Tanzania’s natural gas reserves are estimated at 57 trillion cubic feet with a total annual production of 110 billion cubic feet from three fields: Songo Songo, Mnazi Bay, and Kiliwani North.
Tanzania Natural Gas History
Tanzania has been exploring for natural gas for more than 50 years. The first natural gas discovery in Tanzania was made in 1974 on the Songo Songo Island (Lindi Region) followed by a second discovery at the Mnazi Bay (Mtwara Region) in 1982.
Natural gas was discovered both offshore and onshore at the Songo Songo Island, while the gas discovery at Mnazi Bay was only offshore.
The natural gas from Songo Songo was first commercialized in 2004 and the gas from Mnazi Bay in 2006.
The commercialization of the two discoveries propelled further gas exploration in Tanzania both onshore and offshore.
Since 2010, Tanzania has witnessed further natural gas discoveries with the latest estimated natural gas reserves (2016) of 57 trillion cubic feet.
Tanzania Upstream Natural Gas Activities
A total of 67 wells for both exploration and development were drilled between 1952 and 2013, of which 53 wells are in onshore basins and 14 in the offshore basins.
Tanzania’s natural gas annual production increased from 5.2 billion cubic feet in 2006 to 110 billion cubic feet in 2017, all of which destined for domestic consumption.
Natural gas is produced from three sources in Tanzania: Songo Songo, Mnazi Bay, and Kiliwani North.
Tanzania Songo Songo Gas Field
The field is located on and offshore Songo Songo island, about 15 km from the mainland and 200 km south of Dar es Salaam.
Orca Energy is the operator of the Songo Songo gas wells and gas processing plant. Total proved and probable reserves stand at 293 billion cubic feet, while the productive capacity of the wells is approximately 165 million standard cubic feet per day.
Kiliwani North Gas Field
The field is adjacent to the Songo Songo field and is being operated by Aminex. Total gas resources are estimated at 31 billion cubic feet.
In 2016, the average production at Kiliwani North stood at 15 million cubic feet per day.
Mnazi Bay Gas Field
The field is located onshore southern Tanzania (Mtwara region), approximately 410 km south of Dar es Salaam, covering an area of 756 km2.
The Mnazi Bay asset is operated by Maurel and Prom (M&P) (48.06%) with the Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation (TPDC) (20%), and Wentworth Resources (31.94%) as joint venture partners.
Total proved gas reserves at Mnazi Bay stand at 290 billion standard cubic feet. In 2019, gas production was 70 million cubic feet per day.
Tanzania Liquefied Natural Gas Project (TLNGP)
The Tanzania Liquefied Natural Gas Project (TLNGP), is a planned liquefied natural gas processing plant to be located on the Indian Ocean, opposite Tanzania’s main offshore gas exploration sites.
The Ministry of Energy of Tanzania first announced its intention to develop an LNG plant in Tanzania in 2014.
However, in 2019 Tanzania suspended talks with the foreign investors to pave the way for a review of the country’s production sharing agreement (PSA) regime ordered by the late President John Magufuli.
In April 2021, President Samia Suluhu Hassan stressed the need to expedite the project. A new negotiating team has been appointed in January 2022.
And in June 2022, the Ministry of Energy of Tanzania and TPDC signed a framework agreement with Equinor and Shell to pave the way for the construction of the LNG export terminal.
Finally, in March 2023, the Minister of Energy of Tanzania Hon. January Makamba announced that the negotiations on the LNG project with Shell and Equinor have been completed and agreements are being drafted.
Tanzania Mid and Downstream Natural Gas Activities
The Energy and Water Regulatory Authority (EWURA) is responsible for regulating midstream and downstream natural gas activities that include processing, transportation, storage, and distribution of natural gas in mainland Tanzania.
Midstream and downstream natural gas activities in Tanzania are being carried out by four companies: TPDC, Songas, Pan African Energy Tanzania (PAET), and Maurel & Prom (M&P).
These companies supply gas to Tanzania’s power plants for electricity generation.
Tanzania Gas Power Plants
Natural gas from the Songo Songo island and from Mnazi Bay is used to generate power. There are six gas power plants operating in Tanzania including the Ubungo I and II gas plants, the Somanga, Mtwara, and Kinyerezi gas plants.
Ubungo I Gas Plant
The Ubungo I gas plant, located in Ubungo, Dar es Salaam, is using locally available Songo Songo natural gas as a source of fuel.
The plant is installed with twelve generating units each with a capacity of 8.73 MW totaling an installed capacity of 104 MW.
The plant is owned by the Tanzania Electric Supply Company (TANESCO) and operated by Songas.
Ubungo II Gas Plant
The Ubungo II gas plant, also located in Ubungo, Dar es Salaam, uses natural gas that comes from Mtwara via the TPDC gas pipelines.
The plant has three turbines, two of which have a capacity of 43 MW and one with 35 MW. The total installed capacity is 121 MW.
The plant is owned and operated by TANESCO, while the gas is obtained by Songas.
Somanga Gas Plant
The plant is located in Somanga in the Lindi region and uses natural gas as a source of fuel that comes from the Songo Songo Island.
The Somanga plant has three generating units with a capacity of 2.5 MW each, totaling 7.5 MW.
The plant is owned and operated by TANESCO.
Mtwara Gas Plant
The plant is located in Mtwara and uses natural gas from the Mnazi Bay gas wells in Mtwara.
The Mtwara gas plant has nine generating units each with a capacity of 2 MW making a total installed capacity of 18 MW.
The plant is owned and operated by TANESCO.
Kinyerezi I and II Gas Plants
The plants are located in the Ilala district of Dar es Salaam and use natural gas from the Mnazi Bay gas wells in Mtwara.
Kinyerezi I has an installed capacity of 150 MW, consisting of two 40 MW turbines and two 35 MW turbines. Kinyerazi II has a total installed capacity of 240 MW.
Both plants are owned and operated by TANESCO.
Tanzania Gas Infrastructure
In 2012, Tanzania signed a contract with three Chinese companies to start construction of a 542-km pipeline leading from Mtwara to the country’s capital Dar es Salaam to transports natural gas from the Mnazi Bay gas field.
The project was financed by a Chinese loan as well as grants from the World Bank (USD 300 million) and the African Development Bank (USD 200 million).
The development of the Mtwara-Dar es Salaam gas pipeline included the construction of Madimba Processing Centre, which is operated by state-run Gas Supply Company Limited (GASCO) and that in June 2015 received its first delivery of natural gas for commissioning purposes.
The pipeline and processing plant are part of the Government’s program to add a total 10,000 MW of generation capacity by the year 2025 up from the 1,500 MW in 2015.
The aim is to reduce dependency on hydropower, representing 31% of Tanzania’s power generation and whose capacity has been affected by recurring droughts that are hitting the country.
Tanzania Gas Legal Framework
The key instruments governing oil & gas operations in Tanzania include the Petroleum Act 1980, National Energy Policy 2003, Petroleum Act 2008, National Natural Gas Policy 2013, and Petroleum Act 2015.
As included in Tanzania’s Natural Gas Policy from 2013, the country aims at achieving a competitive natural gas industry contributing significantly to broad-based growth and socio-economic transformation of Tanzania.
Latest Update: 8th March 2023
Sources: Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Globeleq, Orca Energy, Tanzania Electric Supply Company (TANESCO), Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation (TPDC), Wentworth Resources.