MPs concerned with ‘shortcuts’ on Lake Malawi oil exploration

Parliamentary Committee on Natural Resources and Climate Change chairperson Werani Chilenga has  said the decision  by government to  to proceed with oil and gas exploration in Lake Malawi amid resistance from environmentalists is worrying, saying there should be a  petroleum policy and a revised Petroleum Act.

Chilenga: Concerned with shortcuts

Chilenga and his committee on Tuesday met officials of the Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining to find out why government is proceeding with the drilling when the country is using “outdated law the 1983 Petroleum Act.”

Said Chilenga: “We are not comfortable with thus scenario.”

He clarified that the committee is not against oil exploration but they are opposed to “shortcuts”.

According to Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining head of oil and gas section Cassius Chiwambo, and the department is currently doing the paperwork with companies awarded exploration licences in 2011. They include Rak Gas, MB45 (Malawi) Limited and Hamra Oil (Malawi) Limited.

Chiwambo acknowledged that there is no petroleum policy but said they rely on Petrolium Act of 1983 “which was approved by the same parliament.”

He explained that before granting the initial licences, Malawi had already put in place a Petroleum (Exploration and Production) Act approved in 1983. In addition to the 1983 law, the country also reviewed the Regulation to the Act in 2009.

Chiwambo said as a way of ensuring that the licence holders have some specified ‘obligations’, government developed a 13-page licence format carrying some special conditions which were binding once the licences are awarded to the investors.

He said government cannot stop the potential investors yet, on exploring the lake for oil, because it uses the 1983 Act of Parliament which gives sit powers to do so.

“We are not clinging to the old Acts; it is only that there are many problems facing the ministry in reviewing such Acts. Be assured that we are working hard on this and the Bill will be brought to Parliament,” he said.

President Peter Mutharika  during the 2017 World Water Day commemoration and National Water Conference last month  declared that “as a country, we need to move forward.” with oil exploration in Lake Malawi.

Malawi which ranks lowly in most human development and economic  indicators, eyes the oil, gas and mining sector as an alternative to the dying green gold, tobacco—the major forex earner.

The move has already stirred up some interest from several European and Asian nations who are seeking to either provide technical support to Malawi’s fledgling gas and oil industry or act as investors.

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miner
Guest
I become very upset by people who always talk evil about mining activities. Since 1964, Malawi has lagged behind because of lack of meaningful policy on Mining. People should ask themselves why Malawians are trekking to other countries to work as labourers, shame!!!! It’s time Malawians stood up to take risks, otherwise Malawi will remain the poorest country in the world. Unfortunately, people celebrate and gain political mileage on such stupid ratings. Malawians should shun away from frustrating their own young professionals, an example of which is at Geological Survey Department where young geoscientists are frustrated by corruption and yet… Read more »
winston msowoya
Guest
Now you are talking my fellow compatriots,I love you all,keep the morale high every minute to save our magnificent lake and our most liked fish in the world.I have been expressing my indignation over the drilling of oil from our life-blood lake for a long time,but I have never experienced such patriotic comments as I have seen today.Malawians are foolishly hoodwinked into believing that when oil is finally drilled,their lives would change drastically from worst to better,this is a foolhardy belief.Comeon,Malawians,get educated.Muthalika and his running-dogs are not vehement enough to see our country developed,they are doing this to expand their… Read more »
M Sizini
Guest
You do not need to be a Prophet of the Lord or a Doctor of Prognostication to predict what will happen if Malawi rushes to exploit any oil or gas reserves we may have. You have only to observe what happened in Nigeria, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, and Angola: 1. Europeans and Asians will pour into our country, and our oil revenues will pour out of it when they depart. 2. Corrupt government officials will scramble for the leftovers. 3. The owners of the land will experience a much reduced standard of living because their natural environment will be drastically degraded… Read more »
kampango mulamba
Guest

i cry for my small mbuna fish, its good to do so but am so sure some one will pocket chakhumi I bet you. Malawi atha kutukuka in such a away but awa awa awa eshiiiiiiii

thunguwire
Guest

lets rely on Tanzania soldiers to save the lake

John Black
Guest
Lomwe
Guest

Stop this nonsense of oil drilling please i beg you greedy leaders in the name of God. This is like killing the whole malawi for your small tokens you get from investors. Look what happened at Kayelekela these so called investors eish i cry for my beloved Malawi

benjones
Guest

Please save our beautiful lake.

JCInLA
Guest

I will join the Tanzanian Army when they decide to take over Malawi. No oil drilling on Lake Malawi.

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