* Minister says country becoming new gas hub
* Says govt looks to strengthen regulations
DAR ES SALAAM Oct 18 Tanzania has raised its
estimate of recoverable natural gas reserves to 33 trillion
cubic feet (tcf) from 28.74 tcf following recent big discoveries
offshore, an official said on Thursday.
"These discoveries are an indication that Tanzania is now
becoming one of the natural gas hubs and a new frontier in oil
and gas exploration in the east Africa region and the world at
large," Deputy Energy and Minerals Minister George Simbachawene
told an oil and gas conference in Dar es Salaam on Thursday.
Gas strikes off east Africa's seaboard have led to
predictions the region could become the world's third-largest
exporter of natural gas.
The government said it hoped the gas finds would help to
transform the country's economy, which largely depends on
farming, mining and tourism.
"The gas discoveries in Tanzania will not automatically be a
blessing without challenges, and therefore we should not take
things for granted," Simbachawene said.
"We must ... overcome impending challenges including, but
not limited to, insufficient institutional and legal frameworks
and insufficient human, financial, physical and related
resources for the sub-sector."
Tanzania plans to restructure its state-run petroleum
regulator and have in place a gas policy and legislation before
the end of the year to help regulate its vast natural gas
(Reporting by Fumbuka Ng'wanakilala; Editing by Yara Bayoumy
and Jane Baird)