The government has granted Canadian oil exploration firm, Vanoil Energy Ltd, an Environmental Impact Licence to carry out its 2D High Resolution Seismic Survey on Lake Kivu as it continues to explore for oil at the Kivu block.
The company announced on November 1 that it has been granted the license from the Rwanda Development Board (RDB).
“On September 7, 2011, Vanoil’s experts made a presentation to the Rwandan Development Board on the project background and context, the overview of the project and expected environmental impacts resulting to the project implementation.
“…and further to this, the Resource Authority of Rwanda and the Rwanda Development Board have indicated that they have no objection to its implementation,” said Dal Brynelsen, the president and CEO of Vanoil.
Vanoil’s 1,631 square kilometres of exclusive oil and gas license in the East Kivu Graben is on the same rift trend with the Albertine Graben, where, at Lake Albert in Uganda, Tullow Oil and Heritage Oil announced to have found approximately 1.5 billion recoverable barrels of oil.
The Canadian firm says that many believe the significant discovery in Uganda may represent only a small portion of the enormous potential of the area.
In an interview with The New Times, the head of the One Stop Centre at the RDB, Joseph Mpunga, said that the Canadian company was given the green light after it was ascertained that the seismic study would not cause any environment damages on the lake.
“The environmental clearance was issued to enable Vanoil, through Rwanda Natural Resources Authority, the Geology and Mines Department, which is the owner of the project as the government representative, to conduct the research phase known as 2D Marine Seismic Data Survey,” he said.
The tests will also include recording by hydrophones movement of the pressure wave suspended in a cable known as streamer.
Vanoil is expected to start the exploration phase this month with equipment already being shipped from Kenya.
Last month, Vanoil signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the New York-based Syracuse University to commence the high resolution Seismic Programme at Lake Kivu.
The Company has begun mobilising equipment to commence this survey, according to officials.
“The reconnaissance survey of Lake Kivu in 2010 showed that the shallow subsurface geology is complex, and past geological research indicates that the lake has been subject to dynamic processes on geologic and human timescales,”
“High-resolution images show evidence for recent normal faulting, sediment mass flows and possible subsurface seepages. Future work will image the full sedimentary section of the basin,” Vanoil said in its latest announcement.