June 24, 2009 / 8:00 AM / 10 years ago

Zambia invites foreign firms to explore for oil

An oil rig prepares to drill in western Uganda, near the shores of Lake Albert, June 15, 2007. REUTERS/Tim Cocks

LUSAKA (Reuters) - Zambia has invited tenders from foreign firms to explore for oil in three of its provinces, a senior government official said on Wednesday.

Godwin Beene, the permanent secretary for the ministry of mines and minerals development, said tenders will close on August 7 for all companies that plan exploration after initial soil sample tests in European laboratories indicated good traces of oil.

“The government... invites sealed bids for petroleum exploration licensing round for 23 blocks in the north western, western and eastern provinces of Zambia,” Beene said in a statement.

Beene said the bidders should demonstrate proven ability to raise funds required for the projects, and also show they have assets, machinery, technical expertise, equipment and tools required to explore, produce and sale oil.

He said the bids will be opened on the same day of closure of tenders in the presence of bidding firms, which will be required to pay $10,000 non-refundable bidding fees.

Zambian authorities say there are oil traces in areas bordering oil producing Angola.

Zambia, Africa’s top producer of copper, the economic mainstay in the southern African country of 12 million people.

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