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Tanzania Exploration Activities

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The United Republic of Tanzania lies between the latitudes 1º -11º S and longitudes 29 º - 41º N in east coast of Africa hosting the great lakes of the Rift valley system, the Lakes Victoria, Tanganyika and Nyasa. To the east, it is flanked by the widely extending Indian Ocean. It has borders with Kenya & Uganda to the north, Rwanda, Burundi and DRC to the west and to the south by Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique. The country covers an area of about 947,300 sq. km with a number of coastal and inland basins covering 534,000 sq. km and the rest are Cratonic rocks (see activity map). These sedimentary basins are categorized into four tectonic morphological groups such as; coastal basins, Karoo rift basins, modern rift basins and the Cratonic sag basins, each of the basin has been affected by rifting at one time or another, except for the Cratonic sag basins (Mbede, 1990).

They were formed due to rifting during the Pennsylvanian to Triassic episode, followed by the breakup of Gondwana in the Late Jurassic through the Early Cretaceous period (Bumby & Guiraud 2005). The significant petroleum systems have been identified in these basins which occupy mostly along the east coast of Tanzania. Oil seeps have been found at several localities, e.g., the Tundaua oil seeps in the Pemba Basin (offshore) and the Wingayongo bituminous sandstone in the Rufiji Basin. Gas discoveries have been made at Songosongo, Mnazi Bay, Kiliwani, Mkuranga and Ruvu Basins (Onshore) and recently huge gas discoveries have been made at Blocks 1, 2, 3 and 4 (offshore). All these are the evidences for the existence of Petroleum System in Tanzania.

Petroleum Exploration

The country has been intermittently explored over the last 60 years. Most of the multinational petroleum companies were represented in the area at one time or another. The country has continued to undertake geological and geophysical works to update the existing database to attract more investment in the sector. Further exploration, including appraisal drilling is envisaged for the year 2016/2017.

Seismic Acquisition

To date more than 100,000 line kilometers of 2D seismic have been acquired with 70,000 km offshore and 30,000 km onshore including the interior rift basins. Further there is a substantial coverage of offshore 3D seismic amounting to 16,388 sq. km.


TPDC Blocks

The Government has reserved Blocks 4/1B & 4/1C for public interest and gave TPDC exclusive right to undertake exploration over the blocks. TPDC will source a strategic partner competitively to undertake jointly

Exploration over the Blocks. Currently, TPDC has secured seismic data contractor to acquire 4058 km of 2D in-fill seismic data over Blocks 4/1B and 4/1C in order to understand the hydrocarbon potentials and locate the drillable prospect(s).

Full Tensor Gradiometry and Airborne Gravity Gradiometry Survey

In 2015, TPDC acquired a total of 24,014 line km of FTG over Lake Tanganyika North Block and a total of 20,541 of AGG line km over Eyasi-Wembere, Mandawa and West Songosongo Basins. The objective of this survey is to add value to the blocks prior to licensing round. 

Open Blocks

Tanzania has some open acreages both onshore and offshore; these include Selous, Mandawa, Kisangire, MnaziBay North, Malagarasi and Tanga South. For offshore; open blocks are Blocks 5, 6, 7, and 8. The Government is still evaluating the blocks using the available geophysical and geological data. Once the evaluation will be completed, the government will announce for a bid round and will extend invitation to prospective bidders.

Hydrocarbons Discoveries

To date Tanzania has drilled a total of ninety-two (92) wells both offshore and onshore with Total Gas Initial in Place discovered of 57.25 TCF. The total amount of gas discovered in the offshore blocks (1, 2, 3, & 4) is 47.13 TCF while onshore (Songosongo, Mnazi Bay, Mkuranga, Kiliwani, Ntorya and Mambakofi) totalling 10.28 TCF were discovered. Currently the gas is locally used for power generation, industrial use, households and motor vehicles. The government plan is to export part of this gas to the neighboring countries.

Gas Production

The current infrastructure for gas production is 470 mmscfd of gas processing plants. From Songosongo it is 140 mmscfd for new plant and 110mmscfd for Songas plant. From Mnazibay is 10 mmscfd and 210 mmscfd for Madimba processing facilities. Wells deliverability of Songosongo and Kiliwani gas field is 200 mmscfd and Mnazi bay gas fields is about 80mmscfd. The current demand and production for gas is 170 -180 mmscfd.

Gas Infrastructure Development

The Government has embarked on the construction of the natural gas processing plants and a 36 inch 487 km gas pipeline from Mtwara to Dar es Salaam in order to enhance gas utilization in the country.

The project was commissioned in September, 2015. The new infrastructure will increase capacity of gas deliverability to customers by 784 mmscfd. It is expected that the project will immediately address natural gas needs for the existing and future projects in the country.



The LNG project is aiming into liquefying and export gas for generating revenue. The project will also serve to deliver domestic obligation of the natural gas from the offshore fields to meet domestic market demand.  Five international oil companies which commit to invest in the project are working with TPDC and the Government of Tanzania to ensure that this project becomes successful. The project is expected to speed up the gas economy in Tanzania. The FID is expected by 2020 and first export ship by 2025 if all planned activities will be done in accordance with timeline.  The companies jointly committed for this project are BG/Shell, Ophir, Pavilion, Statoil and ExxonMobil in corroboration with TPDC.