Optimism high as oil survey concluded in six districts

SINGIDA: THE project to collect 2D seismic data in the Eyasi Wembere Basin has been completed as experts express their optimism that the exploration will identify and classify areas with potential indicators of the presence of oil in the surveyed areas.

The 2D seismic data acquisition involves sending sound waves into the ground, which then bounce back with information that is later processed and interpreted to understand the rock formations in the area and confirm indicators of oil existence.

The development comes after officials from the Petroleum Upstream Regulatory Authority (PURA) visited Eyasi Wembere area in Singida Region where the project has been implemented.

Speaking to the regulator’s officials, Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation (TPDC) geophysicist Sindi Maduhu said on Tuesday that seismic data acquisition was conducted in the area within six districts across five regions, namely Singida, Arusha, Tabora, Shinyanga and Simiyu.

“We are optimistic that this exploration will help us identify areas with potential signs of oil and natural gas presence. If we discover these indicators and confirm the presence of these resources, it will mark the crucial phase of starting to drill production wells,” said the geophysicist who doubles as project manager.

Briefing on the history of exploration at the Eyasi Wembere Basin, Mr Maduhu said the study began in 2015 by collecting geophysical data to determine the size of the basin and examine the depth of rock layers in the area.

The Eyasi Wembere area covers 10,630 square kilometres and the research aimed to study the type and depth of rocks to determine the potential presence of oil or natural gas in the region.

The acquisition of 2D seismic data officially commenced in the area in July, this year.

Regarding the locals’ participation in the project, the expert stated that many Tanzanians have benefited from job opportunities throughout the project implementation.

Available data shows that in 2022, a total of 40 Tanzanians were employed on temporary contracts to collect geochemical data.

“Furthermore, since the commencement of the 2D seismic data acquisition project in July, more than 250 Tanzanians were employed in the project, with approximately 98 per cent of the technical work being carried out by locals, including machine operation, compared to only 2 per cent involving foreign nationals,” he said.

He went on to explain that more than 60 per cent of the contractors for the project were Tanzanian companies, including Africa Geophysical Services (AGS), which was the main contractor for the 2D seismic data acquisition.

He added that local subcontractors for services such as catering, security and others were prioritised in the project compared to foreign companies.

Funded by the Tanzanian government through TPDC, the seismic data collection project in the Eyasi Wembere Basin cost approximately 8bn/-.

Reacting on the ongoing exploration, renowned Geologist, Professor Sospeter Muhongo who doubles as Musoma Rural Member of Parliament (MP) said explorations are vital in enabling the country determine the quantity of oil and gas it possesses for economic planning.

Prof Muhongo said all the explorations conducted should disseminate their findings timely so that if they bring positive results of oil and gas presence in the country, relevant stakeholders, including investors and the government can tap the resources.

Additionally, he said it is through the explorations’ outcome the country can be ranked internationally in regard to quantity of oil and gas it possesses.

He said exploration is TPDC daily’s routine meant to improve the energy sector.

“It has to be a routine work for a well-informed socio-economic planning purpose” Prof Muhongo said.

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