The preliminary exploration period from 1927 to 1945 saw the reporting of oil seepages, drilling of Waki-B1 well in 1937 by Anglo European Investment Company of South Africa and some small stratigraphic wells drilled in the areas of Kibiro and Kibuku based on oil seep observations. However, no commercial discoveries were made during that time.Due to the World War II, Colonial Policy and later due to political uncertainties, the efforts stagnated between the years, 1945 to 1980.
In 1983 acquisition of aeromagnetic data over the entire Albertine Graben results confirmed three main depocentres conducive for petroleum generation.
In 1985 Enactment of the Petroleum Exploration and Production Act took place. The Act led to the creation of a specialized petroleum unit in the Geological Survey and Mines Department. This unit was transformed into PEPD in 1991.
1992 saw licensing of PETROFINA for the entire Albertine Graben. PETROFINA left in 1993 without doing any work.
In 1993, PEPD commenced ground follow-up surveys in the areas identified by the aeromagnetic survey. Over 10,000 Km2 of the Albertine Graben was geologically mapped and 7,500 line Kms of gravity and magnetic data was acquired by PEPD. This data was processed, interpreted and used for promotion of Uganda’s petroleum potential to investors.
Semliki basin was licensed to Heritage Oil and Gas in 1997 which acquired the first 170 line Kms of 2D seismic data in the country in 1998. An additional 228 line Kms were acquired during 2001 in Semliki basin, south of Lake Albert.
In 2001, Northern Lake Albert Basin was licensed to Hardman Petroleum Resources
The year 2002-2004 saw significant oil and gas shows after drilling the Turaco-1, -2 and -3 wells in Semliki Basin. In the same period, 1,589 line Kms of 2D seismic over Lake Albert and 390 Km2 of 3D seismic data in Semliki basin were acquired.
In 2005, 2D seismic surveys were carried out over Kaiso-Tonya and Buhuka-Bugoma areas. EA5, the Rhino Camp basin, was also licensed to Neptune Petroleum during the same year.
The first oil discovery was made in 2006 by Hardman and Energy Africa/Tullow oil plc in Mputa-1 well, Kaiso-Tonya area. Uganda’s oil reserves became known in 2006 and not match progress was made because of a lot of political and none political issues which have surrounded the discovery.
In 2007 EA4B was licensed to Dominion Petroleum Limited
2007 to date; Acquisition of data, drilling of wells and implementation of the National Oil and Gas Policy for Uganda which was approved in 2008.
In 2012, the Exploration, Development and Production Bill 2012, and The Refining, Gas Conversion, Transportation and Storage Bill 2012 were presented to Parliament but have not been passed into law.