Tanzania leads region in natural gas discoveries

Friday May 10 2019

EAC deputy secretary general Christophe

EAC deputy secretary general Christophe Bazivamo. Photo| File. 

By Zephania Ubwani @ubwanizg3 news@tz.nationmedia.com

Arusha. With 57 trillion cubic feet of proven natural gas reserves, Tanzania is ahead of its partner states in the East African Community (EAC) bloc in gas discoveries.

The second largest economy in the region is trailed by far by Uganda where 500 billion cubic feet of gas has been discovered but not yet drilled like in Tanzania.

Rwanda has 63 billion cubic metres of methane gas while commercial reserves have been discovered in South Sudan, according to a senior EAC official.

“Reports at hand that exploration process had reached an advanced stage in Burundi with high prospects of major find,” said Christophe Bazivamo, the EAC deputy secretary general.

He revealed the state of oil and gas discoveries in the region in Mombasa on Wednesday at the start of the ninth edition East African Petroleum Conference and Exhibition (EAPCE 2019).

While drilling of oil in Uganda will start anytime after major find at Albertina Graben years ago, Kenya could make its first shipment of crude oil in September this year.

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Uganda and Kenya have proven 6.5 billion and 754 million barrels of oil respectively and will join South Sudan, currently the only oil producer in the region.

“Recent discoveries were very impressive”, Mr Bazivamo, the deputy SG in charge of Productive and Social Sectors told the three-day conference at a beach resort.

He said major oil and gas finds has made the region a perfect destination of major global firms in oil and gas drilling and prospecting.

“A few years ago, East Africa did not attract significant investments in the oil and gas sector but today the region has benefited a lot,” he said in a speech availed to The Citizen.

This, he said, has been largely propelled by advances in technology and management of exploration and production “which has led to he discovery of commercially viable oil and gas deposits”.

During the conference, Uganda launched its second open competitive licensing round in respect to petroleum exploration, development and production in Uganda.

The country’s minister for Energy and Mineral Development Ms Irene Mulonis said the launch follows the first licensing round through competitive bidding undetaken in 2017.