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From Reuters:

LONDON – A deal this week has brought Uganda a step closer to becoming a significant oil producer, offering billions of dollars of fresh investment to develop newly discovered oilfields.

Italian energy giant Eni said on Monday it had agreed to buy a stake in two large oil exploration blocks in Uganda for up to $1.5 billion.

For a decade, exploration in the land-locked former British colony has been carried out by a handful of independent oil companies who have drilled a series of successful wells but who lack the large amounts of capital or expertise on their own to bring the local oil industry to its full potential.

The entry of Eni, an integrated oil company with enough cash to build pipelines, terminals and refining capacity, heralds an escalation of development, which analysts say is likely to make Uganda one of the top-50 oil producers by 2015.

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