By JAMES KUNDA? –
ZAMBIA and Saudi Arabia have agreed terms on a possible government-to-government deal that will enable the oil-rich Middle East country to supply the mineral-rich State with petroleum in bulk on a long-term basis.
Mines, Energy and Water Development Minister Christopher Yaluma said in an interview that Saudi Arabia had agreed to supply Zambia with significant quantities of petroleum on a government-to-government contract to be signed soon.
Mr Yaluma disclosed that a delegation led by Mines, Energy and Water Development Permanent Secretary Charity Mwansa had been to Saudi Arabia on two occasions recently to discuss the prospects of that country supplying fuel to Zambia.
The minister said the two trips were successful but details such as petroleum quantities and periods of supply would only be availed once the agreement was officially signed.
“A delegation from the ministry has been to Saudi Arabia twice recently and the latest is that country has agreed to supply Zambia with petroleum on government-to-government contract that we expect to sign in the near future,” he said.
Mr Yaluma said the Government was also pursuing Oman and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for deals that will see the two Middle East countries supplying Zambia with more petroleum.
He said the Government wanted to explore all the options for petroleum supplies so that the commodity is procured at a lesser cost.
Meanwhile, Mr Yaluma has said the Government is closely monitoring activities to deal with oil and gas exploration locally that commenced recently.
He said the Government had engaged nine prospectors for oil and gas in selected parts of the country and indicators show that the results could be positive.
“Government remains confident that Zambia can produce its own oil from the existing deposits and if this is achieved, the high costs of petroleum will be a thing of the past as production will be done locally,” he said.