CONSTRUCTION of the 6.2-kilometre natural gas pipeline from Ubungo to Mikocheni that would supply gas for domestic and industrial use is expected to end next month, it has been disclosed.
The Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation's (TPDC) Board of Directors was on Wednesday told that the project, which is expected to ease the power bill burden on consumers, has been accomplished by 80 per cent so far and that it would be ready by July 24, this year.
A local construction firm, BQ Contractors Limited, is undertaking the 4.5bn/- project in joint venture with UK's Excellium Construction Ltd. The plan entails laying of a 315 millimetre pipes to distribute gas from the compressed natural gas (CNG) station at Ubungo to Mikocheni.
BQ Contractors' Managing Director, Mr John Bura, told the TPDC Board led by its chair, Mr Michael Mwanda, that completion of the task was delayed by poor underground infrastructure along the route and delays in delivery of materials. "Most of materials for this project are imported from different suppliers and some of them delivered the items rather belatedly," Mr Bura said.
The project started in August, last year, and was expected to be completed by January, this year, according to the Project Manager, Eng. Emmanuel Gilbert. After its completion, 57 housing units within TPDC estate in Mikocheni and six industries in Mikocheni Light Industries Area in the city would be connected to the gas pipeline.
At present, there are 13 houses which are supplied with natural gas from a compressed natural gas (CNG) plant at Mikocheni.
"This pilot project started in 2009 and response from customers is impressive. One can just use 25,000/- a month for cooking," Eng. Gilbert said.
Serena Hotel Dar es Salaam as well as other 35 industries in the city are currently using natural gas as a source of energy for cooking, central cooling and industrial production. "Serena saves about 25m/- each month by using natural gas for cooking and its central cooling system. It would have spent the said amount to pay for electricity if it weren't using gas," said the TPDC expert.
He said the corporation has continued to receive applications from industries and individuals to be connected to the gas distribution network. "Other areas earmarked to benefit include University of Dar es Salaam, Ardhi University, a petrol station at Mwenge in addition to the Tanzania People's Defence Forces (TPDF) Lugalo Barracks and Sinza," he explained.
Eng. Gilbert further hinted that after the completion of the undergoing project, next to be connected would be the ministers' residences in Mikocheni as well as police estate along Kilwa Road. Tanzania boasts of 20 trillion cubic feet of proven and recoverable natural gas. Probable reserves stand at 27 trillion cubic feet whereas daily consumption is about 101 million standard cubic feet.
Since the country discovered natural gas in 2004, the government has saved over two million US dollars (over 3bn/-) from importation of fuel used to run generators. Natural gas generates 416 megawatts to the national grid, accounting for 35 per cent of all the electricity produced in the country.