Canada's Vanoil will start a marine seismic survey for oil on Rwanda's Lake Kivu in June, an official with the Ministry of Infrastructure said.
Teta Bahunde, the Officer in Charge of Oil and Gas, said that Vanoil, which has an understanding with Rwanda's government to enter a production sharing agreement in six months, planned to spend $600,000 on the 2D survey.
"We are still not sure if there is oil but we have reason to believe it is there," Bahunde said.
"The common origin of Lake Kivu with Lake Edward, Lake George and Lake Albert presupposes a similar sedimentary in-fill and therefore makes Lake Kivu an ideal basin to explore."
Tullow Oil and Heritage Oil are developing oil reserves in neighbouring Uganda's Lake Albertine Graben, which has fuelled exploration interest in the rest of east Africa.
Lake Kivu lies in Rwanda's East Kivu Graben which covers 1,631 square kilometres of oil and gas concessions in the north west.
The basin is part of the great East African rift system and is approximately 90 km (56 miles) wide and 200 km long. It straddles both Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo and is the Southern extension of the Albertine Graben in Uganda.
Bahunde said Rwanda and Vanoil entered into an agreement last month which allows Vanoil to do the 2D survey and an environmental impact assessment.
The company would also carry out a high-resolution low impact 300 km seismic and magnetic survey to evaluate geo hazards in the lake.
Rwanda's Minister of State for Energy Collette Uwineza Ruhamya said the seismic studies would go on until September.
Given Rwanda's dependency on oil imports, the Ministry of Infrastructure said it was seriously assessing all possibilities for oil and gas development in Rwanda, from exploration to use of methane gas for electricity generation.
Rwanda and neighbouring Congo have agreed to a joint project to produce 200 megawatts of electricity from methane gas reserves in their shared Lake Kivu.