TANZANIA and Zambia governments have embarked on intergovernmental talks on conversion of Tanzania Zambia Mafuta (TAZAMA) pipeline to transport finished petroleum products.
Equally, Zambia has appealed to Tanzania to export natural gas to the Southern Africa country to meet its energy needs and avert deforestation aggravated by the use of firewood and charcoal as source of cooking energy.
The Minister for Energy, January Makamba revealed this on the sideline of a two-day intergovernmental conference which commenced in Dar es Salaam on Tuesday.
He said the development follows the Zambia government energy reforms that have changed the fuel supply chain which also aimed at mitigating environmental pollution.
“Today (yesterday) we have started the talks, where key issues like security of the converted pipeline which will transport finished products can be maintained. We have formed a committee led by permanent secretaries from both countries where outstanding issues will be tabled to the ministers’ desk and expect them to be executed within 45 days,” he said.
The minister further said that security challenges are expected to be higher for the pipeline ferrying refined oil because it entices criminals who can think of piercing it with the hope of siphoning oil to be channeled in the shoddy markets.
However, Makamba said that while discussing on procuring and reconstruction of the 1,710 kilometres crude oil pipeline from the port of Dar es Salaam to Indeni Petroleum Refinery in Ndola, Zambia, options were immediately available for securing it by using fiber optic cable and drones among others.
Commenting on exporting of natural gas as requested by Zambia, Minister Makamba said that Tanzania is in the process of starting to process gas for domestic consumption and possibilities are high that the country will export the product to neighboring countries.
He said that the request will also need to be discussed further on how to go about it.
Zambia’s Energy Minister, Mr Peter Kapala said that his country has reached the decision due to overheads incurred and changing technology stumbled at by refining crude oil in his country and environmental conservation concerns.
“These are the main reasons for opting to switch to shipping final products rather than crude oil. Also Zambia wishes to have a natural gas shipping pipeline from Tanzania parallel with TAZAMA as soon as possible to help us get our energy needs,” he said
The TAZAMA Crude Oil Pipeline was constructed to transport crude oil from the port of Dar es Salaam to the landlocked Zambia, at an affordable, sustainable economic cost. When it was installed in 1968, the pipeline had a carrying capacity of 1,100,000 tonnes (1,212,542 tons) annually.