Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo have signed a memorandum of understanding to jointly explore lake Tanganyika for Petroleum potential.
The memorandum of understanding was signed on Tuesday in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania’s capital. President Joseph Kabila, who is on a three day official visit to Tanzania signed the MOU with President Magufuli.
In the ensuing press conference, President Kabila said:
”We have already discovered oil in the western parts of Lake Albert, and there’s a great possibility that there’s also oil in Lake Tanganyika, therefore, joint exploration is the way to go for mutual benefits.”
President Kabila added that the two leaders also discussed mutual cooperation in using the pipeline being constructed from Uganda to Tanzania to export oil from Lake Albert.
Lake Albert is located north of Lake Tanganyika and is shared between Uganda and the DR Congo. It is estimated to have a multi-billion barrel field which could be the largest onshore field found in sub-Saharan Africa for more than twenty years.
Lake Tanganyika is Africa’s oldest lake and is shared by both countries including Zambia and Rwanda. The world’s second largest fresh water lake is known for fishing although catches have declined remarkably in recent decades as commercial fleets have expanded.
Tanzania had previously issued licenses for oil exploration in its part of the waters in 2012. Geologists were optimistic but found greater potential in the region belonging to Tanzania.
President Magufuli showed optimism in the agreement between the two leaders. He said through such deals, African countries could reach their economic potentials.
This is not the first time both nations have agreed to explore Lake Tanganyika. In 2008, the DRC government signed a joint exploration deal with Tanzania, but which was never implemented.