Swala Oil & Gas Tanzania to sell its shares to local communities

An oil and gas exploration and production company in Tanzania plans to offer for sale to local communities some of its shares to help them have a stake in the ownership of the company.

Swala Oil & Gas Tanzania Limited said in a statement issued that it would release its 3.75 million shares to the local communities in its areas of operations through the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange(DSE) market.

“We invite expression of interest for the management of the 3.27 million shares that we set aside when the company was established in July 2011 for the benefit of local communities who often see little of the value that can accrue to investors in natural resources," the Swala Oil & Gas (Tanzania) Limited Chairman, Mr Ernest Massawe said in the statement.

According to a statement issued by the company yesterday, the company is owned 65.13 per cent by Swala Energy Limited which is listed on the Australian Stock Exchange and 25.28 per cent by local investors and that the remaining 9.59 per cent was earmarked for local communities.

Mr Massawe said that they have spent a long time assessing how best to maximize the value of their activities to the country and had recently demonstrated their dedication to sustainability through education by sponsoring geology students at the University of Dar es Salaam.

Since its establishment Swala has carried out a review of possible approaches to maximizing the value of the shares it set aside for the local communities and has concluded that the best approach combines local improvement activities and the promotion of local enterprise.

“When we established Swala, we deliberately ring-fenced equity to be set aside for the benefit of the local people in the areas where we operate. In effect, this gives a degree of local ownership that is unprecedented in East Africa and we aim in this way to bring some of the benefits that accrue to investors in oil and gas companies to the local communities," the Chief Executive Officer, Dr David Ridge said in the statement.

Dr Ridges said that they recognized that managing this shareholding does not lie within Swala’s expertise and are therefore looking to partner with an entity that can bring that expertise to this initiative. 

The Chairman of Swala Energy Limited, Mr Ken Russell said that Swala Energy owns 65.13 per cent of the equity in Swala Tanzania and recognized early on the need to address the interests of local communities so that they too can participate in the future success of the companies.

He said that engaging an expert group to manage these interests is the next logical step as the company continues to grow in the East African region. Swala is an affiliated company to Swala Energy Limited, a company in turn listed on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) with ticker “SWE”. Swala holds assets in the world-class East African Rift System with a total net land package in excess of 17,500km2.

New discoveries have been announced by industry participants in a number of licences along this trend, including Ngamia and Twiga, which extend the multi-billion barrel Albert Graben play so successfully developed by Tullow Oil into the eastern arm of the rift. Swala has an active operational and business development programme to continue to grow its presence in the hydrocarbon provinces of East Africa.
Source: Daily News, reported by Masembe Tambwe, from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

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