Monday, September 1, 2014
Gas reserve is a potential commodity for Tanzania economy, says experts
While the debate continues over how much gas currently being explored in deep offshore should be sold to foreign investors once its production starts, experts have noticed that, with the use of gas Tanzania stands a better chance to make stronger her economy by involving local firms. According to experts, Tanzania is said to have a greater opportunity of transforming its national economy and have better life for her citizens than any other East African countries if it would make proper use of the recently discovered natural gas reserve. BG East Africa President and Asset General Manager, Derek Hudson made the observation in Dar es Salaam on Wednesday last week in an exclusive moment after he had announced beneficiaries of scholarships for Masters Degree programme which his company has offered to Tanzanians. The BG scholarship scheme, which is part of the company’s social performance and local content strategy, provides opportunities to 10 Tanzanians each year to study in the UK so as to become part of the future workforce in Tanzania’s oil and gas sector. He stressed that, BG East Africa will focus much on training and offering scholarships to Tanzanians that will aim at equipping them with the modern skills and expertise in the oil and gas sector. According to him, good national policies for safeguards are required to be put in place in order to empower private sector to ensure the development of the country's own gas and electricity sector in general. However, he noted that, although the cost of developing gas industry in Tanzania is going to be more expensive, plenty of resources available can help transform the national economy. “Tanzania has a better chance of increasing its economy in future through gas industry if it would make proper use of the gas by putting its policies that would lead the sector more profitably”, he said.
However, he suggested that, one best way to achieve this goal is by involving the local private sector companies which would look at the availability of the market for the products in the country. Elaborating the current development taking place on the exploration activities being undertaken by the company in deep offshore, Adam Prince, an official with the BG Tanzania Ltd said exclusively that, the recent gas discoveries have confirmed Tanzania as one of world’s newest exploration hotspots and a prime target for the next wave of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) exports. “With the continued success there is potential to deliver gas to the domestic market as well as the development of LNG”, he said adding that BG’s ongoing exploration activities is committed to the development of local capacity and its desire to move forward with the LNG project development in Tanzania. He underscored that the current exploration investment his company is making will be able to produce gas after eight years from now as already 5 wells out of 15 which covers 15 trillion cubic feet of gas are 100 percent successful. He said these have been explored around 2,000 metres of water and are due to face a hard task of penetrating through rocky hills down 4,000 metres deep and this is likely to last between 2 to 3 years after which they would embark on building infrastructure to facilitate production process. “It is not a secret that we have enjoyed significant success in our exploration activities off the Tanzanian coast despite of several hurdles such as the water depths which are full of numerous hills”, he said adding that, their business plans are progressing and that are hopeful for a long and fruitful presence in Tanzania. He said that his company which has been licensed to do gas exploration activities since 2010 is willing to build business with the government in conjunction with the public in an attempt to help the country's economic growth.
Tanzania has been exploring for oil and gas for the past 60 years since 1952. The first natural gas discovery was made in 1974 at Songo Songo Island and at Mnazi Bay in 1982. The Songo Songo natural gas was commercialised in 2004 and that of Mnazi Bay in 2006. In 2010 exploration activities in the deep sea encountered commercial reserves for natural gas. To date Tanzania stands at 32 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.