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Tanzania edges along the LNG road after successful test

A successful production test has raised prospects for Tanzania’s planned liquefied natural gas (LNG) complex, the location of which is due to be announced shortly

Latest reserves estimates for offshore areas operated by Statoil and BG are approaching 1,000 billion cubic metres (cm) – enough to support a complex of four or more of the largest LNG trains.

Statoil, operator for Block 2, said the first drill-stem test in the block, carried out on the Zafarani-2 well, gave an equipment-limited flow of 1.87 million cm/d, and confirmed the quality and connectivity of the reservoir. The test reduces the uncertainties of the development and confirms that production wells will have high flow-rates.

The Zafarani field, 80 km offshore the southern coast and lying under 2,400 metres of water, is seen as the cornerstone for the LNG development. Appraisal will be completed with the Zafarani-3 well, to be drilled next.

Statoil has five large gas discoveries in Block 2 – Zafarani, Mronge, Tangawizi and, with two separate reservoirs, Lavani. It estimates that gas-in-place amounts to 481bn-566bn cm. The company holds the block in a 65:35 venture with ExxonMobil.

BG is the operator for the neighbouring blocks 1, 3 and 4, where it has nine gas discoveries – Mzia, Jodari North, Jodari, Chaza and Mkizi in Block 1, Papa in Block 3 and Chewa, Ngisi and Pweza in Block 4. With much appraisal work completed and drill-stem tests carried out, the company’s estimate for reserves across the three blocks is 425bn cm. BG holds 60% of the three blocks, joined by Ophir with 20% and Pavilion, owned by Singapore’s state investment company Temasek, with 20%.

The two operators have been in discussions about a coordinated LNG development and – according to reports quoting the country’s energy minister – are about to announce their choice of location for the complex. A site in the southern Lindi region is being tipped – although there is local pressure for the complex to go further south, to the poorly-developed Mtwara region.

Statoil and BG have been asked by the government to set out their plans and schedule at a meeting in April. With much infrastructure to be constructed before work on the complex can begin, it is indicated that production will not be starting until 2021-22.

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