Tanzania expands role in gas project as it deepens ties with French multinational

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Tanzania via the effort of its business-inclined head of state, Samia Suluhu Hassan, has doubled down on a partnership with a French multinational. A recent report indicates that an agreement to double Tanzania’s stake in the Mnazi Bay natural gas project was reached. This move stems from the president’s frequent liaison with Indonesian President Joko Widodo.

  • Tanzania doubles stake in Mnazi Bay gas project through $23.6 million deal.
  • Partnership with French multinational expands Tanzania’s role in the energy sector.
  • A $100 million investment is planned to upgrade the Mnazi Bay gas infrastructure.

A report by the publication, East Africa, shows that Tanzania recently inked the $23.6 million deal. This deal guarantees Tanzania of an additional 20% stake in the project from Etablissements Maurel & Prom SA, bringing its total shareholding to 40%.

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Prior to this, the voting rights within the establishment including the veto power over the projects’s operations fell on the French firm and its Wentworth Resources, which both have 48 percent and 32 percent shares respectively.

However, Maurel & Prom bought out Wentworth Resources’ shares for around $75 million in December of last year.

“The Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation (TPDC) then invoked its right of first refusal in joint projects, where any other shareholder floats shares, as stipulated in Petroleum Act, allowing it to secure 20 percent of the shares M&P bought from Wentworth in the latest deal,” the East African report reads.

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Although the French firm continues to be the majority owner and operator of the Mnazi Bay project, Indonesia’s state energy company Pertamina has served as its largest shareholder since 2017, and the agreement with TPDC is believed to have been negotiated between the two country leaders during Widodo’s visit to the East African country in August 2023 and President Samia’s visit to Indonesia last month.

The Mnazi Bay gas fields in the Mtwara area have proved reserves of 641 billion cubic feet (bcf), with a daily production of over 120 million cubic feet, accounting for 48 percent of Tanzania’s current gas output and contributing approximately 600MW to the national power system.

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“TPDC and Maurel & Prom committed to investing an initial $100 million to expand and upgrade gas compression infrastructure and boost drilling at the project site during 2024,” the report showed.

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