Tanzania to Review Gas-Drilling Deals

All contracts held by oil and gas exploration companies in Tanzania will be reviewed at the end of the year as the country revamps laws regulating the sector that has seen natural gas discoveries.

Tanzania says the overhaul of the Petroleum (Exploration and Production) Act 1980 is motivated by the need for the government to ensure that all contracts numbering over 20 serve the interest of the people by getting them better profit-sharing agreements.

Energy and mineral ministry permanent secretary Eriakamu Maswi says the government is also keen to see that the country’s state energy firm Tanzania Petroleum Development Corp (TPDC) plays a leading role in the projects.

TPDC under the new laws drafted in late 2012 and which will precede to a Natural Gas Utilization Master Plan and Natural Gas Act will share in management of exploration and infrastructure operations.

Among companies to be affected by a review include Statoil, Ophir Energy, ExxonMobil, Beach Energy, Total, Aminex, Orca and BG Group that have already struck oil in the country.

According to the U.S Geological Survey the region that stretches from Mozambique to Somalia could be holding up to 441 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of natural gas.

Tanzania already has delayed the licensing of nine deep sea and oil gas blocks as parliament works on the policy and joins countries in the region that have already reviewed their laws such as Uganda while others like Kenya have bills being drafted to change the decade old archaic laws.

Author: Samuel Kamau Mbote

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