Maldives National Oil Company seeks assistance with oil exploration

The Maldives National Oil Company (MNOC) has revealed that it will begin advertising the country as a destination for oil exploration as early as April, local media has reported.

MNOC Managing Director Ahmed Muneez told the press yesterday that the recent release of a seismic reports – initiated in 1991 by Royal Dutch Shell – had prompted the state-owned company to seek further foreign assistance.

“We have contacted a Norwegian company and a German company to help us better understand the findings of the study. Based on this report, we’re hopeful of advertising the Maldives as a new destination of oil exploration,” Haveeru quoted Muneez as saying.

He explained that an outside company would be hired to conduct a global advertising campaign in order to market the country as an oil source.

Prior to last year’s presidential elections, both the Jumhooree Party candidate Gasim Ibrahim and – eventual victor – Progressive Party of Maldives Abdulla Yameen promised oil exploration to supplement the country’s tourism industry.

The national oil company was formed in 2003 in order to assist the government’s attempts to diversify the economy, which still relies on tourism for 70-80 percent of GDP. The company’s activities include making preparations for the country’s third attempt at oil exploration.

“The fact that two leading oil exploration companies in the world had invested in exploration drilling in the Maldives, keeps up the glimmer of hope for commercial success of oil and gas exploration in the Maldives,” explains the MNOC.

“Today, with the remarkable improvement of technology in the area of oil and exploration such as three or four dimensional seismic survey systems etc., the Maldives National Oil Company is hopeful that oil or gas can be discovered in Maldives.”

Better known for its pristine beaches and clear waters – and more recently its vulnerability to climate change and commitment to carbon neutrality – the search for oil in the Maldives predates its famous tourism industry.

Information available on the MNOC website explains that the French oil company Elf Aquitaine embarked on exploratory projects in the Maldives as early as 1968. After experimental wells were drilled in 1976, it was discovered that the deposits at the site were not economically viable.

A second attempt at exploration came fifteen years later, with Shell conducting seismic surveys and drilling an exploration well in Ari atoll. Again, current market prices meant that the project was deemed financially unappealing.

Tourism Minister Ahmed Adeeb has previously told Minivan News that Maldives’ environmental image and commitments are no obstacles to developing of an oil industry.

The Maldives is “a big nation, and places not in marine protected zones or tourism areas could be explored for oil, like in the less developed north,” he explained.

The Maldives has previously been listed by the UN as one of the world’s most oil-addicted nations,  importing US$488 million in petroleum products in 2012 – equivalent to around one fifth of GDP.

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10 thoughts on “Maldives National Oil Company seeks assistance with oil exploration”

  1. Only in an alternate does a tourism bureaucrat explain the oil policy and claim that Maldives is "a big nation."

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  2. Adheeb, the guy who asked citizen not to pay tax! Do you remember? He now says Maldives is a "big nation". Where does this freak comes from? Hello!

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  3. If there is potentdial for oil in our waters the Shell itself will already be here knowing what they already know!

    Muppets like Adheeb and dime-a-phd's are trying to pull the wool over our eyes. Oil prospecting is a risky and expensive business. The oil majors know what our little puppets don't.

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  4. Maldives possess enough resources to be rich without oil (assuming there any oil if at all)

    Oil is an excuse to prop up people'e expectations fora lack of an economic policy agenda.

    Remember the saying 'a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush'.. the idea is risk.

    There are many birds in the had already, like tourism, transshipment, fisheries, aircargo hub etc.

    So why even look for oil.

    I hope oil is NEVER found in Maldives 'cos it will be a curse.

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  5. If Maldives could appropriate a Nuclear power plant, we can easily go carbon neutral.

    Nuclear is the new green, just look at the French.

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  6. @hudson: Oil is a catchword for heroin or hash oil; since we can't get legitimate investments anymore, we're going to have to become a rogue nation whose export and shipping is hard drugs.

    And if we had oil in this territory, the arabs would have butchered every last man, woman and child here to create another -istan long ago.

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  7. Adheeb did ask not to pay tax , yes right ? But he did ask not pay the tax when Nasheed told that he will not pay the salary for civil servant ?

    If Tax payers money were treated like Nasheed own money, yes Tax payers should stop paying taxes.

    You only telling part of what Adeeb had told and rest you do not want to tell or explain.'

    This is how far Nasheed followers go. If you go and check exact words of what Adeeb had said, you will know that he had told that if Nasheed is not going to pay the Salary of civil servants from Judiciary , then Tax payers must consider to stop paying Taxes.

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  8. @Maldivian, you're right there. The only oil to be imported from the Maldives in our lifetime will be either of the drug variety or that from coconuts! But we cannot even export coconut oil; we import that too! How absolutely useless are we eh?

    I reiterate the earlier point that if there is potential oil here, then the oil majors will be knocking on our door given the two previous seismic data already available to them. Sure, advances is seismology have taken place since the 1990s, but the fundamentals have not changed.

    Modern technology reduces the exploration risk, but there is still huge uncertainty and risk. New technology cannot uncover oil where there isn't an economically viable source. In any case, since Shell at least did drill a well, they have a pretty good picture of what's underneath the sea bed.

    We can categorically say that "advertising" Maldives as a potential source of crude oil will be a huge waste of money. But rest assured that there are family and friends ready to pocket that money in Yameen's government. Viva la 30 golden years.

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  9. Yes, oil drilling and nuclear plants will mix well with tourism. Look at the Gulf of Mexcio/BP and Japan/nuclear power. Tourists love extra radiation and dead fish floating everywhere on their holiday.

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  10. Hey Hero. We dont need to pay stupid, worthless parasites in a top-heavy government that swindles the people.

    Remember; you worthless bureaucrats are eating OUR money, and we will exact a heavy interest when we return to take back what is ours. How about a 15000%, for starters?

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