DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania – Norway’s Aker Solutions, an oil and gas services company, is concerned at the Tanzania government delays in issuing relevant permits writes JOSEPH BURITE.

Even though the market has been very volatile, we see that Africa still has a lot of big mega projects for field development. It’s driving our strategy,” Egil Boyum, the Senior Vice President for Operations and Business Improvement said recently.

He was speaking on the sidelines of  a Norwegian business forum in the Tanzanian commercial capital, Dar es Salaam.

“When you talk to the people here on gas, I think it’s not about the market. It’s more a question about getting predictability into their plans,” Boyum said.

He said: “Both in Mozambique and Tanzania, operators are talking about the process of getting licenses, agreements with partners and governments is what is taking time and dragging out. To me, that’s a bigger risk to them than the commodity market.”

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He said Aker’s partners, Statoil (Norwegian state oil company) and BG (a British multinationa gas firm) are yet to get land and permits in Tanzania, which has hindered their planning, according to Boyum.

“It’s easy to understand that politicians here (Tanzania) are more careful because it’s a very important asset with a 20 to  30 year lifetime and we need to do it right, but also the volatility in the market means it’s smart for them to move. Don’t take too long,” he said.

Tor Smestad, Aker’s Vice President for Strategy and Business Development, said: “Things were moving a little bit faster in 2013 and early 2014, but now Mozambique has moved maybe two years ahead of Tanzania,”

“For us we see East Africa getting more and more interesting and we expect within less than a year there will be real field developments taking place in Mozambique,” Boyum said.

This month Tanzanians will vote in General Elections for a new president and parliament.

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