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13/12/2006 Madagascar will be a key partner country in Norwegian development policy through the Oil for Development Initiative. The petroleum industry in the country is in its initial phase, and seismic data interpretation has taken place at the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate.
The Oil for Development Initiative (OfD) is a key focus area for the government's development policy. Through OfD, several ministries cooperate on assistance to developing countries on issues such as petroleum management and good governance. Madagascar is one of nine countries which have been selected as main partner countries for this effort.
"The country is in the initial phase of its petroleum activities. There has been exploration for oil and gas for a long time in Madagascar, without any commercial discoveries being made," says NPD principal engineer Gunnar Søiland.
The high oil price is an important factor in the country's decision to start test production of heavy oil, which Madagascar has large deposits of onshore, next year. The first offshore licensing round has been announced.
"New seismic data have been acquired in relation to this. Several oil companies have purchased the seismic data and will use it as a basis for their applications," says Søiland.
The NPD will maintain extensive institutional cooperation with OMNIS (Office des Mines Nationales et des Industries Strategiques) on Madagascar for several years to come.
During the initial phase of the cooperation between Norway and Madagascar, the Petrad foundation has coordinated transfer of competence in the form of courses, conferences and consultancy assistance.
This autumn, the two OMNIS geologists Ranaivoson Bakolalao and Raharimananirina Clodette have worked on interpreting seismic data from the shelf west of Madagascar. The interpretation has taken place at NPD's premises in Stavanger.
"IT conditions on Madagascar are poor. At the NPD we have machines and software which the professionals from OMNIS do not have access to at home. This is why they are working here with our geologists. Cooperation between government authority bodies to solve professional challenges is educational for both parties," says Søiland.
The OfD initiative is a long-term cooperation project which includes, in addition to petroleum management, financial management, environment and anti-corruption measures. OfD is coordinated by Norad. The NPD, the Ministry of Finance and the Norwegian Pollution Control Authority will be responsible for the implementation the cooperation projects with Madagascar.
Contact in the NPD:
Eldbjørg Vaage Melberg, tel.: +47 51 87 61 00.