Orca plans Tanzanian natural gas pipeline expansion

Christopher E. Smith
OGJ Pipeline Editor

HOUSTON, July 14 -- Orca Exploration Group announced July 13 the creation of EastCoast Transmission & Marketing as its new infrastructure division in Tanzania. ECTM will initially focus on expanding the onshore natural gas pipeline system transporting Songo Songo field gas to Dar es Salaam.

Expansion would involve twinning the existing 207-km pipeline from Somanga Funga, where the marine pipeline from the offshore Songo Songo gas field makes landfall, to its terminus at Dar es Salaam. Orca has undertaken preliminary engineering studies for the project and envisions future extension of the pipeline along the coast: north to Mombasa and south to Mtwara near the border with Mozambique and the 756 sq km Mnazi Bay gas discovery, operated by Maurel & Prom, Paris.

Orca cited the recent growth of gas markets in East Africa and potential demand from the electric power sector as driving the expansion project, describing midstream systems as the bottleneck to further development of the region’s gas resources.

Capacity of the current pipeline carrying Songo Songo gas to Dar es Salaam is 90 MMcfd. Pipeline owner Songas Ltd. plans to expand throughput to a peak of 140 MMcfd by January 2013. Orca’s planned expansion would be required shortly afterwards, the company said.

Orca intends to drill its Songo Songo West prospect in 2011, while ExxonMobil Exploration & Production Tanzania Ltd. agreed in March to take a 35% interest in deepwater Block 2 off Tanzania from operator Statoil Tanzania AS. A 3D seismic survey of the block was completed in February (OGJ Online, Mar. 31, 2010).

Maurel & Prom and Cove Energy PLC agreed to shoot 600 sq km of 3D seismic and drill two appraisal wells on the Mnazi Bay discovery in 2011 (OGJ Online, Sept. 18. 2009).

Contact Christopher E. Smith at chriss@ogjonline.com.

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