Libya not after Uganda's oil -- minister

Dec. 21, 2009 at 12:40 PM
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KAMPALA, Uganda, Dec. 21 (UPI) -- Uganda rejects any suggestion that Libya is moving to take a sizable share of Uganda's oil reserves, a Foreign Ministry official said.

Ugandan news Web site Vision during the weekend ran an article suggesting Libya was pursuing a deal with Italian energy company Eni, which is attempting to take Ugandan interests away from Heritage Oil.

Heritage Oil agreed in November to sell 50 percent of its stake in two blocks in the oil-rich Lake Albert region of Uganda. The Eni deal would make Libya one of the largest shareholders of Uganda oil assets.

Sam Kutesa, the Uganda foreign affairs minister, rejected the allegation that Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi was after Ugandan oil, Vision reports.

"The government of Uganda does not accept the view that Gadhafi is after Uganda's oil," he said.

He said that with Libya sitting on more oil reserves than Uganda, it was unlikely Tripoli was looking to move beyond its borders.

"Any misunderstanding the article may have caused between the two countries is unfortunate and we disassociate ourselves from it," he stressed.

Meanwhile, the Financial Times reported it was likely Tullow Oil could block the Eni deal with Heritage by using its right to move ahead of the deal.

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