Natural gas
processing facility
at Songo Songo Island
 
Nairobi, Kenya — ESI-AFRICA.COM — 20 May 2011 – The Irish oil and gas explorer Aminex plc is aiming to start pumping natural gas from its Tanzanian offshore Nyuni block by the first quarter of 2012, according to a senior company executive.

An Aminex unit, Ndovu Resources, operates the Nyuni block on behalf of other shareholders. Their production-sharing agreement covers the Kiliwani North field, which was discovered in 2008 and tested at a flow rate of 40 million cubic feet per day.

The company says the field has reserves of 45 billion cubic feet, with a likely recovery factor of 73 to 83%.

Tanzania, East Africa’s second-largest economy, is heavily reliant on hydro-electric power. Power outages are common, and the government hopes its natural gas deposits will ease the frequent blackouts that are slowing economic growth.

In April, the Tanzanian government gave Aminex a development licence for a pipeline from the field to a processing plant at the Songo Songo Island field off the country’s coast.

Songo Songo’s deposits “’ 490.2 billion cubic feet of proven and probable gas “’ are already used by Tanzanian firm Songas Limited to generate electricity, and it supplies some of the gas to 35 industrial customers in Dar es Salaam.

Aminex exploration director Michael Rego told Reuters in an interview that engineering studies and commercial talks for the sale of the gas were underway.

“The engineering studies are underway. We are getting ready to sign the contracts for the pipeline construction; and we are having ongoing commercial negotiations for the sale of the gas,” Rego said on the sidelines of an east African oil and gas conference in the Kenyan capital.

"We are hoping to construct a pipeline to the Songas plant. The plan is that first gas will be in production by the first quarter of 2012, maybe even the end of this year, if we can accelerate the project,” he added.

There has been increased interest in exploration in Tanzania and the rest of East Africa following a gas discovery in Tanzania and an oil find in Uganda.