Rwanda renews interest in petroleum exploration

Oil drilling rigs06 April 2014, Kigali – The Rwandan government has renewed interest in petroleum prospecting four months following termination of prospecting works by Vanoil Energy Limited.

Vanoil, a Canadian company, was the sole petroleum explorer in the country since 2010, but its activities came to an end in January after reaching a mutual agreement with the government.

While analysts believed this could have signaled the end of Rwanda’s petroleum dreams, rich information was left behind by Vanoil and it has rekindled the country’s hopes, sources said.

“We got good data while Vanoil was operating in Rwanda, indicating the possibility of Rwanda having oil wells. They also produced reports concerning the relation between environment and exploration of petroleum in Lake Kivu,” the Minister of State for Mining, Eng. Evode Imena, said yesterday.

He was speaking at a validation workshop for a draft law on petroleum exploration and production.

“These pointers are important for future explorations because Lake Kivu has methane gas, potentially it has oil too but has a wide range of settlements around it. So we have to be ready to ensure that all the exploration and production activities are within what we can control,” Imena said.

The minister further indicated that several international companies have contacted government with the desire to continue from where Vanoil left off, although he did not mention their names.

He said the main challenge that affected oil exploration in the country was lack of a law governing the sector. Yesterday, a Bill was discussed witha view to expedite its enactment into law.

“We don’t have a law governing exploration and petroleum production. What we had with Vanoil was a technical evaluation agreement, which was covering some of the issues that will be governing this draft legislation that we are validating,” Imena said.

“What happened with Vanoil is that we were not able to conclude the project even as we wanted it to be concluded. Both sides decided to agree to disagree.”

– The New Times


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