British firm searches for oil in Rwanda

ABI Holdings to prospect for petroleum in Lake Kivu.

Lake Kivu. British firm ABI Holdings to prospect for petroleum in the lake. PHOTO | CYRIL NDEGEYA | NATION 

Rwandan company Ngali Mining that won the petroleum exploration rights in Lake Kivu has tapped a British firm to search for the hydrocarbons.

ABI Holdings is exploring for oil in the Eastern Kivu Basin following 2014 discovery that the area is favourable for petroleum.

Prospecting for oil had however been put on hold after the government failed to agree on the exploration rights with foreign firms.

Ngali Mining, a subsidiary of local investment company Ngali Holdings which is associated with the Rwandan military, won the rights for oil exploration last year.

Francis Gatare, the chief executive of Rwanda Mines, Petroleum and Gas Board, the government agency that oversees the extractive sector, said exploration activities were ongoing but declined to disclose the timeframe for the project.

“You can talk to Ngali as to how they are doing it and who they are subcontracting, that is really their business and I am not in position to share business arrangements of a private company,” Mr Gatare said.

Contacted for comment, ABI Holdings said it signed a “non-disclosure agreement with Ngali Mining Ltd [that] does not allow us to discuss any aspects of the project with third parties”.

Parliament also said that it did not have any information about ongoing oil exploration activities.

"We have not reviewed anything about ongoing oil exploration or possible exploitation of reserves if they are discovered. It is something we are considering to do in the near future," said Adolphe Bazatoha, the chairperson of the parliamentary committee on Economy and Trade.

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