Tanzania is becoming pivotal in east Africa for oil and natural gas exploration, having led the region in new discoveries of natural gas in 2012, says London-based Chatham House.
With known gas reserves of about 7,5-billion cubic feet, the potential to transform Tanzania's international standing and domestic electricity production is considerable. However, recent protests against the construction of a pipeline to Dar es Salaam highlight the challenges that Tanzania faces in ensuring that the benefits of its natural resources are widely felt.
The country has 8% of the 1 652-billion barrels of proven oil reserves globally. However by 2020, Africa will hold about 20% of the world’s reserves due to ongoing discoveries and resource recovery from known reservoirs that are currently inaccessible.
The case is similar for total proven gas reserves. Out of 208-trillion cubic metres globally, Africa holds 7%. Tanzania has sedimentary basins with considerable energy reserves due to its geological and structural composition. The inland basins and modern rift system consist of 114,000 square kilometres (km2), the coastal and continental shelf basins are 280 000 km2 while the deep sea basins are 140 000 km2, giving Tanzania a total area of 534 000 km2 of resource-rich sedimentary basins.