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Tanzania Says BP May Return to Explore Nation’s Oil, Gas Fields

Tanzania, which plans to auction nine oil and gas blocks in the fourth quarter, said BP Plc expressed interest in coming to explore the country again after a hiatus of more than half a century.

“British Petroleum wants to return as one of the majors in the upstream market,” Wellington Hudson, senior principal petroleum geologist at the state-owned Tanzania Petroleum Development Corp., said today in an interview in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi. “They have expressed interest. We expect them to visit the country in a couple of weeks.”

BP and Royal Dutch Shell Plc explored four blocks between 1952 and 1962, according to Hudson. BP maintained an oil-marketing unit it owned equally with the government, before selling its stake to Puma Energy International BV last year.

Tanzania may auction the new blocks in September, according to Hudson, a year after it postponed an auction round to write a gas policy. The government wants the final draft of the legislation ready by June, deputy Energy Minister Stephen Masele said April 17.

Tanzania has confirmed 40.8 trillion cubic feet of natural gas reserves so far, some of it discovered by Statoil ASA and partner Exxon Mobil Corp., and BG Group Plc, which is working with Ophir Energy Plc.

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