Oil explorer finalises impact assessment

RAK Gas MB 45 Limited, a gas and oil exploration firm, in collaboration with Akatswiri Consultancy and Enviro Consultancy, says it has completed an environmental impact assessment on oil exploration in Machinga, Salima and Mangochi.

The firm’s director of media and public relations Martin Kansichi said in an interview on Monday they are ready to move to the next step where they will do a seismic study.

He said: “The environmental impact studies started way back in 2014 and the report is ready and we have shared it with government as well as district councils in the targeted districts.

“The focus was on people, land, water, animals, plants and air whereby each of those areas was fully investigated. With the findings that we have, we are all geared up to go on to the next level though it requires heavy investments.”

Kansichi explained that the next stage requires buying of heavy machinery to be used for drilling, adding that with the period given, they will manage.

“We have three more years to carry on the work such that after the seismic studies, we will have another environmental impact assessment study,” he said.

Enviro Consultancy researcher Margaret Sikwese said the study found that people were more concerned with how the initial project would affect their lives.

“We conducted qualitative survey in which we found that people in the targeted areas were more concerned about issues of compensation. They were also concerned with how the initial project would affect their marriages in fear of losing their wives to the project implementers,” she said.

Sikwese said people in the targeted areas want to be assured of job opportunities during the initial implementation of the project.

Her counterpart from Katswiri Consultancy, Hilton Banda, said the project will not affect people at this stage; hence, no fear for relocation. In 2009, the Government of Malawi demarcated six exploration blocks awarded to multinational firms which include SacOil Holdings block one, Hamra Oil Holdings blocks two and three, RAK Gas blocks four and five and Pacific Oil Limited in blocks six.

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