Tanzania is seeking US partnership to extract newly discovered natural gas resources in a push to boost the region’s next economic boom.

Sospeter Muhongo, Tanzania’s Minister of Energy and Minerals met with officials from Texan gas company – Houston Natural Gas seeking to turn its relationship with the US into a partnership, instead of being dependent on its aid.

The energy minister told FuelFix, Houston’s energy news source “We need both human capital and the institutional knowledge to go into the gas economy. This is very new to us.”

Tanzania has been of particular interest to US government policy makers and energy companies, when large deposits of natural gas were discovered offshore by BG Group and Ophir Energy as well as by Exxon Mobil and Statoil in 2010.

In order to harness the potential 50.5 trillion cubic feet of gas in the country’s reservoirs, Tanzania requires significant investment in infrastructure, capital and human resources, to realise the economic benefit for the Tanzanian economy.  The Government of Tanzania is working with U.S. officials and international companies to build infrastructure and meet the legal requirements to enable gas projects to move forward.

The country’s first natural gas pipeline is expected to be complete connecting natural gas fields in Dar es Salaam.

Muhongo said “This pipeline is the lifeline for Tanzania.”

When the project is complete, “The pipeline project will allow for expanded generation by gas-fired power plants and could provide evidence of success to help larger investments move forward”, said Mark Henstridge, an economist with Oxford Policy Management Limited.

General Electric is working to supply four Houston manufactured gas turbines for a 152 MW natural gas-fired power plant in Kinyerezi, in the Ilala district of the Dar es Salaam.

Jay Ireland, President and CEO of GE Africa said “I think that when you look at Africa in general, and in Tanzania, it’s a continued growth.”

“The ability to use the gas as fuel for power generation which will kickstart the economy, is absolutely key.”

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