Rwanda and Canadian Firm Vangold To Sign Definitive Deal On Lake Kivu Oil
Kigali: The Canadian firm exploring for oil in Lake Kivu has agreed with Government to work on a final deal which will stipulate how the two sides will share the oil find – a move experts say could mean the prospects of finding oil seem positive.
Indicative of growing prospects of making an oil find in Lake Kivu (western Rwanda), Vangold Resources Ltd. separated in mid February its mining operations from its oil interests – transferring all of the oil and gas assets to a new company called Vanoil Energy.
The new firm announced Tuesday in British Colombia (Canada) that it has come to an understanding with the Rwanda Ministry of Infrastructure to enter into a “definitive production sharing contract within six months”.
The latest understanding dictates that Vanoil continues with the ongoing exploration program, according Mr. Dal Brynelsen, President and CEO, in a statement.
Vangold initially said in 2008 that a preliminary search showed there were “traces” of oil in Lake Kivu – shared within the same valley that stretches along Uganda’s western border.
Uganda is already on the stage of pumping crude oil from its wells in the South West – and plans are under way to install a refinery in the area. But the discovery is not without controversy, as Ugandan lawmakers and campaigners accuse government of signing agreements with Heritage Oil and Tullow Oil behind closed-doors and not allowing external overview.
Vanoil said an Environmental Impact Assessment of the oil exploration project is due by the end of the year. It also said the Assessment will have four components – including testing for levels of the methane gas in the lake, which several firms are working on to produce electricity.
The firm will do Carbon isotopic tests to determine the source of the huge 55 km3 methane in Lake Kivu at the UK-based GHgeochem Laboratory. Experts say the methane continues to increase at a rate of 15% in thirty years.
Mr. Brynelsen said these tests will determine whether the gas could be from leaking hydrocarbons traps in the sedimentary basin within Lake Kivu.
The second assessment will be the laboratory excitation of Lake Kivu waters by sonic waves to form bubbles to establish suitable safe seismic sources for the marine survey at Allied Geophysical Labs. This will be done in Houston (USA).
There will also be an analysis of Lake Kivu waters for dissolved hydrocarbons and mineral salts at the Petroleum and Geochem lab in Houston.
The fourth component of the environmental assessment will entail a high resolution low impact 300 km seismic and magnetic survey to evaluate geo hazards in the lake with University of Syracuse.