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Energy ministry orders collection of views on gas policy stopped

28th November 2012
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Off shore gas drilling in Tanzania. (File photo)

The Ministry of Energy and Minerals has cancelled views collection on the proposed national gas policy draft in two regions that was scheduled to take place today.

A press statement issued by the Ministry in Dar es Salaam yesterday did not give reasons on the cancellation but said the exercise that has been on for weeks now, would continue in the rest of the regions as planned.

The statement mentioned the regions where the exercise has been cancelled as Mwanza and Kigoma saying work would proceeds as planned in Dar es Salaam and Coast regions.

“We would like to inform the public that due to unavoidable reasons we are not going to collect views in those regions,” the statement said adding that a similar exercise will be carried out today and tomorrow in Dar es Salaam and Coast regions.

The work to collect views from the former two regions will be carried out later on, the statement added.

It said a similar exercise for the rest of the regions would be carried out after the Ministry has issued the timetable.

Mid this month, the Ministry said the views collection work would start in eleven regions namely Mtwara, Tanga, Dodoma, Mbeya, Lindi, Arusha, Morogoro, Mwanza, Coast, Dar es Salaam and Kigoma.

Some stakeholders will be required to air their views through other means such as email and letters, the statement had said.

“We expect to complete this exercise at the end of this month and all stakeholders are requested to send their comments before the deadline,” Permanent Secretary Eliakim Maswi was quoted in the statement as saying.

It said Tanzania has been exploring oil and gas for more than half a century, where the first natural gas discovery was made at Songo Songo Island in 1974 followed by another at Mnazi Bay in 1982.

Commercial production of natural gas at both Songo Songo Island and Mnazi Bay commenced in 2004 and 2006 respectively.

These developments have created more challenges to the government to manage the fast growing natural gas industry.

The challenges include policy, legal and institutional frameworks to manage the industry more effectively, human resources with requisite skills and knowledge, natural gas infrastructure, development of domestic market and managing export markets, and revenue collection.

In pursuit of realising significant developments and addressing the challenges in the natural gas industry, the government is formulating a natural gas policy to provide comprehensive frameworks for guiding development of the industry so as to ensure optimal benefits to the nation, the stament said.

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN