Tanzania discovers more gas deposits

DAR ES SALAAM, TANZANIA-The Norwegian energy company Statoil and co-venture ExxonMobil last week announced a high impact natural gas discovery offshore in its   exploration.

The fifth discovery of an additional of 2-3 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of natural gas in place in the Mronge-1 well brings the total of volumes up to 17-20 tcf in Block 2, according to Nick Maden, Senior Vice president for Exploration activities for the western hemisphere in Statoil.

The found of 2-3 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of gas in place are equivalent to 360-540 million barrels of oil (boe). The Mronge-1 well was reportedly preceded by three high-impact gas discoveries during the first drilling phase with Tangawizi-1, Zafarani-1 and Lavani-1, and a deeper discovery in a separate reservoir in Lavani-2 in the Tanzanian License.

According to Statoil management, Mronge-1 is drilled by the drillship Discoverer Americas, and the site is located 20 km to the North of the Zafarani discovery, at 2500 meter water depth. “We have initiated a new and ambitious drilling campaign offshore Tanzania following four successful discoveries during the first drilling phase. 

The Mronge-1 well discovered additional gas volumes and furthers the potential for a natural gas development in Tanzania,” said Maden.

Maden explained that the new drilling program also allows them to fully explore the remaining exploration potential in Block 2. According to him, a drilling campaign over the next two years in the block was being now planned. 

The two years drilling campaign of natural gas exploration will elevate the East African country’s hope of becoming a major gas exporter. Maden said they were encouraged by what they see and that they were planning to drill 9 to 12 exploration and appraisal wells in Tanzania by early 2015.

The Mronge-1 well discovered gas at two separate levels. 

The main accumulation is at the same stratigraphic level as proven in the Zafarani-1 well in Block 2. He said the Zafarani-1 discovery was made in 2012 and was a play opener for the block.

“The secondary accumulation was encountered in a separate, younger gas bearing reservoir, in a play which previously has not been tested in Block 2,” he further said. 

“This ‘Mronge-1’ discovery is the venture’s fifth discovery in Block 2 and that it was preceded by three successful high-impact gas discoveries during the first drilling phase with Tangawizi-1, Zafarani-1 and Lavani-1, and a deeper discovery in a separate reservoir in Lavani-2,” he explained

According to Tanzanian Minister for Energy and Minerals,  Prof Sospeter Muhongo, the additional gas discoveries in Block 2 by Statoil were important for the country’s economic growth.

 The British media, Reuters, reported last week that, Britain’s BG and Ophir Energy have also made big discoveries in Tanzania and that the companies have submitted proposals to build an onshore liquefied natural gas plant in the southern region of Lindi.

However no new LNG project has won a final investment decision anywhere in the world outside the United States for almost two years because of huge cost increase across the industry, a glut of LNG from places such as Australia and a shale boom which has made the United States self-sufficient in natural gas.