Chinese oil giant CNOOC is negotiating with Uganda to invest in the African country\'s first oil refinery, state media said Thursday, as Beijing ramps up investment in the resource-rich continent. State-owned CNOOC, along with Anglo-Irish Tullow Oil and France\'s Total, would invest in the projected $1.5 billion refinery in the Lake Albert rift basin in western Uganda, the China Daily said. The newspaper, citing Elly Karuhanga, chairman of the Uganda Chambers of Mines and Petroleum, said the companies were discussing the division of the investment. A spokeswoman for CNOOC did not immediately respond to AFP\'s request for comment. The report comes after Tullow said Tuesday it had finalised a long-delayed $2.9 billion sale of two-thirds of its Uganda oil licences to Total and CNOOC. The companies are working with the Ugandan government on development options for the basin. Small-scale oil and gas production is expected to start in 2013 before being ramped up in 2016, Tullow said in a statement. China has deepened links with resource-rich African nations in recent years as it looks to secure key commodities to feed its breakneck growth. Trade between the Asian powerhouse and the continent reached over $120 billion in 2011, a more than sixfold jump from less than $20 billion a decade earlier.