BY MICHAEL EBOH, with Agency Report
Oil and gas firms in Africa and Saudi Arabia have indicated interest to partner with Zambia’s ZCCM Investment Holdings Plc to explore for oil and gas in Zambia.
Already, Nigeria’s oil firm, Oando Energy Resources (OER) own oil and gas exploration blocks in Zambia.
ZCCM Investment Holdings Plc (MLZAM), the company 88 percent owned by the Zambian government, has received interest from African and Saudi Arabian companies in partnerships to explore for oil and gas in the country.
ZCCM Investment Holdings Plc, which is 88 per cent owned by the Zambian government, owns stakes in Glencore International Plc’s (GLEN) and Vedanta Resources Plc’s (VED) local copper operations.
It also has four oil and gas exploration blocks in the North-Western province that borders Angola and Democratic Republic of Congo.
“We will work with other partners so that we can benefit from their experiences in these areas, particularly for oil and gas,” Chief Executive Officer ZCCM, Mukela Muyunda said in an interview.
He declined to identify the companies that have expressed an interest in oil and gas exploration.
Zambia, Africa’s biggest copper producer, has announced plans to diversify its economy away from the metal that accounts for about 75 per cent of export earnings, to protect the country from price fluctuations.
The country currently imports all its liquid fuels and has the highest petroleum prices in the region, according to the government.
“ZCCM is seriously considering establishing an exploration subsidiary that would have separate divisions searching for oil, gas and base metals. The proposal will go to the board for approval in March,” Muyunda said.
Zambia produces no oil and gas and has yet to discover any resources, although its neighbors Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique, and Tanzania either produce or have known reserves.
Apart from Oando Energy Resources, the South African explorer, and Isle of Man-based Petrodel Resources Limited, own oil and gas exploration blocks in Zambia.