Uganda sets up region’s first oil lab

Saturday September 21 2013

By HALIMA ABDALLAH Special Correspondent 

Uganda's oil sector has received a boost with the establishment of a laboratory that will test the expected production rate of oil, measured by the number of barrels per day.

The laboratory project, furnished with $750,000 worth of equipment, is a partnership between local firm Icon Industrial Services Uganda Ltd, and a Colombian firm C & Company Reddy, which hold a 60 per cent and 40 per cent stake respectively.

The laboratory in Kampala is the first of its kind in East and Central Africa. Nigeria is the other African country that has such a laboratory.

Costly service

Although Uganda discovered oil in 2006, no investors had ventured into the laboratory business. This meant that both government and oil company staff had to travel overseas for the service.

“This implied an additional cost that was recoverable by the oil companies,” said Irene Muloni, the Minister for Energy. “This investment is timely as it will not only save the government money, but time as well, which are essential factors in the petroleum industry.”

The laboratory is already operational with initial work focusing on core analysis — studying rock cuttings obtained from underground during drilling.  The laboratory expects to start special core analysis, which is the second stage, in the next six months.

Ricardo Correa, the president of C & Company Group, said the rocks will be analysed further for electrical properties, capillary pressure relative permeability and water flooding.