FLORENCE, ITALY—Tanzania’s oil and gas sector is open for business and following a raft of offshore gas discoveries in the past few years, opportunities abound.

That was the message delivered by Dr. James Mataragio, director general of the Tanzania Petroleum Development Corp. at the GE 2015 Annual Meeting in Florence.

Oil and gas players have the opportunity to farm in to existing E&P licences, while services associated with a planned giant LNG project would be at a premium, he said. He called on firms to form joint ventures with local businesses in Tanzania to tap into the potential to service oil and gas companies operating in the region.

Mataragio said that plans for an onshore LNG plant to develop deep offshore gas resources were progressing.

“The government is currently looking for the land to buy for the plant. We welcome businesses to come and invest in the petroleum opportunities associated with LNG,” he added.

Tanzania has discovered gas volumes of 1.5 Tcm (53.2 Tcf) as of December 2014, with a big chunk of the discoveries in the deep offshore. There also is vast untapped potential in the country’s 534,000sq km (206,179 sq miles) of sedimentary basins including 114,000 sq km (44,016 sq miles) inland and in the Modern Rift System; 280,000sq km (108,109 sq miles) of coastal and continental shelf basin and 140,000sq km (54,054 sq miles) of deep sea basins.

“Most of these basins are underexplored so we invite companies to come and work in Tanzania,” Mataragio said.

Some 85 wells have been drilled so far in the country of which 17 are discoveries (12 offshore, five onshore), 27 were dry wells and 22 are appraisal wells. One well is currently being drilled.

In terms of gas projects already online, the Songo Songo scheme went into commercial operation in 2004. The project sends gas from the Songo Songo discovery to a processing plant with capacity to process between 1.98 MMcm/d (70 MMcf/d) and 2.97 MMcm/d (105 MMcf/d). A 12-in. pipeline runs 25 km (15 miles) from Songo Songo Island to Somangafungu onshore, with a 207 km (129 miles) 16-in. pipeline transporting the gas from Somangafungu to the Ubongu power plant in the Tanzanian capital, Dar es Salaam.

Gas also was discovered in Mnazi Bay in 1982 and commercial production began in 2006. The processing plant has a capacity of 283 Mcm/d (10 MMcf/d), but current demand is between 42 Mcm/d (1.5 MMcf/d) and 57 Mcm/d (2MMcf/d). Gas is sent in a 27-km (17-mile), 8-in. pipeline from Mnazi Bay to Mtwara.

A new project to transport gas from Mtwara to Dar es Salaam is currently underway.

“We have two processing plants that are being built right now. The two combined plants will process about 350 MMcf/d [10 MMcm/d] of gas and it will be sent 487 km[303 miles] in a 46-inch pipeline,” Mataragio said. “Those two plants are now 98% completed and we expect commissioning of the project in March and we hope that by June gas will arrive in Dar es Salaam.”

Once completed, the pipeline will have capacity to transport 22 MMcm/d (784 MMcf/d) without compression and 28 MMcm/d (1,002 MMcf/d) with compression. The amount of gas expected to be transported in the next 20 years will be just 12% of the current discoveries in Mnazi Bay.

“Tanzania wishes to use the abundant natural gas discovered as an alternative source of revenue to help improve the economic prosperity of the people of Tanzania,” Tanzania’s Minister of Energy and Minerals George Simbachawene told delegates. “The Tanzanian vision seeks to ensure a high quality of life for all Tanzanians. Modern energy will be one of the important pillars of socio economic transformation.”

Source: E&P Magazine