Tanzania is a blessed country with natural resources which could make any developing country green with envy and the discovery of natural gas is one example of the richness of the country.
For UK based gas specialist Eng. Teddy Chungu, the success of the ongoing construction of a natural gas distribution pipeline for compressed natural gas (CNG) from Ubungo to Mikocheni by the Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation (TPDC) will only be pronounced when gas flows into the distribution pipeline and residents of Mikocheni are able to utilise natural gas for domestic and industrial purposes.
According to the international gas specialist, 57 houses at Mikocheni will soon be lit with natural gas. Ultimately, we will see industries at the Mikocheni Light Industrial Area use natural gas to power their boilers.
Eng. Chungu says, "This will be a success - It will be a signal that all parties involved are committed to tap into the country's virgin natural gas reserves." True to his word, the mega natural gas distribution project undertaken by main contractor, BQ Contractors Limited in a joint venture with UK based Excellium Construction Limited is near completion courtesy of the quality partnership between the client and the contractor.
And the involvement of experts like engineer Chungu has incredibly proved credible in the transfer of knowledge and technology to local work-force but mainly underlined on BQ's enterprising experience as a trusted partner in the expanding fuel and gas industry.
With expectations running high on the achievements made by natural gas exploration companies, Eng. Chungu feels that the discovery of virgin gas reserves in the country is an enormous stimulant to economic development in Tanzania.
While natural gas is set to become a major source of energy and fuel, the engineer notes that Tanzania has the ability to export natural gas to other countries, especially to Europe which is currently experiencing depreciating reserves.
Nevertheless, working under the mentorship of Project Manager and the Managing Director of BQ Contractors Limited Eng. John Bura, the specialist is widely fascinated with the way the project has progressed.
His experience with working with local construction companies, especially BQ has particularly offered him a chance to explore the professionally rich industry. The mechanical engineer who brought in his vast experience in fluid mechanics is confident that all stakeholders including the main contractor in this maiden government funded natural gas project, BQ Contractors Limited, are enormously benefiting from this experience, a situation that would be instrumental in future gas projects.
He says: "The many challenges in the implementation of the on-going project will be instrumental in fine-tuning our operational activities in the coming natural gas distribution projects. Especially BQ Contractors will be more experienced in smooth implementation of any gas project in the future."
He continues, "Apart from establishing safe working methods at BQ Contractors Limited, the on-going transfer of knowledge and technology to the BQ Staff is a great achievement. BQ Contractors Limited is today endowed with a well trained team when it comes to setting up of natural gas installation infrastructure.
The company is today rich in experienced butt fusion and electro-fusion welders. All this including the employment of directional drilling machinery offers the company an added advantage at international levels."
He says the entire team including the client will have grown with the project especially now that natural gas industry holds a great future for Tanzania's economic development, with the end result being improving people's living standards.
Eng. Chungu notes: "It is, however, worth noting that the natural gas industry has its own benefits and risks and therefore it was imperative people are sensitised on both aspects. It is also important the government formulates standards and regulations that will fruitfully govern the transportation, installation and use of natural gas within Tanzania."
The engineer points out that it was equally important for local natural gas professionals to employ not only initiative but patience and strict adherence to set procedures: "Gas projects require a lot of patience and individual initiative in adhering to set objectives and procedures. It was important all stakeholders worked cautiously and never ever try to rush things."
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. BQ Contractors' Managing Director, Mr John Bura, told the TPDC Board led by its chair, Mr Michael Mwanda, that completion has been 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.