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Madagascar has a modest upstream oil industry. The existence of oil and gas reserves has been confirmed but the territory is considered to be both underexplored and underexploited. The island produces a modest amount of crude and gas per annum. Developing Madagascar's oil and gas resources is a cornerstone of a government plan to liberalize and privatize the country's economy and move towards a free market. Madagascar Oil is developing the massive onshore heavy oil field at Tsimiroro and ultra heavy oil field at Bemolanga.

The history of exploration in Madagascar began in the earlier part of this century when two giant exhumed oil fields, Bemolanga and Tsimiroro were discovered. Most of the drilling work was carried out in the years 1945-1965. However, political unrest and a socialist government discouraged exploration activity in the 1970's and 1980's, although some drilling was done by Mobil, Occidental, Agip, Amoco, Shell, BP and Maxus. No commercial discoveries were made but dry gas, wet gas, light oil and heavy oil have been identified along the island's western coastline.

An exploration agreement was signed between the Madagascan government and Triton Energy for the 28,170 square kilometer Ambilobe license north of Nosy Be as part of a series of offshore permits that Madagascar prepared for sale in early 1995. In 1998, Triton relinquished the western portion of this tract corresponding to 37% of the original allocation. Triton also relinquished its rights to the Cape Sainte Marie region which it had acquired in 1995.

In 1997, Gulfstream Resources Canada obtained two licenses, Tsiribihina in the Morondova basin and Antonibe Offshore in the Majunga basin covering 26,700 square kilometers and 5,200 square kilometers respectively. Its partner was OMNIS with 18% and 20% interests respectively. Subsequently, International Petroleum Consultants Inc acquired 2% of the OMNIS share in the Antonibe block.

Madagascar Hunt Oil acquired 100% rights to the Bemolanga, Majunga and Tsimoro Blocks under production sharing contracts signed in 1997 and 1998.

In 2001 Chevron Corp. (then Texaco) discovered layers of crude in Morondava and Tulear, in western Madagascar.

Petroleum Law & Legislation

The oil industry is regulated by the Ministry of Energy and Mines. Madagascar's petroleum code has been amended to improve terms and create favorable conditions to encourage foreign investment. All the exploration acreage is open, both onshore and offshore. In Madagascar, exploration and production are regulated by the Petroleum Code. This provides for Production Sharing and Joint Venture Contracts, but other contractual forms will be permitted at the investor's option.

Oil & Gas Companies

  • Chevron Texaco
  • Triton Energy
  • Madagascar Natural Resources Development SARL

Key Figures

  • Oil production: 85 bbl/day(2008)
  • Oil Consumption: 20,000 bbl/day(2008)
  • Oil Exports: 365 bbl/day(2007)
  • Oil Imports: 16,940 bbl/day(2007)
  • Oil Proved Reserves: 0 bbl (2009)
  • Natural Gas Production: 0 cu m(2008)
  • Natural Gas Consumption: 0 cu m (2008)
  • Natural Gas Exports: 0 cu m (2008)
  • Natural Gas Imports: 0 cu m (2008)
  • Natural Gas Proved Reserves: 0 cu m(2006)

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