What TAZAMA expansion will mean to economy

TANZANIA and the Zambia governments have reached an agreement to expand the Tanzania–Zambia Crude Oil Pipeline (TAZAMA), so as to increase oil transportation capacity from 800,000 tonnes annually to 1.5 million tonnes.

Speaking to journalists in Dar es Salaam on Friday shortly after a meeting that brought together six ministers from both countries to discuss the envisioned pipeline expansion project among others, Minister for Energy January Makamba said the envisioned project will bring massive economic benefits to both countries.

Detailing, Mr January said that the project will expand the pipeline size from current diameter of eight inches to 12, a move that will enhance its capacity to transport larger quantity of oil.

Elaborating, he said the general demand for oil in Zambia stands at 1.2 million tonnes of oil annually, with Tanzania being the gateway.

Mr January said to enhance the security of the 1,710- kilometre pipeline from Dar es Salaam port to Ndola, both countries have agreed to beef up surveillance through the use of technology specially applying drones, fibre optics and increasing the number of soldiers at the pipeline camps as well as police stations.

He said the pipeline was initially transporting crude oil but now, it is transporting gas oil diesel as a finished product.

And, Mr January said for the finished product which is transported through a pipeline covering 1,710 kms, and passes through communities, the two governments realised that there are issues of security that must be well addressed.

“The pipeline is passing through communities and this tells us that we have to enhance participation of citizens in areas where the pipeline passes through. This is why the committee of ministers looked at various agencies that are involved in transportation of gas oil diesel to ensure that security is enhanced,” he said.

“Zambians depend a lot on the Dar es Salaam Port for their oil and now they have decided to take this pipeline more serious, and for us this is an opportunity, so we are out to ensure that there is intensive protection of the pipeline,” Mr January said.

On his part, Zambia’s Minister for Defence, Ambrose Lufuma who headed the Zambia delegation said, “We have agreed that police in both Tanzania and Zambia should put more boots on the ground. TAZAMA should collaborate with police to ensure that camps are set along the pipeline. “As it passes through the communities, we have to engage them in terms of sensitisation and owning the pipeline, so that they do the surveillance of the infrastructure. This is the best way to secure the pipeline from vandalism. It is important that we apply technology by placing drones for surveillance on both countries,” he said.

The Zambian minister said the drones have already been procured for that purpose. He said given the current demand of gas oil diesel and other products in his country, it will be necessary for the capacity of the pipeline to be increased from the diameter of 12 to 24 inches in future.

“The immediate plan is to increase the pipeline capacity by 12 inches but in two- or three-years’ time. It might not be enough but for the immediate challenge we are proposing to upgrade the pipeline to 12 inches and that will be done as quickly as possible,” Mr Lufuma said.

He added: “Once we do that, we will be assured of supplies in Zambia for the next 20 to 30 years or so, and good enough we have agreed that both governments will be involved because it is a big project, we should all be involved to mobilise the necessary funds and undertake this project to its logical conclusion,” he said.

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