Norwegian Ambassador to Tanzania Ingunn Klepsvik has cautioned that oil and oil explorations in Tanzania could occasion conflicts as it has done in many countries across the world.
Speaking soon after signing an agreement between three universities of Tanzania, Angola and Norway here yesterday, the envoy said oil discoveries in most countries had led to upheavals.
She noted that countries in the south of the Sahara should embrace those experiences as a stepping stone and make oil and gas discoveries as a blessing rather than a curse.
Klepsvik called on the two countries—Tanzania and Angola -- to make use of the five-year agreement to create enough experts in the emerging industry in the region.
Records of 2012 showed Norway was the world’s fifth largest oil exporter, whose petroleum industry accounted for a quarter of its GDP -- ranked the highest in human development in 2011.
Norway is the largest gas producer of the OECD Europe countries, and most of its gas is exported to the European Union (EU). Norway has a natural gas supply per capita of 1.13, among the highest in the OECD Europe countries (6th).
Being the largest gas producer in OECD Europe, Norway does not import any gas (it is estimated though that in 2010 Norway imported 6 million m3 of gas in Liquefied natural gas or LNG form. It is claimed that Norway does not have underground gas storage facilities.
The advice from the Norwegian diplomat comes at amid raging conflict between the government and Mtwara and Lindi regions yet unknown gas proceeds – but the residents are calling for what they call a fair share from the gas discovered from their areas.
In the latest agreement, Tanzanian and Angolan universities are the beneficiaries of the Norwegian technological transfer deal, under which the two African countries will be sending students pursuing advanced degree courses on oil and gas petroleum geosciences.
The three countries will be working in one umbrella known as the Angolan, Norwegian and Tanzanian Higher Education Initiative (ANTHEI) -- meant to promote academic and cultural ties between the parties.
“This new deal plays an imperative role to Tanzania’s gas and oil industry … it is in high demand of local experts in this area,” said Adam Zuberi, from Tanzania’s Ministry of Energy and Minerals.
Modestus Lumato, an engineer with the Tanzania Petroleum Development Cooperation (TPDC), commended Norway for its support to Sub-Saharan Africa including Tanzania.
He said Norway, one of the highly developed countries in oil and gas, had been working with Tanzania for years.
“This new deal is an evident that Norway is a true partner in socio-economic development,” engineer Lomato said, adding that the new cooperation will make Tanzania and Angola generate more professionals in oil and gas.
The official was optimistic that by 2015 the number of local experts in oil and gas could rise significantly, pointing out that Tanzanian students were already in the Scandinavian country pursuing studies in that field.
Prof. Makenya Maboko, acting Vice Chancellor of the University of Dar es Salaam said the cooperation dubbed “Arusha Protocol” formalizes the teamwork between the three universities to provide higher level education in oil and gas.
“This agreement comes at an opportune time when Tanzania witnesses big discoveries of natural resources and growing prospects for discovery of oil.
“We in the higher education sector charged with the responsibility of training high level manpower for this nation find ourselves suddenly challenged to provide answers for questions until recently seemed farfetched and almost irrelevant,” Prof. Maboko said.
He revealed that UDSM’s department of geology and chemistry had been instructed to develop curricular in the areas of oil and gas that will save the needs of the emerging industry.
“Eventually we aim to develop a one-stop centre that is well equipped to provide training, research and consulting services for oil and gas industry in the country and the region,” Prof. Maboko stated.
He also noted that Tanzania will learn a lot from Angola, taking into account that the country has started exploring oil many years ago.
The signing agreement was signed by Prof. Maboko on behalf of Tanzania, Prof. Doutor Orlando da Mata of University of Augustino Neto signed on behalf of Angola and Norway was sealed by Prof. Torbjorn Digernes, rector at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU).