Surestream seeking views on Lake Malawi oil exploration

Surestream Petroleum Limited, which was given the licence by the Malawi Government to establish whether there is some oil on Lake Malawi, has lined up a number of public hearings across the country to solicit public views for the proposed seismic operations for oil exploration on the lake.

In 2011, impoverished Malawi awarded exploration licenses to British-based Surestream Petroleum to search for oil in Lake Malawi,.

The company has already submitted to the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Management a Environment and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) for the proposed seismic operations for oil exploration.

The public hearings will be held in northern districts of Karonga, Rumphi, Mzuzu and Nkhatabay, while in the centren the meetings will take place in lake shore district of Nlhotakota and Lilongwe before concluding in Blantyre.

“In terms of the Environment Management Act, 1996, members of the public are invited to review the ESIA documents, and offer their comments to Environment Affairs Department for consideration prior to approval by the Government of Malawi for the oil exploration in Lake Malawi to proceed,”said Secretary for Environment and Climate Change Management, a Mr. A.M Kamperewera.

The exploration activities will include undertaking seismic operations using a seismic boat and an aircraft.

Seismic surveys are conducted on the water surface with ship-borne air or water guns to generate acoustic energy. The resulting sound wave travels into the earth and as reflected back by the underlying rock layers to a hydrophone and relayed to the recording vessel providing the required information.

The data captured through the seismic vessel and aircraft will be processed to indicate whether or not the oil is available on the lake.

“If the results of the survey show that there is some oil available, then a second ESIA will be conducted for oil exploration that uses drilling method.

“In this regard, Surestream is conducting an EIA for exploration using seismic operations and not conducting exploration activities that involve drilling,” explained Kamperewera.

The public hearings starts MonDay, January 20 in Karonga, while in Runphi the ppublic hearing will take place on January 21, Mzuzu January 22, Nkhatabay January 23, Nkhotakota January 24, Lilongwe January 27 before concluding in Blantyre on January 29, respectively

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