GE shows optimism about operations in Tanzania

Just 10 days after General Electric signed a co-operation agreement to develop a 400MW gas-fired power plant with Symbion Power, the firm has expressed its optimism that its Tanzania operations will grow rapidly.

“What we’ve seen so far gives us hope that our operations in Tanzania will expand rapidly during the next few years,” firm’s president and chief executive officer Jay Ireland (pictured speaking) said in Dar es Salaam yesterday.

The company hopes to strike some more power generation deals. It will also engage in the sale of equipment for exploration of oil and gas. At the same time, it plans to support health care projects as it focuses on supply of critical medical equipment.

Currently, the company has injected an estimated US$200 million in Tanzania during the past few years.

With prospects for business growth in Tanzania, GE has partnered with the University of Dar es Salaam in a move that seeks to help Tanzania get the required skills in the oil and gas sector.

Under the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed recently, the company will support the university with what it takes to get enough Tanzanian engineers specialised in oil and gas.

“We will start with improving the curriculum and accepting students from the University for Internship in our company. In that way, the number of Tanzanians that we employ will also go up,” he said.

Mr Ireland commended Tanzania for its plans to use natural gas to generate electricity, saying this will cut power tariffs.

“Electricity costs are high in Tanzania due to fuel which is used in production. With natural gas, as fuel for electricity generation, the tariffs will come down and the government is doing quite a good job in that area,” he said.

Tanzania is estimated to have 42 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of recoverable natural gas reserves. The government says the gas is enough to make chronic energy shortages that result in frequent power blackouts thereby deteriorating economic growth prospects.

The proposed power plant, to be built in Mtwara Region -- under the agreement between GE and Symbion -- may be exported to Malawi and other neighbouring countries.
Source: The Citizen, reported by Samuel Kamndaya in Dar es Salaam
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