Tanzanian President, Jakaya Kikwete, has announced his government’s intention to establish a sovereign wealth fund (SWF) to protect Tanzania’s future gas production revenues.
In June, ExxonMobil, Statoil, BG Group and Ophir Energy, made large gas discoveries in the southern parts of the east African nation, leaving its estimated recoverable gas reserves at 28.9 trillion cubic feet.
According to reports, President Kikwete said: “Since 1954, some 61 wells have been drilled. Out of those, natural gas was found in 22 wells … We haven’t been lucky yet to find oil but we have discovered gas in both onshore and offshore areas.”
“Offshore oil and gas exploration started in 2004 with just one company but we now have 18 companies. Gas exploration has escalated since the first gas discovery in 2010 … I believe that a lot more gas will be discovered,” the President added.
Tanzania is not the first African country to consider the SWF fence ringing option for energy revenue. In 2011, Ghana established an Act creating two SWFs, while its west African counterpart, Nigeria, plans to inaugurate its $600 million Eurobond by December.
The increase in Tanzania’s gas reserves would contribute to a boost in power generation and the construction of fertilizer plants in the country. According to the World Bank, Tanzania’s gas exports could contribute an additional $3 billion to its foreign revenue.
Tanzania is east Africa’s second-largest economy, and has a population of 43 million people.