Though Tanzania is yet to pass her local content law, the major natural gas production plant in the Eastern African country engages appreciable number of local employees.
The oil and gas sector is a new area the country is exploring, but local employees constitute significant proportion in the sector’s labour front.
Civil society organisations and other key players in the industry say specific clauses in the Tanzania’s Natural Gas Act 2015, and Natural Gas Policy 2013 give priority to local content requirements.
Mr Raphael Mbena, the Country Office Manager of the Maurel and Prom Exploration and Production Limited, the gas processing facility located at Mtwara in the North-Western part of Tanzania said 98 per cent of the company’s workforce is local employees.
He told reporters on a field visit to the plant site at Msimbate on Tuesday that the gas recovery facility employed 78 people with only two expatriate workers.
The 24 journalists, eight each from Ghana, Tanzania and Uganda are attending a 14-day regional course on oil, gas and mining to enable them to better understand and tell the true story in the extractive sector in their countries.
It is being organised by the Journalists for Environmental Association of Tanzania in collaboration with Penplusbytes, an international ICT Journalism in Ghana and the African Media of Excellence in Uganda, with support from the Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI), an NGO.
Mr Mbena explained that though the oil and gas sector was a new area, the Tanzanian government had learnt lessons from other countries and to make sure that citizens get desirable benefits from the gas sector.
He said local communities around the project’s catchment area who were directly or indirectly affected by the natural gas production had been duly compensated.
Compensations were mainly paid on crop and property rates.
Mr Mbena said communities have also benefited immensely especially in the area of health and education adding that classroom blocks, clinics, maternity blocs and other infrastructure projects had been constructed in local communities.
He said good relationship between the company and the local people was required to ensure maximum output and protection of the national asset.
Mr David Chajdronnier, the field engineer said the facility started production in 2006, adding that with five wells (one offshore), it was able to net more than 35 million cubic feet daily.
The situation was however different at gas processing and distribution plant at Madimba and Somanga fungu power plants as the local employee workforce were significantly low.
According to Dr Emma Msaky, a Geologist and Technical Advisor at office of the President of Tanzania, oil and gas advisory Bureau, the new Petroleum (exploration and production) Act required that exploration licenseds expired nine years.
Initially, she explained the exploration license lasted for 11 years starting from initial three years.
Dr Msaky Tanzania said government had opted for production sharing agreement, which according to her was manageable and beneficial to the country now.