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Tanzania to construct more compressed natural gas stations in Dar

Tanzania to construct more compressed natural gas stations in DarPhoto: Daily News

By Joseph Mwamunyange

Tanzania plans to construct more compressed natural gas (CNG) stations in Dar es Salaam to provide cheaper, cleaner energy for more of its citizens. Tanzania, which has at least 57 trillion cubic feet of natural gas reserves, plans to commission a plant by 2025 to process as much as 11.1 trillion cubic feet.

The Ministry of Energy’s plan estimates that the East African nation can recover as much as 70 percent of the resource. It also projects total demand at 32.5 trillion cubic feet over three decades, with 8.8 trillion cubic feet going to power generation, according to a document handed to reporters in the commercial capital, Dar es Salaam.

Tanzania utilizes about 33 billion cubic feet each year to generate 711 megawatts of electricity, according to the document. The nation plans to export at least 3.1 trillion cubic feet of natural gas to East and Southern Africa in the 30 years through 2045 as global prices drop.

According to the Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation (TPDC), the project will be executed in three phases and will involve construction of 15 compressed natural gas stations in the country's commercial capital.

"This project hasn't taken off because of lack of funding. We have divided it into four main zones to simplify investment. TPDC is confident that the project will take off and more stations will be constructed," TPDC acting public relations manager Francis Lupokela told The EastAfrican.

TPDC also plans to undertake a feasibility study.

"The first study was done in 2012 and the locations for the stations were identified. However, TPDC faced financing challenges for the project."

Mr Lupokela added that TPDC had learnt from current projects implemented in Mikocheni, the CNG plant at Ubungo and from vehicles using both natural gas and normal gasoline. "The use of natural gas has decreased air pollution and curbed diseases caused by the use of charcoal," he said.

Many Tanzanians are heavily dependent on biomass, leading to the deforestation of 100,000 hectares per year, according to available data.

In 2012, The EastAfrican reported that Tanzania, through TPDC, was going to spend about $55.1 billion to connect homes, industries and institutions in Dar es Salaam to a natural gas system.

The plan was to set up three trunk pipelines of 65 kilometres and 15 CNG stations to meet demand. TPDC constructed a pipeline worth $2.8 million to the Mikocheni Light Industrial Area with take-offs at University of Dar es Salaam and Ardhi University.

This same pipeline now serves the 70 houses that are presently connected to the natural gas network, which TPDC now wants to expand to the rest of Dar es Salaam.

Minister for Energy and Minerals Sospeter Muhongo has been quoted saying the country aims to transform itself into a gas economy. He said this would involve increasing electricity production from the current 97kWh to 236kWh per capita by using natural gas effectively.
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