US gas exports worrisome to Africa – Tanzanian energy minister
Tanzanian Minister of Energy and Minerals, Prof Sospeter Muhongo, has expressed concern at the possible impact the recent commencement of US exports of gas to China and the United Kingdom could have on the global price of the commodity. Exchanging views with his visiting Namibian counterpart, Minister Obeth Kandjoze, Muhongo noted that the emergence of the US as a net exporter of gas could have a severe impact on global gas prices.
Briefing Muhongo on energy developments at home, Mines and Energy Minister Kandjoze said Namibia has put the Kudu gas-to-power project on hold until economic conditions and the US dollar/South African rand exchange rates become favourable. He noted that currency fluctuations and competing national projects made it a challenge for the Namibian Government to fast-track exploitation of the resource.
Supporting him, Muhongo explained that a combination of “economic dynamics” and “contemporary issues” prompted investments in Tanzania’s oil resources in 2014, despite them having been discovered in 1969 for the first time. Muhongo said gas resources currently account for 60 percent of Tanzania’s power.
Minister Kandjoze further enlightened his counterpart about President Hage Geingob ‘s Harambee Prosperity Plan, saying his ministry has a daunting task of ensuring that 50 percent of all Namibian schools are electrified by the year 2020. Currently, only 12 percent of Namibian schools are electrified.
At the same time, Kandjoze strongly advocated for cooperation between the two countries in the oil upstream sector, citing oil block swamps as one possible area of cooperation. Under this scheme, both Namibia and Tanzania will have the opportunity of owning oil blocks in the two countries.
Meanwhile, the executive secretary of the Africa Petroleum Producers Association (APPS), Mahaman Laouan Gaya, urged Namibia to become a member of the body. He noted that even if the country was not yet a producer of oil and gas resources, it is eligible for observer status on the association. Gaya said this would allow Namibia to tap from the body’s rich and wide ranging oil and gas resources. Gaya made the remarks at the Getenergy 2016 Africa Oil & Gas Conference currently underway in the Tanzanian capital Dar es Salaam.
Kandjoze is in Tanzania on a five-day visit. He also addressed the Getenergy 2016 Africa Oil & Gas conference and was scheduled to visit a gas power station, before joining President Hage Geingob on his state visit to France.
Kandjoze is accompanied by various representatives of Namibia ‘s energy sector.