Zanzibar takes bold steps to diversify its economy as it opens new oil and gas zones for bids
- Zanzibar opened 12 new oil and gas development zones in a bid to diversify its economy and reduce reliance on tourism.
- President Mwinyi’s $2.4 billion plan aims to promote shipping, oil exploration, and seaweed processing while fostering the « blue » economy.
- International tendering is expected by the end of 2023, inviting oil and gas exploration firms to invest in Zanzibar’s data and propose areas of interest for development.
In an effort to diversify its economy and lessen its reliance on tourism, which now accounts for more than a quarter of its GDP, Zanzibar has opened up new oil and gas development zones for bids.
In accordance with President Hussein Mwinyi’s $2.4 billion plan to promote shipping, oil exploration, and seaweed processing, the 12 blocks have already been opened. The Zanzibar head of state unveiled the five-year plan in February of last year. It aims to expand the country’s oil and gas sector while also fostering the « blue » economy.
The 12 blocks were opened when a multinational corporation named Schlumberger finished the task of analyzing the oil and gas data that had been given to the government of Zanzibar by the government of the United Republic of Tanzania.
Suleiman Masoud Makame, Zanzibar’s minister for blue economy and fisheries, stated that data processing and distribution of additional blocks, totaling 12 blocks, situated in the deep water regions of eastern Unguja and Pemba, have been completed. “This is the first tender related to oil and gas exploration and extraction to be issued in Zanzibar, constituting issues stipulated in the sectors’ Five Year Development Plan,” Suleiman Masoud Makame, said.
Additionally, Suleiman Masoud Makame stated that the ministry would like to make a public declaration that the distribution of new oil and gas blocks situated in the deep sea off the coasts of eastern Unguja and Pemba as well as the data processing project were both finished.
Furthermore, he added that the action ushers in a new era of oil and gas exploration designed to advance the industry by presenting investment prospects and welcoming proposals through an upcoming international tendering that is expected to be revealed by the end of 2023.
“The government now welcomes oil and gas exploration and extraction firms to visualize Zanzibar’s data and propose areas of interest for them to invest in before the commencement of the tendering process,” he said.
An earlier agreement between Zanzibar and the UAE company RAK Gas for oil exploration in the Pemba block lapsed before the anticipated job’s completion, despite an extension of the implementation period. Tanzania Mainland and Zanzibar made the decision to end their joint oversight of the oil and gas industry in August of last year.
Before then, the United Republic of Tanzania was in charge of overseeing oil and gas-related Union affairs. The semi-autonomous Indian Ocean archipelago may now proceed with the independent hunt for exploration investors after receiving oil and gas data from Tanzania’s Mainland.
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