M a r k e t N e w s

Tanzania: Experimental Oil Drilling to Start Soon in Rukwa

Posted on : Thursday, 20th November 2014

HERITAGE Rukwa Tanzania is set to start drilling its first experimental oil well in Tanzania's Rukwa Rift Basin after successful completion of exploration in the area, the National Assembly was told on Tuesday.

Deputy Minister for Energy and Minerals, Mr Charles Kitwanga said this in Parliament on Tuesday when responding to a question by Mbozi West Member of Parliament, Mr David Silinde. "Oil drilling in Lake Rukwa is scheduled to start any time soon. How are the people living around Lake Rukwa benefitted from the oil exploration project in the area?" he asked.
According to the deputy minister who is responsible for energy, preliminary exploration of oil on both the offshore and onshore of the Lake started in December 2012 through March 2013.
He said during the entire oil explorations in the area villagers surrounding the Lake were not affected. "The company offered opportunities to residents near the project area to participate in various activities, creating about 628 employments. About 79m/- was spent in paying salaries and other allowances to employees and part time staff," he said.
In addition, the company had also helped in the improvement of health service delivery through its health lab located in Maleza village. "Heritage Rukwa Tanzania has continued providing medicines and other reagents across various village dispensaries in the project area," he said.
However, the minister said there have been a number of training and symposium that were held to facilitate villagers in the area to grasp various opportunities associated with oil extraction in the area.
Even then the minister said the company also helped to train fish men in the Lake to effectively undertake their business and to improve their livelihood.
But the government statement contradicts with media reports made early this year that the independent oil and gas exploration and production firm had relinquished its Rukwa North Licence after initial data suggested that the field may not have enough deposits.
Initial interpretation of 2D seismic data -- gathered in the first quarter last year over Rukwa licences -- has shown that the principal prospectively lies in the Rukwa South licence. Heritage announced to complete a geochemical survey of the Kyela licence and a drilling programme across the licence was planned for this year and next year.
Exploration activities are on the increase including places like Tanga region. Already, on the gas front, the country's natural gas deposits are now estimated at 53 trillion cubic feet (TCF). 1 Tcf is equivalent to 180 million barrels of oil.
A total of 17 companies, including BG, Ophir, Statoil and ExxonMobil, are operating 25 licences on behalf of TPDC through Production Sharing Agreements (PSAs).
Mid this year, Statoil and ExxonMobil announced to have discovered more 2-3 TCF in the Piri-1 well in Block 2 offshore Tanzania, making the total of inplace volumes up to approximately 20 TCF in the Block.

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