Building of gas power plant on course

Saturday September 27 2014

Engineers inspect the Songo Songo gas plant in Tanzania. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

The Tanzanian government hopes to complete the construction of gas-fired power plants and 500km gas pipeline in December to address shortage of power supply.

According to officials from the Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation, 70 per cent of the Mnazi Bay and Songo Songo natural gas processing plants and a transportation pipeline have been completed.

Infrastructure at the Mnazi Bay and Songo Songo, which will see a combined 244 million cubic feet of gas delivered per day will result in generation of 900MW of power by December this year and would progress to generate an estimated 3000MW of power next year.

READ: Dar eyes natural gas to generate electricity

The project also involves the ongoing laying of a 500 kilometre pipeline of between 24 and 36 inch diameter from Mnazi Bay in Mtwara town and another from Songo Songo in Lindi region.

The pipeline from Somanga to Dar es Salaam will have capacity to transport 210 million cubic feet of gas a day compared with the current 105 million cubic feet by an existing pipeline from Songo Songo to Dar es Salaam. The 16 inch pipeline is owned by private investors and lacks the capacity to meet the growing demand.


“The project, which involves the construction of gas plants, the pipeline and power generation plant is ongoing and will be completed by December 2014,” said TPDC spokesperson Francis Lupokela.

Athanas Mtemi, an engineer with TPDC said the firm expects to generate 220 million cubic feet per day from Mnazi Bay and Songo Songo 140 million cubic feet per day.

Mr Mtemi said large diameter of the pipeline means it can accommodate more gas production in future. This, he said, will increase more power generation for both domestic and industrial use.

The project, which is projected to cost $1.23 billion, is expected to help the country meet its power needs. Tanzania’s economy is losing at least $1 billion per year for using imported oil.

According to Thomas Mhando, an engineer with TPDC at Mnazi Bay, the gas processing plant project will be the first point where the gas arrives before it is transport to Somanga, where it will be mixed with that from Songo-Songo.

At the Mnazi Bay plant, the government is also building an effluent treatment and disposal plant.

Tanzania’s gas reserves, which have been discovered stand at 50.5 trillion cubic feet.

READ: Dar’s natural gas cache reaches 51 trillion cubic feet

Besides production of power, the country plans to export the gas to other countries.

The Mnazi Bay area has four wells while Songo Songo has two wells that will be used to produce power.

The pipeline project is being constructed by China National Petroleum Corporation and financed by a loan from China’s Exim Bank while the gas plants are owned by TPDC and the government has hired Worley Parsons as consultants for the gas plants.

About 18 per cent of Tanzanians have access to electricity and power consumption is growing at eight per cent per year.

Tanzania’s installed capacity stands at 1,438MW with 35 per cent of that power coming from gas-fired power plants.