PRESIDENT Jakaya Kikwete launched on Thursday the construction of Mnazi Bay and Songosongo Natural Gas processing plant and a transportation pipeline. He directed Tanzania Electric Supply Company (Tanesco) to start building the power processing plants.
In his speech during the event, before laying the foundation stone at Kinyerezi construction site, President Kikwete said that Tanesco should start building the power plants at designated centres, so that when the project is completed (in 18 months), production of the 840 megawatts starts. "Construction of the power plants should go parallel with laying of the gas pipelines because waiting until the project is completed will delay production of electricity," President Kikwete said.
President Kikwete told members of the public, who braved a sudden downpour to witness the historic event, that once the project starts electricity production, the country will have a surplus that could be sold to neighbouring countries. He explained that 2,750 megawatts will be produced at the station, once the project is in operation. He added that currently the country has capacity to produce 1,438 megawatts of electricity, while daily consumption levels stand at 900 megawatts.
The president noted that by 2015 the country's demand for electricity will be 2,780 megawatts."This project will have a capacity of producing nearly 3,000 megawatts of electricity, making power rationing history in the country. The project will also give us a surplus that we can sell to neighbouring countries," he explained.
Apart from gas, President Kikwete explained that the country is endowed with many other natural resources that can be used to generate power including coal, renewable energy such as wind, geothermal, solar and uranium. President Kikwete joked that his regime has no interest of manufacturing bombs using the uranium but only to generate electricity. "Once we have local capacity in future, we will use the expertise to generate electricity using uranium.
"I have no interest in making bombs ... at least not in my regime," he joked noting that Tanzania is blessed with natural resources, the only problem is finances.He noted that the natural gas will also be used to manufacture fertilizers, such as phosphate, ammonia, urea and potash. "I have also directed TPDC to look for an investor to run Kilwa Amonia Plant project," he added.
The Minister for Energy and Minerals, Prof. Sospeter Muhongo, noted that the construction of the project is being funded by a soft loan from Exim-Bank in China in the tune of 1.9trl/-. He assured Tanzanians that there will not be power rationing again, noting that for yesterday only, natural gas had produced 54.8 per cent of electricity, fuel 29.8 per cent and hydropower generation 15.4 per cent.
Prof. Muhongo noted that once the project is completed, it will place Tanzanians among people living in the 21st century, where there are no problems of power.The Chinese Ambassador to Tanzania, Mr Lu Youging, said that the 532- kilometre pipeline is among the biggest projects his government is running in African countries.
Mr Youging noted that China, which is the second largest economy after United States of America (USA), has US 50 billion dollars invested in Africa and for Tanzania, a total of 300 Chinese companies are investing to the tune of one billion US dollars.The China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) Vice-President, Li Xinhua, assured the government that the project will adhere to quality standards and environmental requirements.
"We will prove to everyone that Tanzania made the right choice in choosing CNPC to run the projects," Mr Xinhua stressed.The project is jointly undertaken by a unit of CNPC called China National Petroleum Corp and the state run Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation (TPDC).