Tanzania and its oil industry partners are to invest $30bn in a gas processing plant that will lead to an "economic revolution", according to the country’s energy minister.
Sospeter Muhongo, speaking to the Dar es Salaam Daily News, said the government had already embarked on the preliminary work and that Tanzanians should expect rapid growth to begin in a few years.
The Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation (TPDC) will develop the project over a 40-month period along with a consortium of oil companies including BG Group (now owned by Royal Dutch Shell), Statoil, Exxon Mobil and UK-based independent Ophir Energy.
Modestus Lumato, TPDC’s principal petroleum engineer, told Construction Review Africa that the environmental impact assessment was scheduled to commence soon and would be carried out alongside the formulation of a Development Report Induction Plan.
The plant will be built in the southeastern Lindi administrative region. Most of Tanzania’s gas reserves are located in deep sea fields off its coast, although an onshore field was found in February, near Dar es Salaam. Â
Altogether, the country has estimated reserves of 1.6 trillion cubic metres, putting it 22nd between Egypt and Libya in the world rankings.
Mr Muhongo asked the public to remain calm as the government continued to set plans for the megaproject. He said it was "likely to take many years because it needed huge amounts of money, high skilled and experienced personnel as well as good supervision".
He added: "I can tell you today that in the few coming years, Lindi and Mtwara will be the country’s economic hub. All investors are eying them because of gas and other resources."
Alongside the gas plant, the government is planning a $1.9bn fertiliser plant, which it says will provide jobs for more than 5,000 Tanzanians.
As well as the purification and liquefaction plant, the government will construct about 200km of gas pipes.
Image: Waiting for a revolution – Lindi, Tanzania as it is now (picture courtesy of africatravelresource.com)