Dar es Salaam, Tanzania — 21 June 2012 – The government of Tanzania has nearly tripled its estimate of recoverable natural gas reserves to 28.74 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) from 10 trillion, and plans to introduce new legislation later this year to regulate the gas industry.
Reuters reports that the government raised its estimate after huge recent discoveries in the East African country’s deep-water offshore region.
Energy and minerals minister Sospeter Muhongo said in a statement sent to Reuters that the recoverable gas reserves were estimated at 20.97Tcf offshore and 4.27 to 7.77Tcf onshore.
“Deep-water offshore oil and gas exploration is a very expensive undertaking. It is important to ensure that this gas and oil exploration momentum continues, and that the government will give a bigger push for companies to proceed,’ Muhongo added.
The minister said the latest gas reserve estimates took into account last week’s discovery by Norwegian oil firm Statoil and ExxonMobil of a big gas deposit off Tanzania at the Lavani well, with an estimated 3Tcf of gas.
The discovery confirms East Africa’s status as one of the world’s fastest-growing gas hubs.
The U.S. Geological Survey estimates that 253Tcf may lie off Tanzania, Kenya and Mozambique, relatively close to Asia’s lucrative liquefied natural gas (LNG) markets.
Muhongo said the government had so far granted 28 licences to some 19 companies to explore for gas and oil. “Some of the world’s biggest oil and gas exploration companies are in the country for the exploration work,” he revealed.
“Exploration at the offshore, deep-water region is moving at a fast speed,” he declared. There are currently five oil and gas exploration rigs operating in the country.”
Other companies licensed to search in Tanzania include the UK’s BG Group, Ophir Energy, Royal Dutch Shell, Irish exploration firm Aminex Plc and Brazil’s Petrobras.
The minister went on to say that the government was preparing rules for overseeing an energy sector, which he expected to drive the Tanzanian economy.
“Our expectation is that the legislation and master plan should be in place by October 2012.”
Source: Reuters Africa. For more information, click here.