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The Uganda government has announced it will allow companies to bid for oil exploration licences next month.

Energy and mineral development minister Irene Muloni gave the news at a press conference last week, revealing seven new exploration blocks will open for bidding for the Albertine Graben site, All Africa reported.

Bidding will commence during the second week of May, so that it occurs at the same time as the East African Community Petroleum Conference, which is being held in Kenya’s Mombasa.

This is the second round of bidding for oil exploration deals, with the government having already signed deals with Armour Energy from Australia and Oranto Petroleum from Nigeria for more than Shs7 billion (£1.43 billion).

The first round of bidding unlocked six billion barrels of oil from the country’s capacity. However, Ms Muloni revealed new locations have been encountered.

“We have so far allocated ten per cent of the Graven to the existing firms. From the remaining 90 per cent of the Graben, we have picked data and it is this data that has helped us with the forming of these new blocks,” she stated.

It is thought the new area will cover both onshore and offshore sites covering 1,200 kilometres of oil exploration.

Uganda is not the only promising location for oil discovery, and Alaska’s North Slope is so rich in the fuel, there could be a significant rise in exploration in this region in the coming years.

Peninsula Clarion recently reported state officials as saying oil and rig activity in the area could reach a 20-year high in 2019.

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