UK, Norway and Brazil explore for gas in Tanzania's Mtwara
Tanzania has the potential to produce the world-class gas energy with value equivalent to that of oil market revenue, Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation minister Bernard Membe has said.
He made the remarks during a tour in the Mtwara Region on which he was accompanied by Henry Bellingham, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (also known as the UK’s Minister for Africa), and Norway’s Foreign Affairs deputy minister in Norway, Erik Lahnstein. Also on the tour were Tanzanian’s High Commissioner to the UK, Peter Kallaghe, Norwegian Ambassador Ingunn Klepvisk, and British High Commissioner Diane Corner.
In Mtwara, Membe said the initial gas exploration in Mtwara Region was conducted by various companies from the UK, Norway and Brazil with initial results showing presence of gas energy reserves that could be exploited on a commercial basis.
“The exploitation of gas in Mtwara Region has not yet started. What has so far taken place is exploration of the natural resource through drilling in order to establish the quantity available before actual exploitation begins,” he noted.
Membe explained that the beginning of actual exploitation of the gas would mean major expansion and general improvement at Mtwara Port to enable the facility to cater for the needs of gas exploitation firms and the outbound trade to follow.
The gas drilling project is being implemented by British firms BG and Ophir Energy, the Africa-focused upstream oil gas company, which Bellingham commended as “reputable and world class companies in the UK”.
The British minister said the projects have been strategically researched and the gas found in Mtwara Region has the potential to be resourceful throughout Tanzania and significantly profitable when trading worldwide.
Lahnstein meanwhile said that his government would continue with efforts to strengthen and consolidate relations between Tanzania and Norway, adding: “We are committed to not only bringing experts who have specialised knowledge in drilling but also to educating and training Tanzanian nationals in this field.”
He described piracy as one of the biggest challenges faced by Indian Ocean zone nations and his country has been in touch with Tanzania on ways to combat it.
Membe said the war on piracy is a priority in Tanzania as well, adding: “We want all pirates to be prosecuted fully and conclusively when caught because they are criminals and their criminal actions should not be treated lightly.”