LILONGWE—As Malawi and Tanzania begin talks Monday in Mzuzu over the Lake Malawi border dispute, experts believe the Shire Valley in the southern part of the country has oil and gas reserves.
Director of Malawi’s Department of Surveys, Dr. Leonard Kalindekafe, is quoted by the country’s local Mining Review publication as saying that seismic reflection data, core and grab samples collected by the Malawi government and other oil exploration companies have confirmed the existence of hydrocarbon bearing sedimentary rocks both in Lake Malawi and the Shire Valley. “Our geological investigations have unearthed that Lake Malawi and the Shire Valley have considerable potential for the discovery of hydrocarbon formation and accumulation on the Shire River Basin, making it a hydrocarbon exploration target,” said Kalindekafe.
The Geological Survey the Shire Valley in the country’s southern region has over 1, 600 metres thickness of sedimentary rock sequences and structures necessary to trap oil while the northern part Lake Malawi which includes the disputed part, has a 2, 000-metre thick target.
If sizable quantities of hydrocarbons are discovered in Malawi, it could bring about some energy independence to the needy southern African country.
The border dispute with Tanzania follows the awarding of an oil exploration license to UK-based Surestream Petroleum last October to search for oil and gas in Lake Malawi, which is also known as Lake Nyasa in Tanzania.
Tanzania, which claims portion of the lake, has asked the Malawi government to put on hold the exploration exercise until the dispute is resolved. Malawi sees no reason to halt the exercise, saying it owns the whole lake.
Meanwhile speaking on the sidelines of a two-day Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) meeting in the Mozambican capital, Maputo, Tanzania’s President Jakaya Kikwete assured his Malawian counterparty, Joyce Banda, that he looked forward to an amicable solution to the issue which he said some in his country’s were trying to blow out of proportion.
Banda also said her country wasn’t interested in going to war with her neighbour over the issue.
---©2012 The Maravi Post. Reproduction authorised, with usual acknowledgment.