The Ministry of Infrastructure has announced that the long-awaited results of the ongoing oil exploration survey have been delayed by bad weather.
According to the ministry’s oil and gas expert, Teta Bahunde, a crucial phase of the survey that had been planned for June was postponed to October – November 2010.
“Strong winds blowing on the Kivu rift valley during the month of June (dry season) prevented Vanoil from carrying out the study,” Bahunde said in an e-mail to The New Times.
“The program was postponed for October – November 2010 (rainy season) when there is less wind in Kivu rift valley and there are less wave motions on the lake,”
A Canada-based oil exploration company, recently renamed Vanoil Energy Ltd, has been exploring for oil in the Kivu Graben (parts of Nyungwe and Gishwati forests as well as Lake Kivu), since October 2007.
After the first round of studies, by end of 2008, Vanoil embarked on what it calls an airborne gravity and magnetic survey of the area. The ministry acknowledges that back then; the results “appeared positive and encouraged a subsequent step in the exploration program in Rwanda consisting of a 2D high resolution-low impact marine seismic survey to take place in June 2010.”
According to Bahunde, the postponed survey was to identify faults on the lake bottom, identify areas of gas seeps from lake sediments as well as provide structural and stratigraphic framework of the Lake Kivu basin.
“As a seismic survey consists of sending seismic waves of energy from a seismic source of energy (at surface) through earth’s surface and back to the hydrophones (recipient detectors for marine seismic at surface), it is possible to determine depths of subsurface features. And in order to acquire quality data for the 2D high resolution-low impact marine seismic, it is imperative that the survey takes place on a calm lake.”