9 June 2017

East Africa: Oil Exploration to 'Begin Soon' in Lake Tanganyika

Photo: Egui/Flickr
Lake Tanganyika(file photo).

Arusha — Exploration for petroleum resources is focussed on an area of 2,270km², of which 1,447.5km², are offshore and 793.1km² are on shore.

Exploration of oil and other hydrocarbons has started in earnest on four blocks in Lake Tanganyika and Rusizi River basins.

Exploration for petroleum resources is focussed on an area of 2,270km², of which 1,447.5km², are offshore and 793.1km² are on shore.

This was announced in Bujumbura on Wednesday by Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza, when he opened the 8th East African Petroleum Conference and Exhibition 2017 (EAPCE '17).

"The government of Burundi continues to encourage oil companies to invest in petroleum exploration. It is also reviewing the Petroleum Code, 1976 for purposes of attracting more investors," he said in a speech availed to The Citizen.

Rusizi River Basin is shared by Burundi, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), while Burundi and Tanzania are among the four riparian states on Lake Tanganyika.

The Burudian leader said recent discoveries of petroleum resources made in Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya in addition to the existing oil industry in South Sudan has positioned East Africa as the world's most promising frontier for petroleum exploration and development.

However, President Nkurunziza said exploration of oil and other hydrocarbons should be speeded up to the East African region to minimise dependence on imported fossil fuels.

"Dependence on fossil fuels exposes the East African Community (EAC) partner states to risks arising from volatility of petroleum prices in the international market and associated challenges in attaining domestic energy security," he explained. President Nkurunziza further noted that East Africa's limited infrastructure in terms of refineries, pipelines and storage facilities remained a constraint to stability in fuel prices.

He disclosed that EAC Partner States spent more than 10 per cent of their Gross Domestic Product to import refined petroleum products.

"We are all aware that without sufficient energy, we can neither create wealth nor enhance our competitiveness, production, trade and investments. The EAC, therefore, attaches great significance to cooperation in the exploration and development of energy resources available in the region," he said.

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