Tanzania: Fuelling Tanzania’s Future – the Transformative Power of Natural Gas

TANZANIA’S remarkable natural gas wealth has become a game-changer, propelling economic growth and improving the lives of its citizens.

With vast reserves scattered across the nation, the potential for economic prosperity and global influence is immense. This article takes readers on an exciting journey through the discovery, utilisation and challenges of Tanzania’s gas resources, highlighting its crucial role in the country’s development.

The article begins by introducing the significance of Tanzania’s gas reserves and their potential impact on the nation’s future. The discovery of natural gas in 1974 on the Island of Songo Songo opened doors for collaboration with international companies, leading to intensified exploration efforts and the development of gas transportation and processing projects. Today, Tanzania stands tall as a prominent producer of natural gas in East Africa.

The gas sector growth has significantly contributed to Tanzania’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and provided substantial employment opportunities. Its applications in households, industries, and electricity generation have revolutionised the way energy is utilised, leading to cost reductions and enhanced efficiency in various sectors.

While the opportunities are vast, the article acknowledges the challenges associated with gas extraction and utilisation, particularly regarding environmental and social impacts.

Responsible resource management, transparency and collaboration between the government and stakeholders are emphasised as crucial elements for ensuring the benefits of gas are shared equitably among the population and contribute to sustainable development.

The article sheds light on key gas projects in Tanzania, such as the Mtwara-Dar es Salaam Gas Pipeline Project, Songas Gas Processing Plant, Madimba Natural Gas Plant and the ambitious Tanzania LNG Project. These projects have increased gas accessibility, boosted energy supply, and attracted substantial investments, driving economic growth and improving infrastructure and social services.

On the part of the Madimba Natural Gas, a directing specialist, Engineer Emmanuel Mrosso revealed over the weekend, that production has now reached 110 million cubic feet per day, up from 45 million cubic feet in 2015 when it started.

“In total, since it began operations, the plant has produced 14.714 billion cubic feet of high-quality natural gas. There are strategies to compress it so that it can be transported to various places in the country and Tanzanians would get a home delivery service at affordable prices,” said Engineer Mrosso.

The government’s revenue generation through gas-related taxes and fees has enabled funding for development projects and public services, positively impacting the lives of citizens. Additionally, the gas sector’s growth has stimulated other economic sectors, such as industries, tourism, and transportation, further contributing to economic prosperity.

The overview makes more emphasis on the transformative power of Tanzania’s gas revolution, fuelling progress and prosperity across the nation. Responsible management and collective efforts are essential to ensure gas wealth benefits all citizens and contributes to sustainable development.

As the readers delve into this exploration of Tanzania’s gas journey, they are encouraged to recognise the potential for a greener, brighter future and embrace the opportunities that this valuable resource presents for the nation’s overall prosperity.

As Tanzania continues to harness its gas resources, it also embraces the importance of sustainable development and environmental conservation. The nation is mindful of the environmental impacts of gas extraction and is taking proactive steps to mitigate adverse effects.

Not only the Tanzania part but as we see on the Island Part on Zanzibar as they are pushing to the Blue Economy, they also took initiative to grab different steps, The opening of the 12 blocks is in line with President Hussein Mwinyi’s $2.4 billion plan to entice shipping, oil exploration, and seaweed processing.

In February 2022, President Mwinyi launched the five-year blueprint, which seeks to develop an oil and gas industry alongside efforts to boost its blue economy.

The opening of the 12 blocks also comes after a multinational company, Schlumberger, completed the assignment of processing oil and gas data that was presented to the Zanzibar government by the government of the United Republic of Tanzania.

Zanzibar Minister for Blue Economy and Fisheries, Mr Suleiman Masoud Makame said data processing and distribution of new blocks located in deep sea areas of eastern Unguja and Pemba, with a total of 12 blocks, have been completed.

“This is the first tender related to oil and gas exploration and extraction to be issued in Zanzibar, constituting issues stipulated in the sectors’ Five-Year Development Plan.

“The government now welcomes oil and gas exploration and extraction firms to visualise Zanzibar’s data and propose areas of interest for them to invest in before the commencement of the tendering process,” he said.

Earlier, Zanzibar entered into a contract with the UAE Company RAK Gas for oil exploration in the Pemba block, but the contract expired before the conclusion of the intended job, even after an extension of implementation time.

One of the significant challenges in the gas sector is the potential environmental impact of extraction activities. Gas exploration and production can disrupt natural habitats, leading to habitat loss for wildlife. To address this concern, Tanzania focused well on implementing sustainable practices that prioritise protection of biodiversity and ecosystems.

Another important aspect of environmental management in the gas sector is the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Although natural gas is a cleaner fossil fuel compared to coal and oil, its extraction, transportation, and processing can still result in emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas.

The Tanzanian government, in collaboration with gas companies, is committed to adopting technologies and techniques that minimise methane leaks and promote responsible gas flaring practices.

Tanzania is also looking into ways to integrate renewable energy sources into its energy mix. While gas plays a crucial role in electricity generation, the government recognises the long-term benefits of transitioning to renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, and hydroelectric power. Investments in renewable energy will not only diversify the energy sector but also reduce carbon emissions and contribute to global efforts in combating climate change.

As part of its environmental stewardship, Tanzania is collaborating with international organisations and environmental experts to develop and implement comprehensive environmental impact assessments (EIAs). These assessments ensure that gas projects adhere to strict environmental standards and take into account potential risks to ecosystems, wildlife, and local communities.

Community engagement and involvement are integral to Tanzania’s approach to gas exploration and extraction. The government is actively engaging with local communities to address their concerns and involve them in decision-making processes. This participatory approach ensures that the benefits of gas wealth are shared equitably and that communities are actively involved in shaping their sustainable future.

Tanzania’s gas revolution is a testament to the nation’s determination to harness its natural resources responsibly. The country’s commitment to sustainable development, environmental conservation and community involvement sets an example for other nations with valuable natural resources. As Tanzania continues to progress on its gas journey, it does so with a vision for a greener, brighter future for all its citizens.

As Tanzania’s gas revolution continues to unfold, the nation is not only looking at the present but also toward the future. Long-term planning and strategic visioning play a crucial role in maximising the benefits of gas resources and ensuring sustainable development.

One of the key elements of Tanzania’s long-term strategy is capacity building. The government is investing in education and training programmes to equip its citizens with the skills and knowledge needed to participate in the gas sector. By nurturing a skilled workforce, Tanzania aims to create a sustainable and inclusive gas industry that provides meaningful employment opportunities for its people.

Tanzania is also keen on diversifying its economy beyond gas. While the gas sector is instrumental in driving economic growth, the government recognises the importance of a well-rounded economy that relies on multiple sectors. By investing in industries such as agriculture, tourism and manufacturing, Tanzania can build resilience against fluctuations in global gas prices and promote balanced economic development.

In addition to economic diversification, the Tanzanian government is focusing on regional integration and trade. As a prominent gas producer in East Africa, Tanzania is exploring opportunities for gas exports to neighbouring countries. Regional collaboration can strengthen energy security and foster economic cooperation among neighbouring nations.

Furthermore, Tanzania is taking a proactive approach to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) in the gas sector. By providing a conducive business environment, including transparent regulations and investment incentives, the nation aims to attract more investors and expertise that can contribute to the sustainable growth of its gas industry.

The government’s commitment to transparency and good governance is a crucial aspect of its long-term strategy. By ensuring that gas revenues are managed efficiently and used for the benefit of the people, Tanzania is working to eradicate poverty and improve living standards across the nation.

Tanzania’s vision for the future also includes promoting research and innovation in the gas sector. By collaborating with universities, research institutions, and private companies, the nation aims to find innovative solutions to gas-related challenges and to capitalise on emerging opportunities in the energy market.

Natural gas has become a crucial resource in boosting Tanzania’s economy and bringing positive development in various sectors. Production and utilisation of gas have increased electricity access, fostered industrial growth, generated government revenue, and created job opportunities. The contribution of gas to the economy cannot be underestimated, as it has improved the lives of citizens and enabled sustainable development.

As we are running with the technology as fast as the water flows of the river currently there is a high need as the number of motorists using natural gas soars in Tanzania. The trend shows that the number of motorists switching from petrol to gas is increasing rapidly at the end of the month when Energy announces the price raise.