Tanzania: A breakthrough petroleum bill, and the world’s newest SWF
Savanna in bloom, in Tanzania, Africa panorama. Serengeti

Tanzania’s long-awaited petroleum bill was finally submitted to parliament on 16 June, and is now expected to be passed within the next three weeks. The country’s government estimates that it has unproven natural gas reserves of more than 55 trillion cubic feet, but no discoveries have yet been made. The 2015 Petroleum Bill proposes the government’s profit share from future oil production would range from a minimum of 50 to 70 percent, with share of profit on natural gas production ranging from a minimum of 60 to 85 percent. The government will also establish a sovereign wealth fund to better manage oil and natural gas revenues.

Many petroleum industry insiders claim that the development of these fields has been suppressed by the lack of a legal and regulatory framework. In 2014, foreign donors including the World Bank and the U.K. government said they would withhold US$ 558m of budget aid as a result of a corruption scandal in Tanzania’s energy industry.  This all sounds quite principled on the UK government’s part, until one considers that they have actively funded the almost comically corrupt Brazilian oil giant Petrobras for years, and are considering further investment even in the wake of further corruption allegations.

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