Madagascar has oil - WB

news24 23.05.2003

Antananarivo - Madagascar has underground onshore oil stocks, the World Bank representative in the Indian Ocean island nation off Africa's southeastern coast told journalists on Thursday.

Without going into detail, Hafez Ghanem said that the island's oil was "heavy" crude and was situated deep underground.

"For the time-being, the oil is not being extracted because the cost would be too high for companies," he said.

"But I am certain that one day, oil companies will come to Madagascar."

In March 2001, Madagascar's Office of National Mines and Strategic Industries (OMNIS) and Vanco Energy Company of the United States signed an offshore exploration contract.

The contract, which covers a permit measuring 14 800 square kilometres in water depths of between 1 000 and 3 000 metres, was the fifth to be signed by US and Canadian companies with the Madagascar authorities since 1997.

The other four companies to have signed exploration contracts are Gulfstream, Hunt Oil, Triton and Xpronet.