By ORTON KIISHWEKO, 25th February 2011 @ 11:00, Total Comments: 0, Hits: 3468
DARK times for Tanzanians are expected to go down when an investment by Songas at the end of this year relieves them of the uncertainty of power crisis as a result of hydropower which is reliant on the weather.
The multibillion investment is expected to help Tanzania Electric Supply Company (TANESCO) add 200MW to the national grid when it increases gas production from the current 90 million cubic feet of gas daily to 140 million cubic feet.
In an interview in Dar es Salaam, the Songas managing director, Christopher Ford, told ‘Daily News on Saturday’ that the increment in gas production and transportation to Dar es Salaam from Songo Songo would help TANESCO to produce more 200MW at some of the gas powered stations at its building.
Songas currently produces 180MW, which is about a third of Tanzania’s electricity needs and has lately increased production from the current 70 million cubic feet of gas daily to 90 million cubic feet with the existing machinery.
But as the project comes to the rescue of the wananchi, Songas will have to go through the process of applying to Energy and Water Utility Regulatory Authority (EWURA) on tariff and give them a green light for the investment.
To cost 120 million US dollars, Mr Ford said they were currently involved in the finances and designs for the project and expect to start as the year comes to a close.
This would be a major leap that yet confirms the Parliamentary Energy and Minerals Committee’s position at a Dar es Salaam meeting with players in the gas sector on Friday that the resource would go far in easing power challenges in the country.
“This amount will facilitate production of more 200MW of electricity, which might go a long way in alleviating power shortages in the country,” said Mr Ford.
At the meeting yesterday, stakeholders also noted that they would have to double capacity of pipelines transporting gas to Dar es Salaam from Songo Songo as there is growing needs of the now reliable resource among consumers.
The Parliamentary Energy and Minerals Committee Chairperson, Mr January Makamba, said players in the industry are seeking for astute interventions to work out ways of positioning gas as central as the power needs for industrialists and ordinary consumers grow.
He said shortly after meeting players in the gas sector including Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation (TPDC), Energy and Water Utility Regulatory Authority (EWURA),SONGAS, ARTUMAS among other players in the industry, noting that it was an important resource to strengthen the country’s electric grid.
Mr Makamba said that as gas had become a central resource in the production of electricity, they moved to chart out a move to reassess the structure of the entire industry.
“It is prudent to re-look at this resource for the entire industry and power sector,” he said, adding, “if you look at our power needs, we largely use gas today.”
The Pan African Energy Company at the Songosongo plant which produces gas from five wells to transport to Dar es Salaam already has expectations to start drawing gas from a sixth well.
On Friday, Mr Makamba said gas is a resource which legislators feel, should be given significant attention also on grounds that available statistics indicate that Tanesco uses up to 70 per cent of its monthly revenue to buy electricity from Songas, which is contracted to supply 120MW to the national grid.
Among the structural changes of the industry the Committee is calling for, it on Friday asked for a written explanation from EWURA on how price gas quotations are arrived at.
“It is prudent as such details would help legislators come up with recommendations on Monday in consideration of how to reduce gas price for consumers,”said Makamba.
The Committee will use the details to arrive at suggestions on how local gas prices should be arrived at, in a move that legislators see as likely to be a boon for local consumers.
Gas deposits at Songosongo could last 20 to 25 years under current production levels and the goal of the Songo Songo Gas to Electricity project is to develop natural gas from the Songo Songo gas field in Kilwa District to provide Tanzanians with a reliable source of low cost electricity.
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