DAR-ES-SALAAM-- The use of natural gas for electricity generation instead of other fuels has helped the Tanzanian government to save 10 billion US dollars over a 13-year period, according to Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation (TPDC).

The government saved this amount after it started using natural gas in power generation in 2004, says TPDC research engineer Aristides Kato. Up to the end of 2017, Tanzania had also gained other benefits, thanks to the presence of natural gas.

These included the establishment of construction companies, creation of jobs, port improvements, the establishment of security companies and setting up of various colleges, he said at a TPDC seminar for editors and journalists on the corporation's strategic plans ahead of building an industrial economy i the country.

Kato said so far 50 per cent of the electricity in the country is generated using natural gas. At least 37 big industries and three institutions also use natural gas to run their daily operations, he added.

The TPDC has already started receiving requests from various other industries seeking connection to the Mtwara-Dar-es-salaam gas pipeline. One of them, the Goodwill tiles factory in Mkuranga District in Coast Region ({Province) has been connected to the system.

We are negotiating with many other industries in Mkuranga and Bagamoyo, they will hopefully be connected to the system, soon, he said.

Kato said despite the country having adequate gas deposits, the Tanzania Electricity Company Limited and other industries consumed only 26 per cent of the 350 million cubic feet of gas pumped through the pipeline daily and TPDC continued to hold negotiations with other stakeholders to use gas.

These included the fertilizer manufacturing industry, he said, adding that the main challenge remained the price of gas.

The pipeline gas distribtion system has so far beem operated by Chinese experts but beginning this year, the project will be fully handed over to Tanzanian experts.