Uganda’s government is negotiating with an investment company led by a member of Dubai’s royal family to develop a $4bn (£3.1bn) oil refinery.
The United Arab Emirate’s Alpha MBM Investments LLC was chosen by Uganda from five companies that submitted bids for the project, Energy and Mineral Development Minister Ruth Nankabirwa told the BBC Newsday programme.
The two parties are expected to reach a deal within three months.
“We hope they are not going to spend a lot of time looking for money because they indicated that it’ll be possible to get the money and the technology that we need that will be able to help us get our crude oil refined, taking care of the environmental requirements,” Ms Nankabirwa said.
The minister told Newsday that regulations will be established to reduce the project’s emissions and minimise its environmental harm.
The government has said the refinery will help Uganda process some of its crude oil commercially, as part of what officials say is $20bn worth of investments in the sector.
The country expects to start pumping crude oil commercially in 2025.
“Already, the investments that have been put in place so far have contributed a great deal to the economy of the country – about $8.6bn – and we are expecting to get more than that in this period, between $20bn-$25bn,” Ms Nankabirwa told Newsday.
Uganda is in the early stages of developing another oil project – a 1,443km (896-mile) pipeline to transport crude oil for export from Western Uganda to Tanzania’s Tanga port.