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SacOil Wins Malawi Oil Block as East African Finds Lure Drillers

Dec. 13 (Bloomberg) -- SacOil Holdings Ltd., a South African oil and gas company, won an exploration license in Malawi, pushing the shares up the most in almost two months.

SacOil will search for oil in Block 1, an area spanning about 12,200 square kilometers (4,700 square miles) in the northwest of the country, the Johannesburg-based company said today in a statement to the city’s stock exchange.

International investors including Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Total SA have raced to tap East Africa, where Tullow Oil Plc made Kenya’s first oil discovery this year and Anadarko Petroleum Corp. previously announced the decade’s biggest gas find off Mozambique. The region’s resources have also drawn oil companies to Tanzania, Uganda and Ethiopia.

SacOil rose 6.5 percent to 33 cents in Johannesburg trading, the biggest one-day gain since Oct. 15.

The four-year exploration license can be renewed twice for three-year periods as results are evaluated, according to the statement.

“This is in line with SacOil’s strategy of building and developing a uniquely African portfolio,” Chief Executive Officer Robin Vela said in the statement. “It gives effect to our drive to unlock underexplored regions in Africa.”

SacOil also has an exploration license in the Democratic Republic of Congo and blocks in Nigeria, according to the company’s website.

To contact the reporter on this story: Paul Burkhardt in Johannesburg at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: John Viljoen at

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