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Malawi - Block 1


Operator: SacOil
Group company holding interest: SacOil – 100%
Size: 12 265 square kilometres, Block 1 is the second largest petroleum exploration block demarcated in Malawi
Partners: None

Malawi - Block 1 location


Located on the north-western part of Malawi bordering Tanzania to the north and Zambia to the west.
Nearest towns: Karango, Chitipa, Rumphi
Geological features: The block is located on-trend with the East African Rift System which is a proven exploration province and has resulted in prolific oil discoveries in Sudan, Chad, Kenya and Uganda.


The Petroleum Prospecting Licence was awarded by the Malawian Government in 2012.
Licence period: 2012 to December 2016 with two additional three-year extension periods.

Environmental management

Permits: All necessary permits have been obtained and are in the process of being renewed to complete the environmental and social impact assessments. There is a reasonable basis to believe that all permits required for the project can be obtained.

Material environmental risk factors

  • Lake Malawi
  • Nyika National Park and the Vwaza Marsh Wildlife Reserve
  • Fauna and flora
  • Environmentally sensitive areas outside national parks
  • Human settlements
  • Topography

Stakeholder consultation and engagement was completed. Mitigation plans have been developed and implemented to address the potential environmental and social impact of the exploration activities on the block.

Primary activity

Exploration for hydrocarbons with the aim of proving the presence of a working petroleum system.

Studies undertaken:

  • Regional geological and geophysical studies
  • Satellite screen study
  • Environmental and social risk screening
  • Social and labour plans
  • Workshops and engagements with related parties and stakeholders

Expenditure to date: R1.2 million

Resource overview

Exploration activity has primarily been restricted to gravity and magnetic surveys during the late 1960s and early 1970s. To the east and southeast of Block 1, Surestream Petroleum acquired Blocks 2 and 3 in 2011, which have a combined area of 20 000 square kilometres and are located on Lake Malawi. Petroleum exploration over the lake has been more detailed in the past with a number of 2D seismic surveys of various vintages being acquired.

The analysis of historical exploration results indicates the presence of various sub-basins with sediment cover, which could prove to be prospective. To date no petroleum resource have been assessed and quantified over Block 1 in Malawi.

Directors’ statement

The Group has the legal entitlement to the minerals and asset being reported on and there are no legal proceedings or other material conditions that may impact the Group’s ability to continue operations.