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Oil, Gas and Security in Mali

Presence of Oil and Gas in Mali

Mali, which is a landlocked country, has no established oil or gas reserves.

Current status of the oil and gas industry in Mali

Exploration for oil and gas started in Mali in 2005. There is particular interest in the Taoudeni basin, the Gao Graben, the Tamesna basin and the Nara trough. Currently, the major activities in the country pertaining to oil and gas are storage, distribution and importation of refined products from the SIR refinery in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire and from the SAR refinery in Dakar, Senegal.

Companies engaged in joint venture with the government

The companies currently involved in oil exploration in Mali, are: Eni, Selier energy, Sonatrach, Centric energy, Africa oil corporation, and Heritage oil corporation.

Security related issues

Exploration activities in Mali are likely to confront a number of security challenges. Prior to the outbreak of a Touareg and later an Islamist rebellion in Northern Mali the country was facing a number of challenges maintaining security. Despite the fact that, Mali’s democracy – under the leadership of President Ahmadou Toumani Toure -  was widely hailed as a success, the country faced two security-related challenges that are of major concern. Firstly, Mali is one of 4 main countries in which al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) operate. Secondly, there was an ongoing peace-process after a recurring conflict between the government of the country and the Touareg population of Northern Mali. The conflict effectively made the northern part of the country ungovernable. In a bid to reverse this trend President Toure launched a program known as le Program Spécial pour la paix et le développment du Nord (PSPDN) in August 2011, with a view to re-engaging the North with the rest of the country, as well as reducing the tendency of the populations living there to aid or support al-Qaeda elements. To further boost the possibility that his initiative will succeed, Ibrahim Ag Bahanga, the leader of the most radical of the Touareg rebel factions died mysteriously also in August 2011. However, the fall of Ghadaffi in Libya in October 2011, set off the chain of events that has resulted in the grave security problems in Northern Mali.

View all Think Security Africa resources on Mali