OIL and gas drilling rigs waste recycling plant, the first of its kind in East Africa with capacity to process 300 tonnes per month, is set for expansion this year.
Alpha Group Managing Director, Ganeshan Vedagiri and Assistant Waste Facility Manager, Mr Joseph Wandiba told Business Standard last weekend that the plant which employs over 100 people, will include warehouses, incinerators and waste handling equipment to meet growing demand.
Alpha Group is parent company of Supply Base Solutions Limited which operates the waste management facility.
Supply Base Solutions, lead by a team of experienced oil and gas and East African transport industry specialists, was formed to provide a knowledgeable, single window service for all aspects of oil, gas and mining industries covering logistics, transport and international clearing and forwarding among other things.
Mr Vedagiri said so far 2.5 million US dollars (over 4.2bn/-) has been invested while another 2.0 million US dollars (over 3.3bn/-) will be invested in the expansion exercise before the end of this year.
"The expansion is meant to enable us meet growing demand," Mr Vedagiri noted. Giving details of the intended new investment, Mr Wandiba said, "We started as a small company dealing with Statoil but now we are handling waste from more international oil companies (IOCs).
" Mr Wandiba said increasingly, the facility needs a big warehouse to store its waste materials upon receiving it from drilling rigs offshore and sorting them for recycling or destroying.
"Most of these waste products are from drilled holes offshore which are mostly sludge which is complicated to recycle," noted Wandiba.
The waste facility which is located at Mdenga village of Mtwara municipality close to port has several specialized equipment to process both household and drilling solid and liquid waste. The facility's specialized waste processing equipment includes sludge tanks farm, incinerator, balers and crushers.
"The tanks are used to store sludge from offshore drilled holes which normally contains oil, cuttings and water. We have separators which get water, oil and solid waste from rocks from the sludge," said Public Relations Officer, Geoffrey Kabenge.
Mr Kabenge further noted that after separation, the water is clean and goes back to drilling rigs offshore for reuse while waste oil is sold to steel manufacturers in Dar es Salaam and cuttings are bought by cement manufacturers.
"We throw away nothing at this facility, everything is either recycled or crush for use as raw material in manufacturing new products," Kabenge noted.
Household solid and liquid waste is also processed here with plastic and glass bottles crushed, wooden pellets and racks ground into saw dust used to manufacture boards and other materials.
The IOCs which use the facility are backing up the project saying waste from drill rigs offshore is difficult to dispose of, hence needs specialized facilities.
"When we entered Tanzania, we recognised this as an issue for the management of waste generated by our operations in the Mtwara port and, with other oil and gas companies operating out of the port, took steps to develop a solution.
We contracted Supply Base Solutions and identified IVE Design, a specialist environmental consultancy, to provide technical support," wrote BG Tanzania in a recent statement.
BG Group, Statoil and other IOCs supported the setting up of the waste segregation and recycling facility get outlets for recycled materials including steel bar and cement manufacturers.
The Nature Group was also contracted to provide processing light liquid waste generated on rigs and drill cuttings system. "Their Compact Treatment Unit separates water from oily waste and so minimises the volume of waste to be incinerated," the BG Tanzania statement added.
Established by IVE, Mdenga is the only registered waste treatment site in Tanzania, and deals with all oil and gas companies waste. The SBS plans to extend its facilities to Kenya, Mozambique, Uganda and Ethiopia.