Tanzania calls for Lake Malawi halt

by on July 30, 2012 2:40 pm BST

The emerging East African powerhouse wants to resolve a
border dispute over the stretch of water with Malawi before exploration
activity continues, Reuters reported.

The foreign affairs ministers or both nations met in the
Tanzanian city of Dar es Salaam at the weekend to discuss the continuing
territorial dispute, according to the news wire.

“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,” Reuters quoted Assah Mwambene, a
spokesman for Tanzania’s foreign affairs ministry, as saying.

“Some planes have been spotted flying over Tanzania’s
side of the lake conducting the oil exploration activities … there is still
room for negotiations over the correct border between Tanzania and
Malawi,” he continued.

In September last year Malawi awarded Surestream Petroleum
of the UK the Rift Valley acreage of Blocks 2 and 3 in Lake Malawi, beating
competition from Tullow Oil, New Age, Ophir Energy, Kosmos Energy and the
Lonrho Group.

The company is due to begin shooting 5000 kilometres of 2D
seismic over Burundi’s portion of Lake Tanganyika next April on blocks B and D.

Early this year neighbouring Mozambique put on hold plans to
offer acreage in a part of Lake Malawi which it claims. A restricted bidding
round was due to be launched early last month but this was postponed due to
“unforeseen reasons”, the country’s National Petroleum Institute said in