World Bulletin/News Desk
Tanzania plans to raise royalties on gas and demand signature bonuses for energy contracts as the east African nation tries to secure bigger benefits from major offshore discoveries.
Tanzania recently tripled its estimated gas reserves and is fast becoming a regional energy hub after finds by Norwegian oil company Statoil, U.S. group ExxonMobil and Britain's BG Group and its partner Ophir Energy.
Energy and Minerals Minister Sospeter Muhongo said royalties on gas production would rise from 12.5 percent to an unspecified level and the new signing fee would be introduced under a new gas policy, masterplan and law now being drafted.
In a presentation to parliament, he said it would take effect in 2012/13.
Tanzania is one of the world's poorest countries. Like its east African neighbours, it is now positioning itself for a gas bonanza.
Last month, it raised its estimate of recoverable natural gas reserves to 28.74 trillion cubic feet (tcf) from 10 trillion.
Muhongo said Tanzania would launch a new licensing round in Houston, Texas, in September for additional oil and gas exploration blocks in its deep-sea area.
"The government will review existing contracts and conduct a detailed evaluation before entering into new production sharing agreements for oil and gas to ensure national interests are upheld," he said.
He said at least 18 global energy companies had spent nearly $920 million on oil and gas exploration.
As part of its plan to get more from its gas, Muhongo said Tanzania would own a new gas pipeline and processing plants. Construction started last week on a 532-km (330 mile) pipeline financed with a $1.2 billion Chinese loan.
The minister said Tanzania hopes to build two gas-powered plants to produce 390 megawatts of power at a combined cost of $598 million - reducing its reliance on hydro electric power which has proved vulnerable to drought.
Loan agreements would be reached in September with the Japan Bank of International Cooperation and South Africa's Absa Bank for construction of one of the plants, meant to produce 240MW, he said.
Forty percent of Tanzania's 1,375 MW capacity came from natural gas by the end of June compared to 1,014 MW a year earlier. Peak demand rose to 820 MW from 730 MW.
Production from conflict-free mines are bagged and tagged with a barcode to make it easily traceable.
"We will further expand our capacities to be able to respond to the high market growth," Jochem Heizmann, head of VW's China operations told reporters on Saturday ahead of the Beijing auto show.
The State Duma lower house on Friday ratified a 2012 agreement to write off the bulk of North Korea's debt. It said the total debt stood at $10.96 billion as of Sept. 17, 2012.
Mt. Gox, once the world's biggest bitcoin exchange, is likely to be liquidated after a Tokyo court dismissed the company's bid to resuscitate its business.
Discussions will continue in the days and weeks ahead, but there is no particular deadline for concluding the talks, the official added.
Russia's oil output stands at over 10 million barrels per day, the world's largest, but it needs new sources of crude oil, including hard-to-recover deposits and the Arctic, to sustain this level
The strike at Yue Yuen is not just one of China's biggest in recent years, it's also more clearly driven by workers' fears that they have been scammed by an opaque and convoluted welfare payment system.
When the system is in place citizens will be able to buy a limited amount of subsidised fuel, and will have to pay a normal, market price for any extra quantities.
Production in Upper Nile state's Paloch oilfields, where output has not been hampered by the conflict, stood at 159,000 barrels per day this week.
Dragomir Stoynev accused fellow European Union members of a politically-motivated attempt to scupper the project, and urged the bloc to understand the effect that doing so would have on its members.
The drops have come mainly because Japan did not take any cargoes in March and South Korea is not scheduled to take any shipments in April, according to the tanker data.
Japan's finance ministry and central bank have declined to comment on the payments.
But a survey shows that most people believe inflation is speeding up and could surpass 37 percent this year.
A fifth payment of $450 million was due on April 15, contingent on Iran having diluted half of its most sensitive stockpile of nuclear materials
The year-on-year inflation rate in the 18 countries sharing the euro was 0.5 percent in March against 0.7 percent in February, the European Union's statistics office Eurostat said.
Pushed by higher food and shelter costs, the consumer price index rose in March.