Natural gas usage doubles as demand looms


THE Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation (TPDC ) is currently working out strategies to increase natural gas supply for industrial use ahead of anticipated soaring demand.

This comes when the demand for gas has doubled from 145 million standard cubic feet per day (mmscfd) last year to 300mmcfd to date.

The gas demand is increas ing on the back of country’s grand ambition plan of industrializing the nation based on two folds—electric generation and cheap energy source for industries—and stakeholders have started to call for addressing supply issue five years ahead of critical demand.

The TPDC acting Managing Director Kapuulya Musomba said at the moment gas supply was ahead of demand but working on meeting the need as per industrialisation drive.

“The supply at the moment is good. We can pump 300million cubic foot a day from Mnazi Bay and Songo Songo. The supply will be boosted further when gas from another field in Mtwara comes in…,” Mr Musomba told the ‘Daily News’ yesterday.

TPDC, tasked for distribution of gas, currently is working into a study to map out the gas requirement across the country—especially in the Coast Region—to be ready in this fiscal year.

“The study will determine the industrial demand and open gates for how much to be increasing to meet supply and sourcing funds to upgrade pumping facilities,” Mr Musomba said.

He said meantime before completion of the study they are supply gas in an ad hock plan when the need arises. “The industrial are in Coast Region is growing rapidly. This is an area where we will supply gas in an ad hock situation,” He said.

For instance in the next two weeks, TPDC would join 12 factories in Coast Region with natural gas—among them Bakhresa juice plant, steel rolling firm among others in Mkuranga District.

After supplying Coast industrial area the pipeline will be extended to Bagamoyo then Tanga. However, experts in natu ral gas industry are figuring that given the government ambition to industrialise the nation, gas demand will surge to historical high in the next five years.

To start addressing the issue, late last month, the government approved Orca Exploration—through its subsidiary Pan Africa Energy (PAET)— to double their additional gas supply to 185mmscfd from 90mmcfd.

PAET Deputy Managing Director Andrew Hanna said going by government projection to industrialize, the nation should start addressing supply issue before demand overtake it in the next five years. “If the industry demand is real, it is time to discuss the future,” Mr Hanna said.

The firm said Dar es Salaam is the region gas hub and at the moment suppliers are meeting domestic demand. The region’s needs is yet to be met. PAET Country Chairman Patrick Rutabanzibwa said they have extracted some onethird of gas reserve in Songo Songo in the last 13 years.

The area has some 1.0trillion standard cubic feet. “We shouldn’t worry about gas depleting rather challenges from renewable energy,” Mr Rutabanzibwa said. At moment PAET supplies gas to 37 factories in Dar es Salaam and envisage the demand will increase as Coast region is set to become an industrial hub.

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