The pipeline will be designed to handle 784 million cubic feet per day of gas.

One 300-kilometre, 24-inch diameter section will run between Mnazi Bay and Songo Songo, with a 230-kilometre, 30-inch diameter line linking Songo Songo to Dar es Salaam.

China Export-Import Bank will provide a soft loan to cover 90% of the pipeline cost while the Tanzanian government will finance the remaining 10%.

Tanzania’s government wants the pipeline up and running by the end of 2012 to help alleviate chronic power outages in the ­capital and elsewhere.