Kenya and Tanzania have signed a deal in Nairobi that could revive plans to export gas to Mombasa from Dar es Salaam via a new pipeline.
During her state visit to Kenya last week, Tanzania’s President Samia Suluhu Hassan and her Kenyan counterpart Uhuru Kenyatta signed off on a preliminary agreement covering the transport of gas from Tanzania for use in power generation and, potentially, for cooking and heating.
Local reports put the costs of the 600-kilometre pipeline at about $1.1 billion.
The deal is part of a longer-term plan to expand infrastructure links between the two East African nations.
Commenting on the agreement, Hassan said: “We have agreed on the need to ease the transportation of key energy resources and have reached one such understanding on the transportation of gas. What we need to do now is start implementing the project.”
The memorandum of understanding on co-operation in natural gas transportation allows the nations’ energy ministries to begin talks on the design, cost and logistical issues related to the pipeline.
“We have agreed on ways of tapping Tanzania's natural gas,” added President Kenyatta.
“That should ease the cost of power to ensure that our industries can access cheaper energy that is also environmentally friendly,” he told reporters.
Tanzania has an estimated 57 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.
Much of the offshore gas will be sent to a planned liquefied natural gas plant at Lindi — proposed by Shell and Equinor — although some of this resource will be sent to shore for domestic use.
Tanzania also hosts many undeveloped onshore gas finds that could potentially underpin piped gas exports to Kenya, as well as to Uganda under an earlier proposal that suggested a 1450-kilometre gas line could run along the same route as the planned East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP).
The proposed Dar-Mombasa pipeline was first mooted more than a decade ago when its was planned to supply gas from the Songo Songo and Mnazi Bay fields.
A 207-kilometre, 16-inch pipeline currently links Songo Songo with Dar es Salaam, while a separate 487-kilometre, 36-inch line links Mnazi Bay with the country’s commercial capital.