See the contemporaneous briefing "Managing Expectations About Tanzania’s Uncertain Gas Revenues"here.
The Tanzanian government and a consortium of companies are negotiating the regulatory terms for a game-changing liquefied natural gas (LNG) project.
In this brief, the authors update a previous analysis of some of the key decisions that will be made in the negotiation and their potential impact on whether the LNG project proceeds and the levels of revenues that the project could generate for the government. This update accounts for new information and changes in company planning.
There is a reasonable chance that foreign investment in the LNG project will not happen under current conditions. NRGI’s economic model and specific assumptions of the project suggest that a long-term LNG price of USD 11 per mmBtu is needed for investors to earn the return they usually require from LNG projects. Current forecasts by the IMF and World Bank are $7-8 per mmBtu.
As the authors discuss in the brief, the chances of investment will shrink further if, during the negotiations, the government increases taxes and requires companies to share a greater portion of the gas with Tanzania’s home market.
Government officials could wait and hope that conditions improve, and perhaps then impose stricter terms. However, this would delay the point at which the country would start generating benefits from the project. If officials want to accelerate development, without harming long-term gains for the country, they could: adopt a more progressive tax regime, avoid raising the share of gas to be sold to the home market, and establish a legal framework that both company managers and future generations of Tanzanians will trust.