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New gas exploration to boost Tanzanian power

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Dar es Salaam, Tanzania — ESI-AFRICA.COM — 18 October 2011 – Orca Exploration Group “’ an international public company engaged in hydrocarbon exploration, development and supply of natural gas in Tanzania “’ has significantly increased its supply of natural gas from Songo Songo island off southern Tanzania in the Indian Ocean to Dar es Salaam from 37 to 57 million cubic feet per day (MMcfd).

The increase in natural gas supply is expected to boost companies that generate electricity using gas, and thereby help to reduce power shortages in Tanzania, reports all-Africa.com.

Orca chairman and CEO David Lyons told the East African Business Week that 84% (48MMcfd) is sold directly to power generating firms compared to 30MMcfd in 2010.

Lyons revealed that Orca was committed to invest more capital in natural gas exploration and development to ensure that it delivered up to 200MMcfd from its Songo Songo licence.

Currently the Tanzanian economy is facing an energy shortage of some 200 to 300 megawatts (MW) of power due to drought that has depleted hydroelectric dams which supply over 500MW to the national grid.

To accelerate the delivery of increased gas volumes to Dar es Salaam, the government, through Ministry of Energy and Minerals, has pledged to invest over US$935 million in new processing plants in the Mtwara and Lindi regions and a new gas pipeline to Dar es Salaam.

Energy and minerals minister William Ngeleja said 530km pipeline from Mnazi Bay to Dar es Salaam via Kilwa would be constructed starting next month, thanks to a US$1 billion loan from China’s Exim Bank.

Last week President Jakaya Kikwete directed government to act quickly and responsibly to tackle the energy crisis.

“We are in a bad state, but I don’t see any urgency and swiftness in making decisions and taking other measures on availability of power and on other facilities for generating of power,” he said.