Uganda’s Energy Minister, Irene Muloni, announced that Uganda granted eight production licenses to France’s Total and UK-listed explorer Tullow Oil, with a total investment expected at $8b in infrastructure to aid production including drilling wells and constructing processing facilities and feeder pipelines, Reuters reported.

The oil fields, located near Uganda’s border with the Democratic Republic of Congo, are jointly owned by Total, Tullow Oil and China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC), and estimated to have reserves at nearly 7b barrels, according to Footprint to Africa.

Tullow has been granted five licenses covering Exploration Area 2 (EA2) which it operates, with Total receiving three for Exploration Area One (EA1). The companies are required to make final investment decisions 18 months from the date of receipt of the licenses.

Muloni further declared the government’s plan to build a domestic refinery to process the Uganda’s crude with the aim of processing 60,000 barrels daily.