Rwanda has resumed its search for petroleum deposits in Lake Kivu to join regional countries that are already looking forward to start commercial oil production.  Following a three years break, Rwanda’s Natural Resources Ministry says that the search is still on and there are high hopes of finding petroleum in Rwanda.

The petroleum sector is not very well developed at the present time in Rwanda. The only petroleum related activity at this time in Rwanda is the extraction of dissolved methane from the waters of Lake Kivu. Vanoil a Canadian company did explore the possibility of finding oil in Lake Kivu until its contract expired in 2014 with the government of Rwanda failing to renew it. The company allegedly demanded for more time and a bigger catch on the shares in the oil deal. Under the Rwandan law governing petroleum exploration and production activities, an exploration license is valid for three years while a production investor is given a license valid for up to 25 years.

The EAC report released during the 7th East African petroleum conference(EAPCO), held in Kigali March 2016 showed that 2.3bn barrels of recoverable oil had been discovered in Uganda and Kenya with more than 50 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in Tanzania. Due to such positive indicated from countries in the region, Rwanda are prospecting in Lake Kivu so thet they are not left behind.

The current geological knowledge of the petroleum prospectivity is extremely limited in Rwanda.Work performed to date indicates the potential for one or two sedimentary depo-centers in the northern Lake Kivu area. These depo-centers are largely interpretive but the work program, interpretation and modeling performed by Vangold Resources Ltd further corroborate their likely presence.


The East African rift system has become the focus of more and more exploration activities in the last five years. This is partly due to the success that International Oil Companies (IOCs) have had in the region. Although the Sudan and Eritrea have seen exploration activity for quite some time (early 1990s), there has been a renewed interest in the rift system namely in Kenya and Uganda. 

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