REVENUES accrued from natural gas in the past ten years from July 2004 to June 2014 amounted to 265 million US dollars (about 425bn/-), with the country saving over six billion dollars (about 10tri/-) through the use of the energy to produce electricity instead of imported fuel.
Installed capacity of natural gas-fired power generation plants currently stands at 562.5mw but the country is currently only utilising 411.5mw.
The new source generates over 40 per cent of electricity that is pumped in the national grid. "During the period, 5.9 billion US dollars (over 9tri/-) was saved from using natural gas in generating electricity as opposed to costly imported fuel while 521 million dollars (834bn/-) was accrued from industries," according to Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation (TPDC) Director of Downstream Operations, Eng. Joyce Kisamo.
Tanzania has so far discovered 50.5 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of the energy, out of which 42.5 tcf of gas fields are in the deep sea while the remaining 8 tcf are onshore. Discoveries have so far been made in the three regions of Lindi, Mtwara and Coast.
Eng. Kisamo made the revelation over the weekend during a one-day seminar with journalists in Bagamoyo District, Coast Region, which was organised by TPDC to create awareness on developments that have been registered in the energy subsector.
She went on to explain that the corporation was in the process to identify different areas for natural gas industrial parks where natural gas consuming industries will be constructed.
"We aim to simplify provision of natural gas by setting up necessary infrastructure for supply of the energy to different industries by providing common facilities in the industrial park aimed at reduced projects costs," Eng. Kisamo noted.
Production of ammonia and urea fertilisers by using natural gas for local and export purposes where local need is currently at 835,000 metric tonnes per annum is also on TPDC drawing board as the country seeks to make optimal use of the resource.
Eng. Kisamo also revealed that TPDC is in the final stages to procure a strategic investor to implement the ambitious project, which is anticipated to boost agricultural production through provision of local and cheap fertiliser.
According to the TPDC executive, massive discoveries of natural gas in offshore and onshore gas fields warrant construction of a Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) plant for export.
She, however, cautioned that whereas public expectations are high from development of projects like the LNG plant, the public ought to understand that such projects take between seven and 10 years to become operational.
In another development, Eng. Kisamo said the corporation has engaged a consultant to conduct a feasibility study for natural gas utilisation in Lindi and Mtwara regions.
According to the official, an inception report has been completed and submitted to TPDC. Final report is expected in November 2014.
The study will include environmental and social impact assessment. After feasibility study stage, Eng. Kisamo explained, a contractor will be procured for implementation of the project that seeks to benefit residents of the two gas-rich regions.