Australia's Beach Petroleum Eyes Tanzania

Australian top four energy company Beach Petroleum Limited is eyeing its first move into Africa’s oil and gas sector. The Adelaide-based Beach has been granted exclusive rights following a contested tender process to negotiate with the Tanzanian Government to explore onshore and in the waters of the southern half of Lake Tanganyika in western Tanzania.

The Company will have to negotiate the terms of a Production Sharing Agreement (PSC) before any work can commence.

Oil seeps and surface slicks are well known on the surface of Lake Tanganyika whose South Block covers approximately 5,400 square kilometers. It forms part of the western arm of the 500-kilometer long East African Rift system and is part of the Albert Basin. This includes Lakes Albert and Edward to the north of Lake Tanganyika and Lake Malawi in the south.

Exploration in the Ugandan portion of the Albert Basin by Hardman Resources Limited (taken over by Tullow Oil plc in 2007) and Heritage Oil Corporation has produced significant oil discoveries with prospective reserves in the 100 -1000 million barrels (mmbbl) range.

Beach Petroleum Managing Director, Mr Reg Nelson, said: "The Lake Tanganyika South Block provides Beach an opportunity for ground floor exploration in an area with similar geology to and on trend with, a proven petroleum basin.

"Lake Tanganyika has until now, been poorly explored. However, seismic data acquired by Duke University in the early 1980s shows similar structures to those which have produced oil fields in Uganda to the north.

"Reported oil seeps in the Lake indicate a working hydrocarbon system is present and suggest the potential for large petroleum accumulations in the permit area."