China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) is planning to explore oil and gas offshore Tanzania with the government-backed Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation (TPDC), reported Bloomberg.

The initiative is part of Tanzania’s efforts to accelerate the exploitation of its natural resources.

According to Tanzanian Energy Minister January Makamba, the companies will explore the 4/1B and 4/1C deep-sea blocks held by TPDC.

The blocks are close to a sizable gas fields discovered by a group of major energy companies led by Equinor, Shell, and Exxon Mobil.

In May this year, the Government of Tanzania concluded talks with Equinor, Shell, and Exxon Mobil for the construction of a mega LNG export facility.

According to Makamba, “there is also an agreement in the works” between Tanzania and Cnooc to conduct seismic studies in unassigned blocks prior to a licencing round next year.

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By GlobalData

The East African nation expects to launch an oil and gas licencing round in the first quarter of 2024 in a bid to attract additional investors as European countries are trying to diversify their energy supplies and reduce their dependency on Russian gas.

In a bid to draw more activity, the country is also reviewing a model-sharing agreement, the minister added.

Tanzania’s Energy Ministry estimates that the nation has recoverable natural gas reserves of more than 57 trillion cubic feet.

“We believe that Tanzania has more gas, and possibly oil, to be discovered because only 30% of the area with potential for oil and gas resources has been explored so far,” Makamba was quoted as saying.