There could be oil and also gas both inside and outside the Lake Malawi as United Arab Emirates’ Hamra Oil Holdings Limited (HOHL) has hinted after its oil exploration using a full tensor gravity gradiometry (FTG) survey.
The London-based company Surestream Petroleum was the first to be granted a licence to explore for oil in Malawi in 2011 and it has a minority stakes in Hamra.
Then Hamra Oil joined with other three other companies, Rakgas of the United Arab Emirates, Pacific Oil and Gas of Singapore and the South African company SacOil have also been granted licences for prospecting.
A Lilongwe-based Hamra director Ben Chiza Mkandawire confirmed that the company has completed the first phase of oil exploration and they are still analysing the FTG data ahead of a possible seismic survey.
“What we have managed to get is giving us confidence that there are oil tracks in Lake Malawi,” Chiza-Mkandawire said as his company hired Bell GeoSpace—a world leader in FTGs—to carry out the study using an airplane that flew over the blocks covering Karonga, Rumphi, Nkhata Bay and Nkhotakota.
Chiza Mkandawire, however, said once full results of exploration are out, he was sure the Malawi Government—as the custodian of natural resources in the country—would make appropriate announcements.
Malawi government is yet to discuss the FTG results with Hamra Oil, according toSecretary for Natural Resources, Energy and Mining Ben Botolo .
Oil prospecting was delayed by a row with neighbouring Tanzania, which claims half of the lake, and of the potential oil reserves as its own.
But, as prospecting work takes off, locals are already worrying about how its discovery could change their lives.
More than 1.5 million Malawians living on the shores of the lake, which measures nearly 30 000 square kilometres, depend on fishing for their livelihoods.
Representatives of the oil industry say oil can be extracted without danger to the lake, which home to hundreds of fish species unique to that place, as well as a popular tourist attraction.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :