Oil and gas company Shell, together with its joint venture partners Ophir Energy and Pavilion Energy, recently started a USD80m drilling program in the Mafia deep offshore basin in Tanzania.
The drilling program, covering two wells in Block 1 and 4 in the Mafia basin, will be executed in waters up to 2,300 meters deep.
Blocks 1 and 4 have 17 trillion cubic feet (tcf) gross contingent resource. Shell is the operator of these two blocks with 60% interest, while the remaining 40% are held by its partners, Ophir Energy (20%) and Pavilion Energy (20%).
The development of Blocks 1 and 4 is part of the Tanzania Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) project. The LNG plant will be located in the southern town of Lindi close to the deep-sea offshore blocks.
For this, the Government will have to build gas pipes from the sea to the plant with length of 100–200km.
The construction of the plant is expected to take up to 40 months at the cost of USD30b with production expected to commence in 2021 or 2022.
Tanzania has the second largest natural gas reserves in East Africa with more than 57 trillion cubic feet (tcf) so far discovered, behind Mozambique with 100 tcf according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA).
The Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation (TPDC) estimates that the country’s gas fields are large enough to make Tanzania the next natural gas hub in Africa.