Published: Monday 31 May 1999

Deep-sea survey for oil off Tanzania will be conducted through a joint venture between an American firm, Western Geophysical of Houston, and state-owned Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation ( tpdc ). The us firm brought in specialised vessel, MV Explora , to conduct the survey, the first-ever to be conducted outside the continental shelf off mainland Tanzania. The survey aims at obtaining geophysical data that will shed light on the possibilities of striking oil off Tanzania. The country has previously struck natural gas at Songo Island, 230 km southeast of Dar-es-Salaam in the Indian Ocean. Canadian joint venture Songas Ltd has already started building a natural gas pipeline to Dar-es-Salaam. The natural gas find at Songo has attracted many firms to explore Tanzanian's coastal strip and river valleys for oil. The commissioner for energy and petroleum affairs, Bashir Mrindoko, said in Dar-es-Salaam that the government issued a licence last month for the first serious work on the (country's) seabed. "This will be the first serious work to be undertaken in the country's deep waters, and it is part of the government's efforts to encourage investment in oil exploration," he added.

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