Traces of oil at Mnazi Bay in Tanzania

Jun 26, 2007 02:00 AM

The Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation and Artumas Group have discovered traces of crude oil while prospecting for natural gas at the Mnazi Bay gas field in Mtwara Region.
The crude oil (or liquid hydrocarbons) was discovered during well-drilling operations at the field, TPDC Managing Director Yona Killaghane announced in Dar es Salaam.

“In the course of gas exploration, we discovered a small quantity of crude oil. We managed to get 90 barrels during 50 days of production testing at three oil wells,” he explained.
Tests at the three wells have proved that the Mnazi Bay project has great potential for large reserves of natural gas and liquid hydrocarbons, he noted.

He said preliminary specifications of the liquids produced from the production-testing operations range from 25 to 27 degrees by American Petroleum Institute standards (API), which is normally associated with the existence of crude oil reserves.
“The liquids were very clear and looked like a condensate but their density and volatility made them similar to crude oil, with a longer chain of hydrocarbons than applies to condensates,” Killaghane noted.

He said there have been traces of crude oil liquids in other parts of the world that were not black, pointing to the absence of asphaltenes, long chains of hydrocarbons and impurities in the oil.
“The crude oil found at Mnazi Bay wells may explain the clear, light colour of the liquids being produced from the production testing,” he added.

Artumas Group acting Managing Director Salvatory Ntomola said they were undertaking a programme of laboratory testing to better understand the nature of the liquid hydrocarbons produced at the Mnazi Bay wells.
“The objective is to determine whether they are being sourced from a separate liquid phase in the reservoir (separate from the gas phase) or whether they are in fact a very heavy condensate that is separating from the gas phase,” he pointed out.

The Commissioner of Energy at the Energy and Minerals ministry, BashirMrindoko, said Artumas last year “successfully completed” the first phase of a project that generates power using gas from Mnazi Bay field. The power generated is more reliable because of continuity of fuel supply from natural gas, he observed.
Meanwhile, the government is understood to be finalising arrangements to allow Artumas to build, own and operate the power system for Mtwara and Lindi. It would take over from the state-owned Tanzania Electric Supply Company (Tanesco), according to the commissioner.

Source / Guardian
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