4 Feb 2011

Tonga confirms first off-shore oil project

7:47 am on 4 February 2011

The Tonga Government is hoping that the island's first off-shore oil project will lead to new energy sources.

It's confirmed that an American based company has already started oil exploration work on the island and drilling could start in 2014.

The Minister of Lands, Surveys, and Natural Resources, Lord Ma'afu, says the company is still in the early stages of exploration, but discovery of oil would be very rewarding.

"Every time the oil price goes up the people actually have to front up with it and we can't afford that. We're looking at renewable energy at the same time we're also hoping for that we can find oil in Tonga which would make life a bit more easier for everybody here in the country."

Lord Ma'afu says the Modulus-Baringer Group signed exploration and mining agreements with the Government about a year ago.