Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has said the country's oil prospects are high after samples taken to the United States for examination yielded promising results.
Museveni quoted by Daily Monitor on Thursday said the samples were taken from three new wells discovered in western Uganda around Lake Albert, which borders the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
"Tests on the oil have established that the newly discovered substance is good. We now want to establish where we have enough quantities to require a full-scale extraction," Museveni was quoted by one of his spokespersons as saying.
He said machinery to establish the economic viability or quantity of oil in the area will soon arrive in the country.
The latest news of a possible major Ugandan oil find by Tullow Oil and Hardman Resources, who has a 50 percent interest in three oil exploration licenses in Uganda, has added to its soaring share value on the London stock market.
The company's shares have already risen by more than 350 percent over the past two years, with pre-tax profits rising from just 30 million U.S. dollars in 2001 to 344 million dollars last year.
If the results of further study confirm it is a commercially- viable resource and contains between 250 and 300 million barrels of oil, construction of an export pipeline will probably follow.
Other companies exploring in Uganda are Heritage Oil and Gas and Neptune, which was licensed and hopes to start operations this year.
Uganda still has one unlicensed exploration block, but energy ministry sources say interest from companies around the world has been building following discoveries on Lake Albert.
Uganda spent 250 million dollars on petroleum products last year while the consumption rate has been increasing at six percent per day.
The potential exploration is expected to offset the enormous import bill as petrol price climbed to 1.3 dollar per liter at the pumps across the east African country.