SacOil launches capacity building for Malawi oil and gas sector
…SA firm drills local experts in hydrocarbon search processes
By Chiku Jere
JSE-listed SacOil Holdings has kick-started a Capacity Development Programme for local geoscientists which will see Malawian technocrats trained in upstream petroleum sector processes as part the fulfilment of a commitment the company made in its exclusive prospecting licence that was awarded by the Malawi Government on December 13, 2012.
SacOil was awarded 100% equity interest and operator status for Block 1, an area which stretches 12,265 kilometres of exclusive land mass, making it Malawi’s second largest demarcated petroleum exploration licence.
The capacity building programme started with a visit by a delegation from Malawi to SacOil head office in Johannesburg, and continued with a week-long (September 18 – 22, 2017) workshop at Crossroads Hotel in Lilongwe which the company in association with the Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining organized for government officials working in the upstream petroleum sector.
Participants were mainly drawn from six government entities inluding the Department of Mines, Geological Survey Department, Environmental Affairs Department, and academic institutions among them, the Polytechnic, Chancellor College as well Malawi University of Science and Technology (MUST).
Speaking at the launching ceremony, SacOil’s Vice President (Technical) Jordaan Fouche said the company was grateful for the opportunity it has been offered to participate in the establishment of Malawi petroleum sector.
In our Block 1 prospecting licence application document, SacOil made a commitment to help Malawi develop its Oil and Gas Sector through offering demand driven training programs and this training is part fulfilment of that pledge,
He said as a serious and committed investor, SacOil believes in technically empowering local personnel to improve their technical and management skills in order to foster inclusive development of the sector and achieve intended results.
The workshop particularly covered the aspect of understanding the petroleum sector in the sense of ‘Geosciences Application’ as well as ‘Oil and Gas Economics’.
Fouche said the company’s capacity development programme is intended to reach government officials involved in the industry, but also to reach out to the citizens of Malawi including all stakeholders.
He also addressed fears of environmental damage that might come in the process of project implementation by assuring stakeholders that the firm’s operations are sensitive to environment and that SacOil has a clean record in this regard.
In his remarks, De Meyer advised Malawians to stay involved and pay a close eye to the developments in the sector.
However, he said if Malawi wants to develop its Oil and Gas sector, the most important thing is for the country to have an attractive regime for investors.
Patience, perseverance and focus, is utmost important in all this as it helps to prevent a situation where investors and companies benefit more at the expense of the resource country and its people. SacOil believes that natural resources should be developed for the benefit of the people,
De Meyer said SacOil has the experience in dealing with challenges that comes along the way when developing the petroleum sector, from geology to economic impacts and they will ensure that the project attains maximized mutual benefits for both investors and the Malawian people.
In his closing remarks SacOil Country Representative Hilton Banda thanked the participants for their commitment and promised to organise more training workshops next year.
The firm’s biggest shareholding is through public investment drawn from South Africa’s pension funds.
SacOil’s licence area starts from Chitipa, covering onshore North-western part of the country bordering Tanzania to the North and Zambia to the West on a trend with the East African Rift System which has the same tertiary proven for prolific oil discoveries, covering countries such as Sudan, Chad, Kenya and Uganda.
The exploration licence’s term is divided into an initial four-year period, followed by two subsequent three-year renewal periods.
“SacOil is a company that fulfils its commitments”
By Deborah Manda
The Malawi Government has hailed SacOil Holdings for initiating a training programme to build the capacity of local stakeholders in the oil and gas sectors.
Director for Mines, Atileni Wona, said at the launch of the capacity building workshop that SacOil organised for government officials working in the upstream oil and gas sector in Lilongwe that the launch of the training programme symbolises that “SacOil is a company that fulfils its commitments.”
In its licence application document for Block 1, SacOil indicated that it will help Malawi develop its Oil and Gas sector through offering demand driven training programs.
What you are doing is what serious investors do. I, therefore, wish to extend our sincere appreciation to the entire management team of SacOil. Be assured of our maximum support to conduct your operations in Malawi,
Head of Oil and Gas section at the Department of Mines Cassius Chiwambo said the training programme is very important as a few people in the country understand petroleum exploration and production issues.
The training is very vital because it will, among other things, help Malawians understand the processes of oil formation and sustainable exploration and exploitation as the talk in the country has centred on how we conduct exploration and extract oil and gas without causing harm to the country’s precious environment,
The training programme also covers the economics of oil including what Malawians will gain from the development of the upstream oil sector.
The petroleum resources that maybe discovered in the country are not for the companies that come to extract but for Malawians so government officials in oil sector management will learn from this training programme on how to arrive at a win-win situations in production sharing so that the investor is able to make profits while the country benefits too,
The Government of Malawi started granting Oil and Gas Exploration Licenses in 2012 in accordance with the Petroleum Exploration and Production Act of 1983 supported by the 2009 Act’s Regulation which created six Oil and Gas Blocks with about 60% of the demarcated area, including SacOil’s Block 1, located onshore.
Currently, Government is developing a Petroleum Policy and it is also reviewing the Act.
The Department of Mines is also working with the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning and Development to finalize the development of a Model Production Sharing Agreement.
This piece was initially published in Malawi’s Mining & Trade Review Issue Number 54 (October 2017).