Tanzania is likely to gain from gas and oil resources if it prudently addresses challenges of managing these resources.
This was said yesterday in Dar es Salaam by the Deputy Minister for Energy and Minerals, George Simbachawene, when opening a two-day oil and gas conference and exhibitions. The conference which ends today has been organized by the Ministry of Energy and Minerals in collaboration with the Institution of Engineers Tanzania (IET), UDSM through the department of chemical and mining engineering, Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation (TPDC) and the Energy and Water Utilities Regulatory Authority (EWURA).
Simbachawene said the present generation is expected to be vigilant to learn from the pitfalls of other countries so that resources do not become a curse to them or for the future generations.
“It is my belief that the conference will enrich participants with different but useful ideas, knowledge and experience in oil and gas resources, which will put vital contribution to efficient and effective exploration in a sustainable way for the betterment of the present and future generations,” he said.
He said Tanzania has recently discovered large amount of natural gas approximating 33 trillion standard cubic feet which make her stand poised to become a major player in the industry at global level.
According to TPDC, about 61 wells have so far been drilled in Tanzania both offshore and onshore during the past 60 years.
“If properly managed, the current resources discoveries can revolutionise the economy and the spill off effects will be felt widely and broadly provided that oil and gas revenues are efficiently and effectively used to enhance social – economic development of the country,” he added.
However, he cautioned that such discoveries would not be a blessing without challenges which should not be taken for granted. “We must recognize, face and overcome impending challenges such as; insufficient institutions to manage the sector and legal frameworks as well as insufficient human, financial, physical and related resources for the sub sector,” he said.
Minister Simbachawene said recent gas discoveries in Tanzanian deep sea and oil discovery in the neighboring East African countries have certainly increased hopes and potential prospects for the oil and gas industry in the country.
For his part, the UDSM Vice Chancellor Prof Rwekaza Mukandala said already the varsity has started to address the challenges which might stand still the development of oil and gas industry.
He said they have established various courses at the University which would train Tanzanian on how to manage the resources.
However, he cautioned that more efforts are needed to address other challenges especially the legal framework, for once that challenge is addressed the industry will then change the economy as expected to.
This year’s conference which is held for the first time, had three objectives namely; creating a forum for stakeholders to deliberate and influence the status, prospects and development of the oil and gas industry, be a benchmarking policy, legal, regulatory and institutional frameworks guiding the oil and gas sector.
Some of the papers to be presented in the meeting include; petroleum and gas policy in Tanzania, roles of TPDC in Tanzania petroleum industry, planning and public private partnership in gas and oil industry, petroleum prospecting technology and status of exploration in Tanzania.
Others are Tanzania natural gas development, utilization and contribution to the economy, role of local research and development capacity in the development of the sector in Tanzania and standardization and quality assurance with respect to oil and gas industry, promote awareness of the potential of oil and gas in development of the country.
More than 300 local and foreign participants from private sector, public, oil companies, members of Parliament, businessmen and ordinary people are attending the conference.