5 November 2012

Tanzania: Arusha Oil, Gas Meet Should Focus On Devt


The subject of more discoveries of oil continue to dominate headlines once again. This comes in the wake of the forthcoming 6th East African Petroleum Conference & Exhibition to take place in Arusha from February 6-8, 2013 at the Arusha International Conference Center.

It will be an interesting conference following last week's announcement in Nairobi, that Tullow Group, the biggest player in Uganda's exploration industry and with a major presence in other African countries, had discovered another well in Kenya's northern region of Turkana.

The company last week said it had discovered more oil deposits at Twiga South-1 exploration well, located on Block 13T in in the region.

Two weeks ago, Uganda's Ministry of Energy's Petroleum Exploration Department was reviewing a number of contracts after some oil well licences had expired.

Recently, more discoveries were made in the Albertine Graben, an oil rich region in the western part of Uganda bordering lake Albert that stretches for over 500km from the North West to South Western Uganda.

Uganda exploration has yielded oil reserves that have now been established at 3.5 billion barrels with recoverable quantities of nearly 1.2 billion barrels.

Tanzania, the region's gas king is also on the drawing board with several strategies. In September, state-run Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation (TPDC) delayed a licensing round for nine deep-sea oil and gas blocks previously set for this month until a parliamentary vote on a new gas policy in October.

Tanzania is updating their laws on the oil sector, the current laws having been written in the 1950s, to ensure that the revenue is shared equitably and used for development.

Petroleum is such an asset that it has turned some economies around in the countries it has been discovered. It has also created turmoil in other countries as a result of poor governance.

This is the governance that Uganda and Tanzania are anxious to put in place so that these East African nations do not suffer either the 'Dutch Disease' or the 'Resources Curse'.

We need roads, hospitals, schools, new technological innovations and development initiatives.

After 50 years of independence with all the transcendant troubles we went through, can the region now focus on development and bringing a better livelihood to its people?

As we prepare for the Arusha conference let's focus on the people of the EAC.

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