Tanzania to offer oil/gas exploration blocks in October

NAIROBI – Tanzania plans to offer seven deep offshore blocks and one onshore block in October for oil and gas exploration, state-run Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation (TPDC) said, in a region that has become a hotbed for gas discoveries.

TPDC said in an undated notice on its website that the round was a revival of an auction that was slated for September 2012 but then postponed as Tanzania formulated a new oil and gas policy.

Gas strikes off east Africa’s seaboard have led to predictions the region could become the world’s third-largest exporter of natural gas.

Tanzania, east Africa’s second-biggest economy, estimates it holds over 33 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of recoverable natural gas reserves.

London-listed BG Group and its partner Ophir Energy and Norway’s Statoil and partner ExxonMobil are the latest to strike to gas off Tanzania’s shores.

TPDC said the seven deep offshore blocks – Block 4/2A, Block 4/3A, Block 4/3B, Block 4/4A, Block 4/5B, Block 4/5A and Block 4/5B – have areas of approximately 3000 square km each and are located in waters up to 3,000 metres deep.

The regulator said another two offshore blocks – Block 4/1B and Block 4/1C – would be reserved for the government, which will later seek strategic partners.

The onshore block is North Lake Tanganyika, located on the Tanzanian side of Lake Tanganyika.

The round will be launched on October 25 and will run until May 15, 2014.(Reuters)