The collaboration between the Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining and South African State-owned Sac-Oil Company is expected to promote capacity building in the Gas and Oil sector in Malawi.
The contribution of mining and quarrying activities to the country’s gross domestic product has averaged 0.9 percent since 2010 and the sector is expected t grow by 1.6 percent according to the Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM).
While still in infancy, the extractive industry generated revenue amounting to K5.94 billion ($13.6 million) for the country from the period between July 2014 and June 2015, according to the Malawi Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (Mweiti) report.
But speaking at the opening of a training workshop on Oil and Gas Sector organised by the department and Sac-oil Company at Cross roads Hotel in Lilongwe on Monday, acting director of Mines Atileni Wona said the sector has potential to foster economic growth hence the need for capacity development.
“There is need for capacity building in the sector. Right now we have employed engineers with no mining background. However some schools like the Malawi University of Science and Technology (MUST) and the Polytechnic have introduced mining engineering and with that, the sector will be growing” said Wona.
In his remarks, vice president technical for Sac-Oil Jordan Fouche said they have been exploring block one in Malawi to establish its potential as an oil and gas province.
“We look forward to look at our findings and decide what to do and develop an appropriate investment programme. We are helping the government of Malawi with capacity building and training in the oil and gas industry” said Fouche.
Malawi has six mining blocks, where 60 percent lies outside the lake. The country granted its first oil and gas exploration licenses in 2012 in accordance with the petroleum exploration and production act of 1983 and as supported by the 2009 act’s regulations.
Currently government is developing the petroleum policy which was supposed to be in place by June 2017 but was delayed due to some minor logistical setbacks and is expected to be ready by November 2017.
Government has also initiated the review process of the 1983 petroleum act which will be ready by December 2018.