Doubts persist over Lake Malawi exploration

By Miriam Malek 15 August 2016
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Lake Malawi National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. (Flickr/Christiane Birr) Lake Malawi National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. (Flickr/Christiane Birr)

Malawi is struggling to push forward with upstream oil and gas development, finding itself stymied by inexperienced explorers, poor infrastructure, environmental concerns and an ongoing border dispute with Tanzania.

The Malawian government is searching for a new source of income as droughts worsen and a food crisis looms. Malawi suffers from widespread power shortages, and additional access to gas could kickstart domestic electricity generation.

The country lifted a ban on oil and gas drilling this year and has already granted exploration licences to a number of international companies. South Africa’s SacOil, the United Arab Emirates’s RAK Gas and Ghana’s Pacific Oil – as well as a joint venture between the UK’s Surestream Petroleum and Egypt’s El Hamra Oil – were granted licences to search for oil and gas across six blocks, five of which cover Lake Malawi.

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