MININFRA’s response to letter about oil exploration in Lake Kivu

Editor, Since October 2007, Vanoil Energy Ltd. “Vanoil” has been exploring the likelihood of a petroleum basin in the western part of Rwanda.
Lake Kivu might have deposits of petroleum.
Lake Kivu might have deposits of petroleum.

Editor,

Since October 2007, Vanoil Energy Ltd. “Vanoil” has been exploring the likelihood of a petroleum basin in the western part of Rwanda.

After due studies of the lake’s structure, by the end of 2008, Vanoil embarked on an airborne gravity and magnetic survey of the area.

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.

This 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.

The strong winds blowing on the Kivu rift valley during the month of June (dry season) prevented Vanoil from carrying out the 2D high resolution-low impact marine seismic program as planned.

The program was postponed for October – November 2010 (rainy season) when there would be less wind in Kivu rift valley and less wave motions on the lake.

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.

In the meantime Vanoil is in the course of mobilizing required equipment for the 2D marine seismic survey which is part of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the subsequent petroleum exploration program which will include more detailed seismic surveys.

Additionally and as part of the EIA, water and gas samples from Lake Kivu have been analyzed in various laboratories in the USA and England mainly to determine their chemical composition as well as to determine a suitable and safe seismic source of energy to use for the marine surveys.

It is under a Technical Evaluation Agreement (TEA) that the 2D marine seismic survey will take place with aim to confirm the lake safety for further petroleum exploration.

Subsequently, a full seismic survey is projected to take place with higher seismic wave intensity or impact to confirm the potentiality of a petroleum basin in Rwanda.

The Ministry of Infrastructure is in the process of finalizing the legislative framework (Petroleum policy and act, Production Sharing Agreement) that will govern the planned subsequent petroleum exploration program to take place in Rwanda.

Teta Bahunde
Mininfra Expert in Oil & Gas

 

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