Zambia to start oil exploration this year
Lusaka – Zambia will start oil exploration before the end of the year and has added 11 more blocks to the existing 23 which were previously advertised in various parts of the country. Mines minister Maxwell Mwale said companies to undertake the exploration had been selected and that the exploration, to start before the end of the year, will be undertaken in north western, eastern, western, southern, Luapula and Northern provinces. In a ministerial statement in parliament last week, Mwale said the plan to explore for oil started in 2004 when soil samples collected in a a selected number of countries were tested by micropro GMBH micro-biological laboratories in Germany. Several local and foreign companies have been tasked and allocated various blocks for exploration and would undertake the tasks when the exploration licenses are issued within the next few months to facilitate the commencement of excavation before the beginning of the rainy season this year. Among the foreign companies allocated blocks for oil explorations are Petrodel Resources of United Kingdom and GB Petroleum also of United Kingdom. “In accordance with the provisions of the Petroleum (exploration and Petroleum Act of 2008, these successful companies are now applying to my ministry for petroleum exploration licenses for the blocks they have been offered by the Petroleum committee,” he said. From the previous advertisements 12 blocks were not allocated to any company and that these were added to the 11 new blocks for which the bids closed on June 30 this year. The government, through the Petroleum committee would now start sensitising the community and traditional leaders in areas where exploration would take place.