M a r k e t N e w s

DR Congo ready for talks on Lake Tanganyika oil and gas prospects

Posted on : Wednesday, 31st August 2016

 Tanzania has said the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo has agreed to talks with four countries sharing the Lake Tanganyika to discuss ways of extracting natural gas and oil in the lake.

Experts have warned that the lack of demarcated boundaries between countries sharing the lake could lead to disputes.
It is understood that Tanzania and DR Congo have been at loggerheads over the proposal for the two countries to issue a joint exploration licence for the lake.
Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation (TPDC) has already allocated two blocks on the Tanzanian side of the lake. The southern part of block was awarded to Australia’s Beach Energy in 2008.
The discovery of oil in Lake Albert, which is located in the Great Rift Valley as Lake Tanganyika, and Beach Petroleum’s announcement in 2012 that initial seismic surveys had indicated the potential of 200 million barrels of oil, raised hopes that massive oil deposits could be discovered in the area.
In May 2008, shortly before Beach Petroleum was awarded an exploration licence, DR Congo and Tanzania signed an agreement for joint exploration of the lake but Congolese senators strongly disapproved the agreement.
Prof Sospeter Muhongo, Tanzania’s minister for Energy and Minerals said in a brief statement that DR Congo ministers and Tanzania have agreed to hold joint meetings in October to discuss the issue.
“They (DR Congo ministers) will collaborate with their counterparts from Burundi and Zambia to discuss the exploration of oil and gas but us (Tanzania) have already started exploration activities in Lake Tanganyika,” Prof Muhongo said in a brief statement seen by The EastAfrican.
But experts warn that lack of security stability in eastern DR Congo and the country’s lack of comprehensive oil framework and its natural resources focus on Tanzania being mainly on mining might make the deal unlikely in the near future.
Thierry Vircoulon, the project director for Central Africa at the International Crisis Group said despite the international custom requiring that a border for a lake between countries to be in the middle, the two countries needed to address the boarder issue immediately.
Mr Vircoulon said there has been a long-standing issue between Uganda and DR Congo over a border dispute over Lake Albert in the Ituri district when exploration activities started in 2007 but it led to the formation of a bilateral demarcation commission following Ugandan military incursions and violence. However, Mr Varcoulon said nothing similar has been done on Lake Tanganyika.

Source : http://www.theeastafrican.co.ke/
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