Rwanda and Tanzania intend to expand fossil fuel excavation within their borders of the Albertine rift, according to recent reports.
Rwanda is calling for proposals from oil companies to pick up where a Canadian oil firm left off, and continue excavating sites along Lake Kivu. Meanwhile, Tanzania is following in neighbouring Uganda’s lead, investigating oil prospects within their country as it works on becoming the “next oil frontier.”
“We therefore expect that the oil-prone geology that has been proven in Uganda […] will continue into Tanzania,” said David Ridge, Chief Executive Officer at Swala Oil and Gas Tanzania.
Home to Africa’s Great Lakes and a lush, densely populated ecosystem, the oil-rich Albertine rift extends through Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania. Communities living in the region depend on subsistence agriculture, fishing and livestock for their livelihood.
Lake Kivu is considered to be particularly “volatile to oil because of huge accumulation of methane and carbon dioxide gases.” Scientists believe that if the area is tempered with, Lake Kivu’s gases could explode and affect two million people living within its proximity, similarly to the explosion that occurred in Cameroon’s Lake Nyos in 1986.
Uganda is already ramping up their role in the region’s fossil fuel industry, and could see at least 10 active oil output sites in their country by 2017. According to their Ministry of Energy and Mining Development, Uganda has already invested $US 2.5 billion into their oil and gas industry in 2013. Currently, Africa’s fossil fuel industries are offering some of the highest paid jobs in the sector to international oil and gas experts, beating out the Middle East and coming second to Europe.