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Tanzania Doubles Stake in Gas Field Operated by France’s M&P

(Bloomberg) -- Tanzania Petroleum Development Corp. has doubled its stake in the Mnazi Bay natural gas field operated by Etablissements Maurel & Prom SA as part of plans by the East African nation to increase government participation in strategic projects.

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TPDC signed an agreement with the French company on Saturday to boost its share in the gas-producing prospect south of the country to 40%, after purchasing a 20% stake from the Paris-based company for $23.6 million. Maurel & Prom — before the latest transaction — controlled 80% of the Mnazi Bay gas field.

President Samia Suluhu Hassan is pushing for Tanzania to boost production of natural gas and build pipelines to export it to neighboring countries including Uganda, Zambia, Kenya and the Democratic Republic of the Congo in a bid to accelerate economic growth. Mnazi Bay has proven natural gas reserves of 641 billion cubic feet and currently produces around 48% of Tanzania’s gas, according to Mussa Makame, managing director of the Tanzanian oil explorer.

The two companies plan to invest $100 million in the project to expand gas compression infrastructure and boost drilling, according to Nicolas Engel, general manager of Maurel & Prom Tanzania.

Tanzania has total recoverable natural gas reserves of 57.54 trillion cubic feet and needs to invest up to $550 million at the Mnazi Bay gas field alone to boost production, Hassan said.

“Our direction should be to increase the government’s stake in projects that are doing well, not just in energy but other sectors as well,” Hassan said in a speech at the signing ceremony.

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