GOVERNMENT has said it remains committed to ensuring that extensive exploration works in the petroleum (and oil) sector are carried out because it is in a hurry to discover the rich mineral resource in Zambia.
Minister of Mines and Minerals Development Hon. Richard Musukwa said the government of His Excellency, President Edgar Chagwa Lungu is currently reviewing the Petroleum (exploration and production) Act No. 10 of 2008 and its subsidiary legislation in order to make investment in the Petroleum upstream sector attractive.
Speaking when he addressed journalists on the Status of Oil and Gas Exploration in Zambia earlier today, Minister Musukwa said it is in that regard that exploration works such as Seismic Data Acquisition to upgrade the data package have been upscaled to boost investment attraction in the sector.
He said his Ministry had demarcated a total of 38 petroleum exploration blocks covering Northern, Muchinga, Luapula, Southern, Western, North-Western and Central Provinces.
“A total of 12 blocks out of the 38 blocks have so far been granted exploration Licence from time to time through a competitive bidding process which involves a public advertisement in line with Section 9(1), Part II, of the Petroleum Act of 2008,” Hon. Musukwa said.
He revealed that the Ministry with the approval of the Petroleum Committee has so far conducted three licensing rounds between 2011 and 2016 in which a total of 12 blocks were licensed to six Companies.
Minister Musukwa has named the Companies as Geo Petroleum Limited (Block 31), Mafula Energy Limited (Block 32), Sargas Oil Limited (Block 54), Tiiseza Zambia Limited (Block 18), Barotse Petroleum Limited (Blocks 20 and 21) and ZCCM-IH (Blocks 1, 17, 27, 39, 44 and 52).
He said exploration works are at different stages in each block with others making substantial progress while some are still awaiting the necessary statutory approvals before they can commence exploration works.
Minister Musukwa further announced that substantial progress had been made with regard to exploration in blocks 31, 32 and 54 held by Geo Petroleum Limited, Mafula Energy Limited and Sargas Oil Limited, repectively.
“Surveys were undertaken in Block 31 which covers areas within Luapula and Northern Provinces to determine the presence of Geological Basins for possible Oil and Gas Accumulation. The results indicated the presence of two Geological Basins around Lakes Mweru and Tanganyika.”
He said Mafula Energy Limited had spent about $4 million United States Dollars on Oil and Gas exploration projects and Licence fees paid to government.
“This year, the Company working with collaborating partners intends to carry out further investments of about $30 Million United States Dollars on Seismic Data Acquisition and possibly drilling of exploration wells in Block 32 and other blocks in Zambia,” Hon. Musukwa revealed.
He added that more robust exploration works will soon be commenced by various licensed Companies in their respective blocks and the nation will continue being given periodic updates in that regard.
Meanwhile, Chief Geologist in the Department of Hydro Carbons Chibesa Kunda has said Oil drilling is a very expensive undertaking hence the need for a such vigorous approaches to ensure that they narrow down to a specific spot to save on Costs.