Uganda on Tuesday officially launched oil drilling activities in the country's western district of Kikuube.
Speaking at the launch of the Kingfisher oil drilling rig, President Yoweri Museveni said this was a historic occasion because oil was discovered by the British colonialists in the area in 1920s.
'I congratulate all those who played their parts to make this possible. Shell Oil Company wanted me to sign with them an oil exploration agreement when I had just come into power 1986 but I refused because I was ignorant about petroleum issues,' he claimed.
He said after launching a study based in Uganda, he came up with the idea of inviting companies to explore oil.
He also thanked the Chinese government for supporting Uganda in the oil development. The rig was constructed by the China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) Uganda.
Energy and Mineral Development Minister Ruth Nankabirwa said: 'This is an exciting moment. I thank the president of Uganda and the parliament for the steadfast support of this project.'
She said that the oil project will develop a central processing facility with a peak capacity of 40,000 barrels of oil per day.
By Godfrey Olukya in Kampalai, Uganda