A comprehensive programme for the development of potential petroleum resources in Zambia


Cooperating institutions
Ministry of Mines and Minerals Development, Geological Survey Department (GSD)

Environmental Council (ECZ) The Royal Norwegian Embassy in Zambia

Goals and objectives
Increase the understanding, capacity and competence of the petroleum potential and development within ministries and other state institutions in Zambia. Support Zambian authorities and enable them to conduct a strategic environmental assessment (SEA) before opening areas for petroleum activity and to clarify responsibilities between ministries and departments.

A main objective of the programme has been to contribute to a good decision making process focusing on how petroleum development can take place without harming the environment.

Project period

The SEA process has been extended to 2010.

Total budget
NOK 6.3 million

Support with:

  • Revision of petroleum legislation
  • Petroleum and resource management
  • Environmental management and SEA
  • Data management

Oil for Development:
Ms. Solveig Andresen,

Cooperating institutions in Norway
Norwegian Directorate for Nature Management (DN)


Country facts


Official Name
Republic of Zambia Capital Lusaka

Chief of state
President Rupiah Banda

Head of Government
President Rupiah Banda

11 862 740 (2009 est.)

Petroleum sector, key figures
No oil or gas production (2009)

Organization of the sector
Ministry of Mines and Minerals Development


Brief history of the project

Cooperation between Norway and Zambia has a long history and Zambia receives considerable support from Norway in many areas. Support to petroleum sector development is of more recent date. Some of the best petroleum prospects in Zambia may be located in areas where there are national parks. The programme has therefore had a strong focus on possible environmental consequences in the event of petroleum activities.


Activities in 2009

In 2009 the programme focused on three different areas:

Environmental management
In January 2009, Petrad organized a seminar/workshop in Siavonga on the SEA process. Partners were the DN, the Norwegian Embassy and various authority bodies in Zambia. The seminar/ workshop focused on the establishment of a good SEA process and the importance of good partnership. The seminar was successful and led to the establishment of a task force that was led by a Zambian consultant. In order to create a mandate for the task force and to commence the work, a follow-up workshop was held in March. It was agreed to conduct two SEAs for central areas in the potential licensing round. The DN has been to Zambia several times to follow up this work. There was some distortion in the work because Zambia suddenly announced a licensing round. After some hesitation it was agreed that the SEA process should continue and be finalized in 2010.

Data management
Petrad worked with the Geological Survey Department to improve the condition of the petroleum archives. Focus was on organization of data, re-mastering of seismic data, scanning and competence and capacity building. By the end of the year all archives were organized, new structures were implemented and all petroleum data were brought up to industry standard. Bridge Consult delivered a report about the petroleum potential of Zambia based on a review of published articles and data obtained from the GSD, and concluded that exploration for petroleum in the country is high risk.

Input to the upcoming licensing round
From the Norwegian side, it has been important to manage expectations in a way that would benefit Zambia. OfD was of the opinion that more work on the technical and environmental aspects would be necessary before an actual licensing round could take place. However, a licensing round was announced in June. The Norwegian Embassy initiated several meetings with Zambian authorities focusing on how the round could be conducted in the best way possible. The method favoured by Zambia resulted in few wellknown companies applying. Several licenses were awarded towards the end of the year to companies from outside and inside Zambia. None of these companies seem to have adequate experience or financial muscle to carry out a serious exploration programme in Zambia. The future of the petroleum development in Zambia is therefore uncertain.

Other activities
One person from Zambia participated in Petrad’s eight-week programme on Petroleum Policy and Resource Management.

Key achievements 2009
The process for a strategic environmental assessment (SEA) has started and is used in the dialogue with the various ministries. Available seismic data were organized and have, together with the petroleum prospectivity report, potentially provided the government with a better overview of the country’s petroleum resource potential.