DAR ES SALAAM: Tanzania, which is sitting on natural gas reserves estimated at double Europe’s annual demand, wants the country’s future liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals to be built onshore to benefit the domestic economy, its energy minister said.
Tanzania and its southern neighbour, Mozambique, are locked in a race to be first to export gas from Africa’s eastern seaboard after huge discoveries offshore recently that could transform their struggling economies.
Both face hurdles. Tanzania has yet to finalise its natural gas policy, while debate rumbles on over how much gas should be sold to foreign investors and how much left for domestic consumption in a country historically dogged by power outages.
Britain’s BG Group and Ophir Energy have been at the forefront of exploration in Tanzania, while energy majors Exxon Mobil and Statoil have also found gas. BG and Statoil said in March they planned to build a $10bn LNG terminal.
“No LNG plant will be built offshore. We have rejected those proposals,” Sospeter Muhongo, Tanzania’s energy and minerals minister, said yesterday in an interview. Muhongo said Statoil and BG were expected to submit proposals for a plant soon.
Natural gas is the fastest-growing fossil fuel and the region’s proximity to Asia’s major LNG consumers makes its reserves attractive to energy majors.