PRICE of gas used for cooking is projected to take a nosedive of between 40 and 45 per cent should the joint project between Tanzania and Algeria to construct a processing plant take off.
Speaking at a joint press conference on Friday, the Minister for Energy and Minerals, Prof. Sospeter Muhongo said that technical teams from both countries have until June 30, this year to finalise the project proposals before implementation commences.
“At the moment there are many complaints from the public that gas for cooking is too expensive. We hope to change things around such that less people use charcoal and firewood for cooking and also make gas more affordable,” he said.
Prof. Muhongo said that Tanzania had a lot to gain from Algeria after their agreement to start a journey of economic cooperation especially in fields related to hydrocarbons, electricity, distribution, mining of phosphates, collection and storage of statistics and oil and gas exploration.
He said that Algeria in 2013 produced and distributed over 100 million tonnes of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) to its citizens where already 98 per cent of the 38 million population have electricity in their homes and produces two million tonnes annually.
In December 2 last year, Algeria and Tanzania signed a document to start economic cooperation and decided that they would meet again on February 28 this year after their technical teams had identified strategic areas.
“This partnership is proof that we are working at international standards. Within three months, projects have been identified and in another three implementation will have begun,” the Minister said.
Apart from the LNG project, other ventures include forming a joint company that will handle the supply of electricity in both urban and rural areas and later construct the required infrastructure to supply electricity long distances.
Others are the mining of phosphates that will be used to produce fertiliser as well as share Tanzania’s experience with Algeria in the diamond, gold mining and oil and gas exploration.
Prof. Muhongo announced that on May 15 this year, the government will be opening bids for worldwide investors to seven or eight blocks and hoped that Sonatrach, the company that will be partnering with the Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation (TPDC) will use the opportunity.
“We are blessed with over 500,000 square km of basins that are potential for exploration.
We have already started receiving Letters of Intent and hope that our Algerian partners will submit their letter for the open blocks,” he said.
The Algerian Minister for Energy and Mining, Mr Yousef Yousif said that the two countries shared long historical and cultural relations for many years and that Tanzania’s stability, the abundance of natural resources including agriculture, minerals and hydrocarbons as well as tourism are some of the factors that motivated the economic collaboration.
Mr Yousif said that apart from partnerships in hydrocarbons, distribution and mining, the economic collaboration would also include training where there are over 1.5 million Algerians enrolled in universities and they have a reputation of having high quality institutions for oil and gas related courses.