Overview of Gas Exploration and Production in Tanzania

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By June 2018, the Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation (TPDC) had awarded 9 exploration licences to eight operating oil and gas companies. [1] 10 years ago the number of exploration licenses peaked at 26. [2] By September 2018, a total of 89 deep exploration wells had been drilled.[3]. Besides the 9 explorations licenses, TPDC awarded 3 development licenses to PanAfrican Energy (Songo Songo), Maurel et Prom (Mnazi Bay) and Ndovu Resources (Kiliwani North). The biggest discoveries of natural gas have so far been made in deep water off-shore blocks where the BG Group in partnership with Ophir Energy, and Statoil in co-operation with ExxonMobil, have since 2010 discovered recoverable gas resources totalling 25 to 30 trillion cubic feet.[4] Natural gas production has so far been confined to two gas fields of Songo-Songo and Mnazi Bay. [5]

Natural Gas Exploration

By September 2018, Tanzania’s gas exploration blocks were licensed as follows (according to operators): [6] [7]

Exploring Companies Block
Afren/ Petrodel Tanga Basin
Dodsal Ruvu Basin
Equinor/ExxonMobil Block 2
Heritage Oil Rukwa Basin
Ndovu Resources Ruvuma
Shell/Ophir Block 1
Block 4
Swala Kilosa-Kilombero

Natural Gas Production

Tanzania’s existing gas producing fields are small and it took decades for them to begin commercial production due to infrastructural problems, lack of a local market and the impracticability of export-related production because of limited reserves.[8]The Songo-Songo field, which is operated by Pan African Energy, is currently run at production levels of up to 110 million cubic feet per day (mmcf/d) and is planned to reach 200mmcf/d upon completion of the Songas Expansion Project[9] The field has been in production since 2004. It provides gas to generate a significant proportion of Tanzania’s electricity. Its gas is used by a number of industrial and commercial customers in Dar es Salaam.[10] The Mnazi Bay field began delivering gas in January 2007 through a 17-mile pipeline to the 12 MW Mtwara electric power station.[11] It is currently operated by Maurel et Prom in partnership with Wentworth Resources and the TPDC.[12] On 12 September 2014, the partners signed a Gas Sales Agreement with the Tanzania government to deliver up to 138 mmcf/d of natural gas from the Mnazi Bay concession to a new government-owned Mtwara-Dar es Salaam Gas Pipeline.The Mtwara-Dar es Salaam Gas Pipeline was commissioned in October 2015 and has the capacity to transport 737.39 mmcf/d. A report by the Controller and Auditor General however highlighted that the pipeline only transported 44.61 mmcf/d on average in the fiscal year 2015/16. The initial projection was that the pipeline would transport 138.8 mmcf/d on average but that requires sufficient power plants to consume the gas. [13]

K640 Activity Map, June-2018.JPG


  1. License Status”, “TPDC”, retrieved 06 September 2018.
  2. ”[www.thecitizen.co.tz/magazine/Reasons-behind-decline-in-gas-exploration-revealed/1840564-4648698-6jpy6iz/index.html Reasons behind decline in gas exploration revealed]”, “The Citizen”, retrieved 06 September 2018.
  3. Status of deep wells”, “Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation”, retrieved 06 September 2018.
  4. Tanzania”, “U.S. Energy Information Administration”, retrieved 05 December 2014.
  5. Natural Gas”, “Energy and Water Utilities Regulatory Authority” , retrieved 05 December 2014.
  6. Exploration Activity”, “Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation”, retrieved 05 December 2014.
  7. 2015 - 2016 Tanzania EITI Report”, “TEITI”, retrieved 06 September 2018.
  8. The Deloitte Guide to Oil and Gas in East Africa”, “Deloitte”, retrieved 05 December 2014.
  9. Production”, “Pan African Energy”, retrieved 06 September 2018.
  10. The Deloitte Guide to Oil and Gas in East Africa”, “Deloitte”, retrieved 05 December 2014.
  11. 2008 International Petroleum Encyclopedia”, “Pennwell Corporation”, retrieved 05 December 2014.
  12. The Deloitte Guide to Oil and Gas in East Africa”, “Deloitte”, retrieved 05 December 2014.
  13. SPECIAL REPORT : Repaying $1bn loan may be difficult, govt told”, The Citizen, retrieved 19 August 2018.