Public Hearings on RAK Gas’ ESIA for oil exploration in Malawi

RAK Gas continues its exploration for oil in Blocks 4 and 5. In today’s edition of The Nation, the public has been invited to public hearings and to comment on their latest Environmental and Social Impact Assessment for seismic surveying. At this stage, there is no exploratory drilling.

This Environmental and Social Impact Assessment is for similar seismic surveying operations as carried out by Surestream Petroleum. The licences have subsequently been acquired by Hamra Oil.

RAK Gas signed production sharing agreements in May 2014, just days before the 2014 tripartite elections. These contracts are public. Oxfam published a study on this in 2017: Malawi’s troubled oil sector: licenses, contracts and their implications.

The press release for the public hearings is copied below.

2014 CFJ Oil Exploration and Production in Malawi - Policy and Legal Audit, Image page 51

Six petroleum exploration licences; licences were awarded for all blocks, but companies exploring in Blocks 1 and 6 have since relinquished their licences

PUBLIC HEARING FOR RAK GAS MB 45 SEISMIC OPERATIONS FOR OIL EXPLORATION IN BLOCK 4 AND 5

Members of the General Public are hereby informed that RAK Gas MB45 LTD has prepared and submitted to Environmental Affairs Department (EAD) in the Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining (MoNREM), an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) report for the on-and off-shore oil and gas exploration in Blocks 4 and 5 in the Central and Southern Regions of Malawi.

The exploration activities at this stage of the project will include undertaking seismic operations (using a seismic and air-gun acoustic technologies) on shore, and, where necessary, off shore. The resulting sound waves travel into the earth and are reflected back by the underlying rock layers to an array of geo-phones. These geo-phones generate signals which are further relay to a processing vessel/station, which interprets whether there are / or not, the rock structures which could host/trap oil and gas.

The public is further informed that if the results of the Seismic Surveys show that there is a high probability of trapping oil/gas, then a second ESIA will be conducted for drilling the structure to confirm if there is trapped, the oil and/or gas. Please be informed that this ESIA is for the exploration activities for identifying the oil and gas trapping structures, and not for drilling.

In terms of the Environment Management Act, 1996, members of the Public are invited to review the ESIA documents, and offer their comments to RAK GAS MB 45 LIMITED for consideration prior to approval by the Government of Malawi for this on-/ off-shore Oil and Gas Exploration to proceed.

In this regard, copies of the ESIA reports have been displayed and may be reviewed at the following venues:

  • Mangochi – Office of the District Commissioner, Mangochi District Council
  • Machinga – Office of the District Commissioner, Machinga District Council
  • Dedza – Office of the District Commissioner, Dedza District Council
  • Salima – Office of the District Commissioner, Salima City Council

Written comments should be submitted to either the above District Commissioners Offices or Rak Gas MB 45 Limited Offices not later than the 10th of June, 2019.
Following the disclosure of the report at the above venues, the General Public is invited to the public hearings/ presentations of the draft ESIA Report as follows:

  • Machinga District Administration 10.00am 3rd June 2019
  • Mangochi District Administration 9.00am 4th June 2019
  • Dedza – District Administration 10.00am 5th June 2019
  • Salima District Administration 10.00am 6th June 2019
  • National Consultations Capital Hotel 9.00am 12th June 2019

For Enquires please contact:

  • Martin Kansichi (Dr.) on 0991473357
  • Hilton Banda (Consultant) on 0999168875

Signed: Chimwemwe Chikusa, Country Manager

201906 RAK Gas Invitation to public hearing ESIA

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