LONDON, Aug. 27 (UPI) -- International oil majors are watching keenly as British energy company Tullow Oil prepares to put its Uganda assets on the auction block within the year.
Tullow says it uncovered 700 million barrels of oil in Uganda in deposits associated with Lake Albert.
But the company, faced with an 83 percent decline in first-half profits and a notable drop in North Sea oil production, needs cash to exploit the Ugandan finds, reports London's Guardian newspaper.
"It is not every day you find a new oil province similar in size to the central Graben region of the North Sea," said Exploration Director Angus McCoss. "Practically all the oil majors and some national oil corporations have been on our doorstep seeking to pre-empt a competitive (sales) process."
Tullow said it now plans to sell off part of its assets in Uganda in exchange for financial aid to establish vital infrastructure at its Lake Albert find.
The company said it plans to drop its stake in one of the three blocks in Lake Albert within the next 12 months. The deal, however, would be a public offer rather than a bilateral one.
McCoss said that apart from the 700 million unveiled, another 1.5 billion barrels of oil might lie under Lake Albert.
Uganda sees the excitement as an important economic opportunity as British majors in particular scramble to make up for declining North Sea deposits. But the Nigerian experience with militants in the oil-rich delta region is causing some government officials to worry.