The Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation (TPDC) has recently announced that the country’s gas fields are large enough to cover the domestic power requirements and make Tanzania the next natural gas hub in Africa.
The announcement took place at Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA)during the launch of the Airborne Gravity Gradiometry Surveys (AGGS) for the Lake Tanganyika North Block, where the TPDC Managing Director, Dr. James Mataragio, explained that the current Tanzanian gas fields are reaching a production capacity of 260 million cubic feet per day (cf/d) while the country’s needs yield to 140 million cf/d.
The surplus estimation comes from mainly two sources, the Songo-Songo gas field whose production capacity is over the 150 million cf/d while the country can only consume 93 million cf/d and the Mnazi bay, whose delivery capacity can reach the 110 million cf/d while Tanzania can only use 47 million cf/d at the moment, explained Dr. Mataragio.
According to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), Tanzania is currently planning to tap this surplus by building a gas export plant aiming at supplying the needs of the Asian markets after the local needs are covered and the electricity sector has become non-dependent of oil imports and unreliable hydropower plants.
At the current state, Tanzania can assure the generation of 500 MW of electricity but once the required gas power generators are completed the country’s electricity sector will run on its own, Dr. Mataragio added.
This will help the country to save up to USD 1 billion a year on oil imports for electricity generation according to the WSJ.
Tanzania recently raised its natural gas reserves from 46.5 trillion cubic feet in June, 2014 to 55 trillion cubic feet in June, 2015 due to a series of discoveries in offshore blocks.
However, the country has a potential natural gas reserves up to 441 trillion cubic feet solely in the coastal region, according to the US Geological Survey.