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14.03.2012

Huge Gas Finds Put East Africa On The Map

Norwegian oil company Statoil (STO-N28.400.381.36%)does not normally have naval patrols guarding its drilling operations. But not everywhere it operates is threatened by Somali pirates.

Statoil set the oil industry abuzz late last month when it announced it had found huge volumes of natural gas off the coast of Tanzania, confirming east Africa’s reputation as one of the energy world’s most promising new frontiers.

The find is “fantastic,” says Tim Dodson, Statoil’s head of exploration. “Our biggest ever discovery as operator outside Norway.”

African waters can be treacherous, however. Statoil had lockdown facilities on all its rigs and support vessels to keep staff safe in the event of a pirate attack, while a small flotilla of boats, operated by security contractors and Tanzanian navy personnel, guard the drilling site.

Copyright 2012, Globe & Mail. All rights reserved.

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