Tanzania Defers Offshore O&G Bidding Round until 2012

KAMPALA (Dow Jones Newswires), Apr. 11, 2011

Tanzania has postponed its fourth deep-offshore bidding round to 2012, said state oil company Tanzania Petroleum Development Corp.

The bidding round was to be opened April 12, and was expected to include 13 blocks sitting between 1,200 meters and 3,500 meters of water depth.

"The round has been postponed to give more time for preparations," TPDC said in a statement. "This will include proper demarcation of new blocks using additional new seismic."

TPDC didn't specify the exact date of the new round.

Currently, Tanzania has licensed 12 deepwater blocks and recent exploration works have encountered at least 7.5 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. The country is yet to discover commercial oil reserves.

Sebastian Shana, TPDC's principal petroleum geologist, said at least 13 new blocks have been demarcated, including new areas and relinquished acreage.

Geologists believe that Tanzanian oil and gas exploration areas share similar geological properties with Uganda's Lake Albertine Rift basin, where around 1 billion barrels of oil reserves have been discovered.

Exploration companies already licensed in Tanzania include Shell's local subsidiary Shell International, Orca Exploration, Dominion Gas and Oil, Tullow Oil and Tower Resources.

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