Tullow entered into three Ugandan exploration licences in 2004 following the acquisition of Energy Africa. The Group added further equity and operatorship to the licences in the Lake Albert Rift Basin when it acquired Hardman Resources in 2007.
The acreage presented Tullow with a great opportunity to explore across this vast, and relatively undrilled, onshore basin. In 2006, Tullow began to get encouraging exploration results and flow tests from some initial wells. Further significant discoveries and appraisal success led in 2009 to the basin development commercial volume threshold being exceeded. Following further success, contingent resources are now estimated to be around 1.7 billion barrels of oil. A series of transactions took place in 2010-2012 whereby Tullow acquired 100% of the three licences before farming down a third of the equity to both CNOOC and Total. The transaction was for a total consideration of $2.9bn and effectively unitised the basin equally between all three parties ahead the basin development.
FARM-DOWN TO TOTAL
On 9 January 2017, Tullow announced that it has agreed a substantial farm-down of its assets in Uganda to Total. Under the Sale and Purchase Agreement, Tullow has agreed to transfer 21.57% of its 33.33% interest in Exploration Areas 1, 1A, 2 and 3A in Uganda to Total for a total consideration of $900 million. The farm-down leaves Tullow with an 11.76% interest in the upstream and pipeline, which will reduce to 10% when the Government of Uganda formally exercises its right to back-in.
The consideration is split into $200 million in cash, consisting of $100 million payable on completion of the transaction, $50 million payable at FID and $50 million payable at first oil. The remaining $700 million is in deferred consideration and represents reimbursement by Total in cash of a proportion of Tullow’s past exploration and development costs. The deferred consideration will fund Tullow’s share of the development and pipeline costs as the Lake Albert Development reaches a series of key milestones. Completion of the transaction is subject to government approval, after which Tullow will cease to be an operator in Uganda.
This agreement will allow the Lake Albert Development to move ahead and increases the likelihood of FID around the end of 2017.
Plans for developing the significant discoveries in Uganda and neighbouring Kenya are ongoing. All appraisal activities and pre-FEED studies have been completed and preparation for FEED is under way. In April 2016, it was agreed by the Governments of Uganda and Kenya that the two countries would develop separate, standalone export pipelines for their oil resources. In Uganda, Tullow is now working with the Government of Uganda and our Partners on the development of the significant resources through a Uganda-Tanzania pipeline.
The development of Uganda’s oil resources has accelerated in recent months following the award of eight Production Licences by the Government over fields in Tullow and Total operated areas. This is an important milestone to achieve as the Joint Venture Partners move the Uganda development project forwards.