Gov’t cautious on oil exploration concessions

KIGALI - The government is taking precautionary measures not to be rushed into striking a deal on the oil exploration concessions given to Canadian firm Vangold Resources Ltd. Government officials led by Dr. Albert Butare, the Minister of State in charge of Energy and Vangold President, Dal Brynelsen, held discussions last week to assess the progress in the ongoing exploration of oil deposits in Lake Kivu.
Linda Bihire (R) and Albert Butare
Linda Bihire (R) and Albert Butare

KIGALI - The government is taking precautionary measures not to be rushed into striking a deal on the oil exploration concessions given to Canadian firm Vangold Resources Ltd.

Government officials led by Dr. Albert Butare, the Minister of State in charge of Energy and Vangold President, Dal Brynelsen, held discussions last week to assess the progress in the ongoing exploration of oil deposits in Lake Kivu.

The two held discussions on the way forward on the process some are starting to feel is slow.

Vangold agreed with the government of Rwanda to enter into talks for a special exploration license.

The firm is currently involved in oil and gas exploration actives in the prospective Kivu Graben.

According to Butare, Vangold is currently undertaking a technical evaluation study for possible exploration.

The study is undertaken within the realm of the Technical Evaluation Agreement (TEA) that was signed earlier to assess oil possibilities in parts of Nyungwe and Gishwati forests in the Western Province, as well as areas around Lake Kivu.

Vangold started exploration in February 2007; Eng. Butare told The New Times that government is taking precautions, to get a good deal.

“Projects like this that are big, sensitive in nature and that are likely to bind the Government for a long time. They take long everywhere in order to ensure that Governments come up with favorable deals,” Butare said.

“To make sure that this would be an appropriate and leak proof deal while at the same time the process is being fast tracked, a team of relevant ministers including Finance, Justice and Trade along with technical, financial and legal experts are following the negotiations closely.”

The communiqué availed to The New Times, reveals that Government is developing a petroleum exploration policy and Act to facilitate oil exploration.

It highlights that an interim exploration agreement is being worked on with Vangold to govern the project prior to the incorporation of the law.

According to the statement, Vangold’s technical team is working with the University of Houston (Texas, USA) to develop terms of reference to undertake a lab simulation programme of running further studies in the Lake.

“This study will be completed by the end of the year and will address the environmental impact, specifically outlying the risks for seismic or drilling operations on the methane gas saturated lake,” reads part of the communiqué.

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