Potential Tanzania Oil Prospects Generate Foreign Interest

According to recent reports, Key Petroleum Limited, an Australian-based company, has claimed that its current exploration license in the West Songo Songo area of Tanzania has the potential to produce at least 735 million barrels of Tanzania oil, or about 1.3 trillion cubic feet of gas.

Tanzania’s West Songo Songo area is located between the active Songo Songo gas field and the country’s coastline.

In addition to its interested in Songo Songo, Key Petroleum Limited is working to develop the nearby field of Nyuni.

“Exploration and development work is rapidly increasing the value of these areas which form a significant part of Key Petroleum’s international asset portfolio,” said the Australian-based company in a statement that was first released by Reuters.

The Guardian recently quoted the company’s Managing Director, Ken Russell, as saying that, “the geological work that our team has been undertaking has provided us with some highly prospective targets in the West Songo Songo license area.”

Mr. Russell went on to say that, “Although at an early stage of evaluation these results provide us with a greater level of confidence in our Tanzanian interest.”

Efforts to discover oil and gas reserves in Tanzania have increasingly become more intense, as evidenced by the increased presence of foreign companies in Tanzania.

By the year 2002, foreign investors in the oil industry had already allocated over $293m of funds to Tanzania in order to further explore the prospects of oil and gas in the country.

Since then, the state-run Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation (TPDC) has signed production sharing agreements (PSAs) with various oil and gas exploration companies in the hopes of soon discovering oil in the country.

In a recent report by the Guardian, the Managing Director of the TPDC, Mr. Yona Killagane, said that he was optimistic about the current exploration projects and that there was currently a 420,000 square kilometer area that had the potential for oil exploration projects.

According to Mr. Killagane, based on the success that has been made in the discovery of gas wells, the prospects for oil discovery are also very high.

“Right now tremendous success has been made in drilling for gas,” he said, “We’ve six wells in Songo Songo, four at Mnazi Bay and two in Mkuranga. We’re yet to discover oil, but I can assure you that there are hopeful prospects for oil.”

Mr. Killagane went on to say that he expects the drilling for oil to begin in the next two to three years.

Recent discoveries of oil in Uganda’s Lake Albert region have led many oil exploration companies to begin looking at the possibility of oil in Tanzania’s Lake Rukwa basin via Lake Tanganyika in the western branch of the Rift Valley.

Included in these exploration companies are the Norwegian-based Statoil Exploration Company as well as the Brazilian company, Petrobrus, both of which are involved in oil exploration projects in Tanzania.

Currently, the Statoil Exploration Company anticipates that it will spend at least $65m during the first phase of its 11-year exploration project off the coast of Tanzania on the eastern part of Mandawa Coastal Basin.