Tanzania's plans to export natural gas by an overland pipeline to neighbouring Uganda through a natural gas transmission pipeline from Dar es Salaam to Uganda via Tanga and Kagera regions (provinces) are naking good progress, says the Managing Director of the Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation (TPDC), Kapuulya Musomba.

He says the TPDC was looking for a consultant to conduct a feasibility study for construction of the pipeline, adding that some important issues to be covered in the study included an overall cost of the project, gas demand along the pipeline route, compensation requirements and capacity of the pipeline.

Tanzania boasts estimated recoverable natural gas reserves of more than 57 trillion cubic feet (tcf), mostly in offshore fields in the south of the country and the planned gas pipeline is expected to provide Uganda with natural gas for its steel industries which will exploit ron ore deposits in the country's southwestern region, reputed to be among the highest quality iron ores in the world.

The planned gas transmission pipeline will deepen commercial ties between the two East African countries which are also jointly constructing a crude oil export pipeline to help transport crude oil from fields in the western part of land-locked Uganda to international markets through Tanga port in northern Tanzania.

The 1,445-kilometre pipeline from the Hoima oilfields in Uganda to Tanga port is expected to be the longest electrically-heated crude oil pipeline in the world and will cost the two countries some 3.55 billion US dollars to build.