Uganda Nears $4 Billion Refinery Deal with Dubai

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Uganda is actively engaging in discussions with Alpha MBM Investments, an investment company led by Sheikh Mohammed bin Maktoum bin Juma Al Maktoum of Dubai’s royal family, to develop a $4 billion refinery, as announced by the country’s Energy Minister on Tuesday.

This development follows Uganda’s decision in July to halt negotiations with a consortium that included a unit of U.S. firm Baker Hughes due to the consortium’s inability to swiftly mobilize funds.

Minister of Energy and Mineral Development Ruth Nankabirwa revealed at a press briefing that expressions of interest were received from various potential investors. After thorough evaluation, a memorandum of understanding was signed on December 22, 2023.

Negotiations between the Ugandan government and Alpha MBM Investments are set to commence on January 16, with an ambitious target to finalize the deal before April 2024.

The proposed $4 billion refinery is a significant move for Uganda, with hopes to capitalize on a potential windfall from its planned 60,000 barrel-per-day facility. The project aims to commence commercial production in 2025 from fields located in the Albertine rift basin in the country’s west, adjacent to the Democratic Republic of Congo’s border.

The fields are a collaboration between the Ugandan government, managed through the state-run Uganda National Oil Company, and international partners including China’s CNOOC and France’s Total Energies.

Alpha MBM Investments, under the leadership of Sheikh Mohammed bin Maktoum bin Juma Al Maktoum, emerges as a key player in this significant venture. The investment company’s involvement adds a strategic dimension to the project, aligning with the government’s aspirations for timely and well-funded refinery development.

This initiative marks a pivotal step for Uganda in its pursuit of energy independence and economic advancement. The collaboration with Alpha MBM Investments signifies not only a financial boost but also opens avenues for technological expertise and global partnerships. As Uganda navigates the final stages of negotiation, the successful realization of this ambitious refinery project could usher in a new era of economic growth and energy sustainability for the East African nation.

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