US, TZ talk fostering energy ties

US SEES POTENTIAL IN TZ ENERGY: Chris Smith, Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy at the US Energy Department

US SEES POTENTIAL IN TZ ENERGY: Chris Smith, Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy at the US Energy Department

The Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy at the US Department of Energy, Christopher Smith today affirmed the US government commitments towards strengthening relationship with Tanzania especially in the energy sector.

The visiting US government official said the relationship between the two countries has been tremendous although more work needs to be done to strengthen it.

Mr Smith was speaking shortly after an official tour at the new power generation plant — Kinyerezi Electricity Power Plant. The combination cycle –power generating plant- is designed to generate natural gas powered electricity as well as jet oil.

The main plant is to generate at least 150megawatts from the Mtwara-Dar es Salaam natural gas pipeline.

“It is vital for the two countries to improve energy relations,” he said adding the US sees energy potential in the East African country.

The Assistant Secretary said, courtesy of the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), about 10 US energy companies are in Tanzania, mainly to explore areas of investments in the energy sector.

He insisted however,Tanzania will have to work on the agreed upon reforms for it to benefit from MCC—II Agreement. He noted “We hope we can finalise negotiations to allow the funds to be released.”

Smith underscore the MCC-II pact would actually create more opportunities for economic growth in Tanzania.

The second Millennium Challenge Corporation Compact programme will focus on the power sector.

Kamran Khan, Vice President of the Department of Compact Operations at the Millennium Challenge Corporation said priority areas targeted in the second MCC compact are; expanding access to electricity especially in rural communities, undertake key policy reforms as well as restructuring power sector utilities –Tanesco and Zeco.

The government has been concerned with the power sector committing bump up the insufficient power generation capacity, transmission and distribution which pose profound obstacles to economic and social development.

Officials at the 150megawatt Kinyerezi Electricity Power Plant announced Wednesday the team has achieved 88 per-cent of its construction work and pre-testing is expected for later this month.

The plant is expected to be commissioned in July this year, Eng. Simon Jilima Tanesco’s Project Manager told the US embassy delegation that visited the site Wednesday.

These latest developments come weeks after the Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation (TPDC) revealed construction of the 542-kilometre natural gas pipeline is nearly complete. It has the initial capacity of transporting 350 million standard cubic feet from Madinda in Mtwara to Dar es Salaam.