According to the ministry of energy and mineral development a group led by Petrofac, Marubeni and Global Resources are within the six.

The others selected for the development of 60,000 barrels a day refinery were China Petroleum Pipeline Bureau, SK Energy and a group led by Vitol.

According to the ministry, one of the companies or consortiums will be selected to develop the project in the first half of 2014.

The private sector, which will be selected, will hold a stake of up to 60% in the $2.5bn project, said the government.

East African neighbors such as Kenya, Rwanda and Tanzania are expected to take around 10% interest in the government’s share, reports Reuters.

Uganda permanent secretary Fred Kabagambe-Kaliisa was quoted by the publication as saying, "The interest in the project … clearly demonstrates that the international community sees real economic and energy opportunities within Uganda’s borders."

With the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2006, Uganda had discovered commercial hydrocarbon deposits in the Albertine rift basin, along its border, which are expected to include around 3.5 billion barrels.