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|Oil Boom In East Africa Predicted|
Jeevan Vasagar in Nairobi
Nairobi, April 29, 2004 (The Guardian) – Africa’s Indian Ocean coast is poised to become a new source of oil and gas on the continent, according to a US oil industry expert whose firm has been carrying out satellite and geological surveys of the region.
West Africa, which supplies the US with 15% of its oil imports, has been the traditional focus for oil exploration on the continent.
But in an interview published on the US State Department's website, oil firm director Chris Machette-Downes said: "East Africa is very likely to become one of the hottest oil exploration frontiers in the next few years."
Commenting on a survey of the coast from the Kenya-Somalia border to South Africa, he said that for years east Africa had only been regarded as good for natural gas production, but that view had changed.
Oil production is already under way in Sudan. A host of companies are exploring offshore in the region, including Shell and the Anglo-US firm Aminex off the coast of Tanzania.
Mr. Machette-Downes predicted that any major finds of oil in east Africa would be exported chiefly to oil-hungry Asian nations.
Chinese and Indian companies, as well as the Malaysian firm Petronas, are already involved in oil extraction from Sudan.