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Article Guardian sur gaz en Tanzanie

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http://www.ippmedia.com/ipp/guardian/2008/12/18/128364.html


Future energy prospects brighter with natural gas deposits

2008-12-18 11:21:32
By Frank Mwaisumbe


Energy development and access are two aspects of the same coin aptly indicating the level of human progress achieved in any society.

Exploitation of natural gas deposits have for the past century helped Europe, USA and Canada to aggressively power their economies ahead.

As a perfect alternative to unreliable hydro-power stations, discovery of natural gas in any part of tropical Africa is often regarded as a great economic fortune.

Unfortunately for Tanzania, development of natural gas fields, first in Songo Songo island off the coast of Mtwara in southern Tanzania began from the wrong concept of `privatisation`.

Across the board, energy privatisation programs have hardly proved successful in many places, much so on the promised goal of achieving lower consumer prices.

When Songas, the gas-to-electricity generator took over operations, we initially thought that running costs would be kept at the minimum so as to guarantee affordable rates to final power consumers.

The contrary has been the case. Songas energy is expensive and management has even attempted several times to make it even more dear by applying for increased rates to Energy and Water Regulatory Authority (Ewura), fortunately in vain.

Over the last four years, electricity prices have gone up in tremendously, while power supply and reliability is grossly inefficient.

As part of a well directed solution, the government has for long now hatched the idea of trying to set apart power generation and distribution roles at Tanzania Electric Supply Company (Tanesco), though the idea was again taking the course of privatisation.

This may not be enough to guarantee for efficiency and quality of service unless the government puts up a mechanism for controlling and monitoring overheads.

Any marginal (extra) cost floor can easily be manipulated to produce some any desirable results over the longer run considerations, much so by improving infrastructure for gas transportation and power generation.

Crude estimates show that Tanzania would save up to USD6 billion by 2024 through efficient exploitation of country\'s huge natural gas reserves.

Today, Songo Songo?s reserves are estimated at one trillion cubic feet with a potential to produce gas for about twenty years from its five producing wells - three offshore and two on Songo Songo island.

In addition, there are other offshore basins with the same or greater reserve potential, according to several international O&G companies.

Some real developments are however, equally encouraging. The Mnazi bay gas-to-power project developer Arthumas Group for instance, is upbeat that envisaged construction of cement factory in Mtwara region will soon be completed, as it also anticipates to export surplus power to neighbouring Mozambique.

These and many other prospects are good things to come in the future, thanks for the availability of natural gas deposits in Tanzania.
Share your thoughts!

Mr. Frank Mwaisumbe is a business and economics expert.
mwaisumbe.frank@gmail.com
0717-599937

SOURCE: Guardian

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