Government is in the process of repealing and replacing the Exploration and Production Act of 1985.
Mines and Mineral Development Minister Kalombo Mwansa has announced that the Bill to repeal and replace the current Act will be tabled in parliament in the first quarter of 2008.
Dr. Mwansa said the Bill will provide two separate licenses for prospecting and production of oil and gas as well as make it stronger in the areas of legal provisions on environmental protection.
He was speaking in Lusaka today when he opened a three-day seminar on National Petroleum Development.
Dr. Mwansa said repealing of the Act involves strengthening institutional framework for regulating the oil and gas industry before inviting tenders from the private petroleum exploration companies.
He said government is now promoting capacity building in geological survey department while rehabilitating and equipping the laboratories in the Ministry of Mines to enable it carry out analysis of the petroleum explorations because government is determined to ensure that the country benefits fully from the petroleum and gas industry.
Meanwhile, Dr. Mwansa has announced that government has made significant progress on exploration of oil and gas in Eastern, North-Western and Western Provinces as evidenced by results of microbial analysis of samples collected in these provinces.
The Minister said samples showed positive signs for both oil and gas adding that government will in this year’s exploration programme extend the microbial survey to the Kafue Basin in Southern Province and Bangweulu in Luapula Province.
And speaking earlier, Norwegian Ambassador to Zambia Tore Gjos said Zambia stands to gain tremendously from her petroleum and gas industry
Mr. Tore said Zambia should however approach the industry with a measure of prudence.
The three-day seminar seeks to look at the petroleum policy and relevant legislation involved in exploring oil and gas.