Uganda has come closer to materializing its plan to produce first oil by 2020. Partners in Uganda’s oil and gas are closer to making a final investment decision (FID) following the announcement that three companies will be involved in technical studies for upstream development, The East African informed.

According to All Africa, the Ugandan government has given the three oil joint venture (JV) partners, France’s Total E&P, UK’s Tullow Oil, and China’c Cnooc, up to December as deadline for closing FID.

The licensed areas have 5.4b barrels of crude out of the overall discovery volume of 6.5b barrels. Officials said this amount is constituting merely 25% of the country’s potential hydrocarbons. The fields, however, will not come on stream at the same time.

The JV was formed in August 2016 when the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development issued eight production licenses to the three companies. When the contract was signed, the ministry informed the companies were expected to work towards reaching FID within 18 months after issuance of the production licenses.