Exploration and Production department (PEPD), said the development will help boost and promote local content in the value added chain.
“The oil companies have been conducting core testing from their respective home countries, at times even using accredited laboratories in the UK,” he added, but, “when you have such a facility in the country, It will also reduce the cost of doing business.”

He, however cautioned, that the quality of the analysis should not be compromised in efforts to provide employment opportunities for Ugandans. Three Ugandans have so far been selected to run the facility, which will be officially opened today by the Energy minister.

Source: Uganda Dailies.

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