Malawi says no Tanzania call to stop lake oil exploration


Malawi has said that it will not stop exploration for oil and gas on Lake Malawi has demanded by Tanzania early this week
“We categorically put it to them (Tanzania) that as far as we are concerned, the entire lake belongs to Malawi,” Patrick Kabambe, principal secretary in the ministry of foreign affairs, said in a statement.

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.

“So our view is that there is no reason to stop the project,” he added.

Tanzania has claimed that 50 percent of the lake which forms its border with Malawi is part of its territory.

“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 spokesman for Tanzania’s foreign affairs ministry.

Malawi awarded Surestream Petroleum licences for blocks 2 and 3 in the disputed lake, with a combined area of 20,000 square kilometres.

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.

Mwambene said Tanzanian Foreign Affairs Minister Bernard Membe told his Malawi counterpart, Mganda Chiume, that ongoing oil exploration at the lake could jeopardise talks between the countries over the dispute.

The two ministers met in Dar es Salaam at the weekend to discuss the territorial dispute, Mwabene said.  Read more…

One response to “Malawi says no Tanzania call to stop lake oil exploration

  1. Leonard Mhone

    According to colonial boundaries of 1890, that Great Britain and Germany redrew from the huge Malavi Kingdom and Swahili Kingdom, Lake Tanganyika belonged to Tanganyika now known as Tanzania. Tanzania uses Lake Tanganyika for its fresh water supply, etc. However, via International Marine Law, the people of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) may also use Lake Tanganyika without claiming ownership of Lake Tanganyika. Similarly, Lake Albert belongs to Uganda yet the people of DRC may use it without claiming ownership of it. (Mind you the marine law covered life giving fresh water, not Oil).
    In Europe Lake Geneve belongs to Switzerland yet Italy uses it without claiming that it owns part of Lake Geneve. Switzerland also owns Lake Constance that supplies fresh water to Germany and Austria. The later two nations have no title over it.
    If Tanzania’s argument holds water it will form a land mark basis or judgement for all country to leverage this International Maritime Law to review their boundaries.
    Tanzania is greedy for nothing. It should rather concentrate on exploiting its oil in Lake Tanganyika and the offshore drilling it started at its Pemba Island on the Indian Ocean.
    Tanzanian leadership behavior reminds us of Saddam Hussein of Iraq who claimed that the oil rich Kuwait belonged to him and went to war and lost over it.

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