(2015-07-07) Tanzanian legislators have passed a new petroleum bill that creates a regulatory and legal framework to manage discoveries and control of the East African nation’s natural gas reserves and possible future oil finds, officials said.
Tanzania has an estimated 55.1-trillion cubic feet of gas reserves, the second-largest in the region after Mozambique, and the new law is aimed at speeding up the development of the sector.
It was passed late on Sunday amid stiff opposition and days of debate. Some 40 opposition legislators were suspended from parliament after disrupting sessions on Saturday, complaining that the law was being rushed through after inadequate consultation.
“We are now through … the parliament has finally passed the bill,” Energy Minister George Simbachawene told state television from the country’s administrative capital Dodoma.
More than 30 international gas and oil exploration firms are currently operating in Tanzania, and the bill sets out royalty production fees to be paid to the government.
Under the law, which needs to be signed by President Jakaya Kikwete, the government will take a 60% to 80% share of profit from onshore gas production, and up to 85% from offshore production.
The government’s share of profits from any future oil production will be between 50% and 70%. Mr Kikwete is scheduled to dissolve parliament on July 9, to pave way for presidential and parliamentary elections in October.
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