Economics Association of Zambia President Lubinda Habazoka says there is need to wait for expert confirmation on the alleged discovery of oil in Gwembe by residents.

Commenting on media reports that locals in Gwembe Southern Province have spotted a liquid substance that they suspect could be crude oil coming from a mountain in Gwembe’s Chisanga area, Dr Habazoka said there are too many rumors in Zambia.

“What is true is that in southern province we have a lot of coal. Coal is crude oil in solid form. Zambia faces forex rate problems partly due to fuel importations. To reduce this vulnerability, we need to move to electric cars and also discover domestic sources of fuel.What such initiative even though expensive is coal liquefaction”, he said.

Below is a full write up…

The discovery of oil in Gwembe????
We need to wait for expert confirmation otherwise too many rumors in Zambia.

What is true is that in southern province we have a lot of coal. Coal is crude oil in solid form.

Zambia faces forex rate problems partly due to fuel importations. To reduce this vulnerability, we need to move to electric cars and also discover domestic sources of fuel.

What such initiative even though expensive is coal liquefaction.

Coal liquefaction is a process of converting coal into liquid hydrocarbons: liquid fuels and petrochemicals. This process is often known as “Coal to X”, where X can be many different hydrocarbon-based products. However, the most common process chain is “Coal to Liquid Fuels” (CTL).

Coal liquefaction originally was developed at the beginning of the 20th century. The best known CTL process is Fischer–Tropsch synthesis (FT), named after the inventors Franz Fischer and Hans Tropsch from the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute in the 1920s. The FT synthesis is the basis for indirect coal liquefaction (ICL) technology. Friedrich Bergius, also a German chemist, invented direct coal liquefaction (DCL) as a way to convert lignite into synthetic oil in 1913.

South Africa developed its own CTL technology in the 1950s. The South African Coal, Oil and Gas Corporation (Sasol) was founded in 1950 as part of industrialization process that the South African government considered essential for continued economic development and autonomy. However, South Africa had no domestic oil reserves and this made the country very vulnerable to disruption of supplies coming from outside, albeit for different reasons at different times.

Sasol was a successful way to protect the country’s balance of payment against the increasing dependence on foreign oil. For years its principal product was synthetic fuel and this business enjoyed significant government protection in South Africa during the apartheid years for its contribution to domestic energy security. Although it was generally much more expensive to produce oil from coal than from natural petroleum, the political as well as economic importance of achieving as much independence as possible in this sphere was sufficient to overcome any objections.

Early attempts to attract private capital, foreign or domestic, were unsuccessful, and it was only with state support that the coal liquefaction could start. CTL continued to play a vital part in South Africa’s national economy, providing around 30% of its domestic fuel demand. The democratization in the 1990s has made Sasol search for products that could prove more competitive in the global marketplace, and as of the new millennium Sasol is focusing primarily on its petrochemical business, as well as on efforts to convert natural gas into crude oil (GTL) usings its expertise in Fischer–Tropsch synthesis.

In order to do this, we need academia to team up with the energy ministry, maybe ZCCM IH and other funders to come up with a domestic program…

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