Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Tanzania asks Malawi to hold oil search in disputed lake Published in: Legalbrief Environmental

Tanzania has asked Malawi to stop oil and gas exploration activities in Lake Malawi until a border dispute between the two countries involving the lake is resolved, a Tanzanian official said last week.
An Engineering News report notes that last October, Malawi said it had awarded oil exploration licences to UK-based Surestream Petroleum to search for oil in Lake Malawi, which is also known as Lake Nyasa in Tanzania. 'Malawi claims that the whole lake belongs to the country according to colonial boundaries ... But our stated position is that half of the lake belongs to Tanzania,' said Assah Mwambene, a spokesperson for Tanzania's Foreign Affairs Ministry. Lilongwe awarded Surestream Petroleum licences for blocks 2 and 3 in the disputed lake, with a combined area of 20 000km². According to the report, Tanzanian officials said the 50-year-old territorial dispute between the two countries could escalate if significant oil and gas discoveries are made in the lake.

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