AFRICANGLOBE – Tanzania has launched an ambitious plan to gain the maximum benefit from its natural gas resource, including its use in the production of electricity.
Through the plan, the country hopes to lift its electricity production from the current 97kWh to 236kWh per capita once it goes into full gas production.
According to Minister for Energy and Minerals Sospeter Muhongo, the government, together with donors and investors, is already helping train local people who will help oversee the process.
A skilled workforce is seen as critical to the plan. The government through the ministry is paying for the training of Tanzanians from technician to doctorate levels within the country as well as in China, Norway and UK.
Prof Muhongo said by transforming itself into a gas economy, the country’s power availability per capita would greatly improve. He cited South Africa, which by using gas has managed to bring its power per capita to more than 500kWh.
“Tanzania cannot lift itself out of poverty at the current rate of electricity availability. That is why we are targeting 236kWh, which is still below that of South Africa but would ultimately translate into a better life for most Tanzanians,” said the minister.
He said increased production of electricity would accelerate rural electrification and help raise the number of Tanzanians using electricity from the current 21 per cent to 30 per cent in three years’ time.
Tanzania has proven gas resources standing at 43.1 trillion cubic feet and is currently laying a second pipeline to transport gas from Mtwara to Dar es Salaam to supplement the one from Songo Songo Island.
According to Prof Muhongo, the completion of the second pipeline, with a bigger diameter, will boost the country’s drive to become a gas economy with reliable power and reduced costs of production.
Visiting geologist and expert in the field of oil and gas from the UK, Antony Wyatt of Robert Gordon University Aberdeen, said for the country to attain its goal, it has to invest in infrastructure.
BG Tanzania, a gas exploration company, is supporting efforts by Tanzania to train locals so that they can work in the gas sector.
By: Joseph Mwamunyange