Ophir which is an oil and gas company wants to manage the port in a deal of its kind as reports say foreign companies are scrambling to get hold of a stake at the country naturally deepest harbour.
Some of the foreign companies seeking to construct and operate part of the port under a build operate and transfer arrangement are Bandari oil, Alistair Group and Dangote Cement Industries.
Port sources said that TPA management and Ophir have been meeting to discuss the modalities of a user agreement and negotiations are ongoing.
“The deal is being forged and sessions have been held on the issue,” senior level managers at the Mtwara port who sought anonymity, said.
The port is a natural deep water harbour linked to a spatial project to develop the Ruvuma Basin which is shared by Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia and Mozambique called the Mtwara Development Corridor.
Ophir has proposed to use about 100m of the port’s quay; to develop 2,000 sq metres of land adjacent to the perimeter wall to build a storage facility for its steel tubulars; to use a shed within the port’s complex for the provision of material storage, office and workshop facilities; upgrading the fuel supply facilities; installation of lighted navigational markers and; upgrading of port lighting and provision of a long term expansion plan.
Press reports quoted Mtwara municipal director, Jarvis Simbeye as saying that indeed Ophir have shown interest to operate the port which Bandari Oil, a company formed by several oil and gas exploring companies, is also interested in.
Recently Ophir Energy’s General Manager, Jeff Clarke invited public views on his firm’s bid to operate the port at which he also said that his company has also commissioned the mandatory Environmental and Social Impact Assessment.
“Ophir Energy intends to upgrade the port of Mtwara to create the infrastructure to support its offshore deep water drilling activities. The project will use an area of about 100m quay,” he said.