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New gas exploration to boost Tanzania power

17 October 2011 (Source: East Africa Business Week)

DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania -- ORCA Exploration Group, the main supplier of natural gas, has significantly increased supply of natural gas to from Songo Songo island in southern Tanzania's Indian Ocean to Dar es Salaam power generation, from 37 million cubic feet per day (MMcfd) to 57 (MMcfd).  

The increase, according to Orca, is due to the re-rating of gas processing facilities on Songo Songo Islands.

The increase in natural gas supply is expected to boost companies that generate electricity using gas, and thereby help to reduce power shortages.

Orca chairman and Chief Executive Officer, David Lyons told the East African Business Week that 84%  (48MMcfd) is sold directly to power generating firms compared to 30 MMcfd in 2010.
 Lyons said Orca was committed to invest more capital in natural gas exploration and development to ensure that it delivers up to 200 MMcfd from its Songo Songo licence.

"These are exciting times," said the CEO, adding: "The proposed infrastructure developments in Tanzania are exactly what is required to alleviate the energy shortages and Orca is committed to fully play its part," said Lyons.

 Currently the economy is facing an energy shortage of some 200-300 MW power due to drought that has depleted hydroelectric dams which supply over 500MW to the national grid.  
Following the increase in gas supply, the Tanzania Electric Supply Company Limited (Tanesco) in a statement last week that rationing has worsened recently.

To accelerate the delivery of increased gas volumes to Dar es Salaam, the Government through Ministry of Energy and Minerals has pledged to invest over Tshs 1.6 trillion (US$935.67 million) in a new gas pipeline and processing plants in Mtwara and Lindi regions to Dar es Salaam.

The Minister for Energy and Minerals, William Ngeleja said over 530 kilometres pipeline from Mnazi Bay to Dar es Salaam via Kilwa will be constructed starting next month thanks to a $1.0 billion loans from China's Exim Bank.  

Last week President Jakaya Kikwete directed Government to act quickly and responsibly to tackle the energy crisis.

"We are in a bad state, but I don't see any urgency and swiftness in making decisions and other measures on availability of power and other facilities for generating of power," he said, adding that: "We cannot remain indecisive in taking measures of lifting the country out of these challenges."