EDITORIAL: Increase negotiation pace for LNG project

Thursday May 16 2019

Tanzania has already discovered natural gas reserves estimated at 57 trillion cubic feet (tcf) which largely remain undeveloped, untapped.

As it is, the government is already engaging potential investors in negotiations which, upon reaching agreement, would result in an investment decision for the proposed $30 billion liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant.

However, the negotiations are taking overly long to conclude – although the government says that the talks would be concluded in September this year. This is good news indeed.

It is understood that Mozambique next-door, for example, is already progressing well with its Rovuma LNG project negotiations.

Just this week, ExxonMobil Corp. reported that its development plan for the Rovuma LNG plant has already been approved by the government, with the company’s final investment decision expected later this year.

Tanzania has no reason to further delay development of the envisaged LNG plant – especially considering that the country’s natural resources-related regulatory frameworks are already in place, and that the project will have a positive impact on the economy.

Unquestionably, the project will create jobs for Tanzanians, and business opportunities for local entrepreneurs during and after the project’s construction.

The project will also play a positive role in the country’s foreign direct investment performance, and to the economy in general.

It is estimated that just starting work on the plant would add another two percentage points to Tanzania’s annual economic growth, which currently averages at seven per cent.

All these factors confirm that the LNG project is important to the economy, and its completion is bound to deliver the expectations of Tanzanians from the natural gas sub-sector.

So, there are good reasons for expediting and concluding the negotiations soonest so as to pave the way for implementing the LNG export terminal project.