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Tanzania Talks with Total, BP on Hydrocarbon Exploration

Source: Reuters 10/25/2014, Location: Africa

Tanzania has held talks with France's Total and Britain's BP over oil and gas exploration, its energy ministry said, aiming to add to major companies active in its thriving energy sector. Companies already present in the east African state include Norway's Statoil, Brazil's Petrobras, Royal Dutch Shell , BG Group and Exxon Mobil.

Total executives were in Tanzania's commercial capital Dar es Salaam this week with Energy and Minerals Minister Sospeter Muhongo, the ministry said. "Total has expressed interest to explore for gas and oil in the Lake Eyasi (open acreage area)," Muhongo said in a statement. "We welcome competition and we would like many companies to participate in this sector," he added. Muhongo has also held separate talks with BP officials, though he did not give details about when those talks were held.

In May, China's state-run offshore oil and gas producer CNOOC Ltd and Russian gas producer Gazprom also submitted bids for four of the eight oil and gas blocks Tanzania offered in its fourth offshore licensing round.

East Africa is a new hot spot for energy companies after substantial deposits of crude oil were found in Uganda and major natural gas reserves were discovered off the coasts of Tanzania and Mozambique. Tanzania estimates it has up to 53.2 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of recoverable natural gas resources off of its southern coast, up from an earlier estimate of 46.5 tcf.

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