Tanzania is building a 532km (330mile) natural gas pipeline and processing plants in Dar es Salaam in a bid to reduce power shortages in the country. The KES 135.9bn ($1.33bn)project that has been largely financed by a Chinese loan, is part of a plan to add about 2,000 megawatts of new gas-fired electricity generating power by 2018 to increase Tanzania’s generating capacity to 10,000 MW by 2025.

 

Most new plants will be gas-fired but Tanzania also wants to use coal reserves and renewable resources such as wind and geothermal. The pipeline and gas processing plants will ensure availability of gas for electricity generation to power factories and for domestic use.

Moreover, expanding capacity will help meet domestic demand as the government connects more people to the national grid beyond the 40 per cent who are connected now, and offer the opportunity to export to neighbours.Tanzania estimates it has about 55 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of recoverable natural gas reserves off its southern coastline. Discoveries in Tanzanian have led to predictions that the region could become the world’s third-largest exporter of natural gas.

The government of Tanzania hopes to save around KES102bn ($1 billion) through switching to gas fired power plants a year in oil imports for electricity generation after the completion of the pipeline. The country will host a new cement plant owned by Nigerian businessman Aliko Dangote in southern Tanzania close to its natural gas fields. The factory would produce 3 million metric tonnes of cement a year, and cost $600 million to construct.

On the other hand, Kenya being the only manufacturer of gas cylinders in the East African Community region has drafted a policy document that would see households deviate from unsustainable options like firewood and charcoal to cleaner modern forms like Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG).

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