The Fiji government is preparing legislation to ensure that indigenous land and resource owners benefit from the discovery of any oil in Bligh Waters north of Viti Levu.
The Fiji Trade and Investment Board said this week that there was a very strong possibility of oil in Bligh Waters because the geological formation is very similar to that in the oil producing region of Irian Jaya.
Twenty possible oil bearing structures have been identified but more exploration is needed.
The radio station Legend quotes a mineral resources department spokesman, Ifireimi Bau, as saying draft legislation to ensure benefits for landowners would be ready soon.
At present, minerals discovered under the sea belong to the state.