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Mtwara – Dar Es Salaam gas pipeline, Tanzania

The construction of a Chinese funded gas pipeline from Mtwara to Dar es Salaam, possibly turning Tanzania the third largest gas exporter in the world, causes protests and violent repression by state forces.


Tanzania signed a contract with three Chinese companies on 21 July 2012 to start construction of a 512-km pipeline leading from Mtwara to the country's capital Dar es Salaam. The project is financed by a Chinese loan as well as grants from the World Bank (USD 300 million) and the African Development Bank (USD 200 million).

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Mtwara – Dar Es Salaam gas pipeline, Tanzania
State or province:Mtwara region
Location of conflict:Mtwara
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Transport infrastructure networks (roads, railways, hydroways, canals and pipelines)
Oil and gas refining
Specific commodities:Natural Gas
Project Details and Actors
Project details

According to information provided by the Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation (TPDC), the pipeline will have a capacity to transport around 22,2 million cubic meters of gas per day, generating 3,920 MW of electricity. The pipeline will include a 512 km pipeline on land in addition to a 30 km concrete-coated pipe running through the Indian Ocean from Songo Songo Island to Somanga area.

Project area:Approx. 54,200 hectares
Level of Investment for the conflictive projectUSD 1,200,000,000
Type of populationSemi-urban
Start of the conflict:27/12/2007
End of the conflict:31/05/2013
Company names or state enterprises:Tanzania Electric Supply Company Limited
Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation (TPDC)
Relevant government actors:Tanzania Ministry of Energy and Minerals
International and Finance InstitutionsThe World Bank (WB) from United States of America
African Development Bank (AfDB)
Export-Import Bank of China from China
United States Agency for International Development (USAID) (USAID) from United States of America
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:World Wildlife Fund Norway
World Wildlife Fund Tanzania
Mrengo - Mtwara NGO Network
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Industrial workers
Informal workers
Local ejos
Social movements
Forms of mobilization:Blockades
Development of alternative proposals
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Official complaint letters and petitions
Street protest/marches
Property damage/arson
Occupation of buildings/public spaces
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality
Health ImpactsVisible: Violence related health impacts (homicides, rape, etc..), Deaths
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Increase in violence and crime, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Militarization and increased police presence, Violations of human rights, Loss of livelihood, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusUnder construction
Conflict outcome / response:Corruption
Criminalization of activists
Deaths, Assassinations, Murders
Violent targeting of activists
Application of existing regulations
Proposal and development of alternatives:Local residents urged the Tanzanian government to build a gas processing facility within the Mtwara region instead of the pipeline to the capital, as initially planned. They were convinced that this would have boosted the local economy.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:During the protests, at least 5 people were killed and at least another 12 were injured. Over 134 people have been arrested in relation to the protests and marches. Despite the opposition to the project, the Tanzanian government went ahead with the construction of the pipeline. By July 2015, tests were conducted on the finished pipeline.
Sources & Materials
References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) (2014), Tanzania, Country Analysis Note,
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Natural Gas Conflict in Tanzania and the Impacts to the Population in Mtwara, Marcelin Raphael Ndimbwa
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Tanzania says work on China-funded gas pipeline to continue, Reuters, 25 May 2013,
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Mtwara commissioner announces communication plan, 4 February 2013, Sabahi Online,
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Protest over gas pipeline in Mtwara turn violent, military deployed, by Deodatus Balile, Sabahi Online, 23 May 2013,
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Tanzania police arrest 90 after Mtwara gas pipeline protest, by AFP, The East African, 23 May 2013,
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Tanzania Mtwara gas riots: 'Pregnant woman killed', BBC News Africa, 24 May 2013,
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The Untold Story of Tanzania's Resource Curse, by Rober Ahearne, Think Africa Press, 31 May 2013,
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Tanzania battles deadly protest over billion-dollar gas project, by The Citizen, Africa Review, 28 January 2013,
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Tanzania on threshold to gas economy
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Tanzania: Reserving Judgement On Tanzania's Natural Gas Discoveries
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The Mtwara–Dar-es–salaam gas pipeline debate needs to include environmental issues, Mohamed Matope
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A Leaked Document Casts A Shadow Over Tanzania's Bright Gas Extraction Outlook, by Pernille Baerendtsen, Global Voices, 20 July 2014,
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Protest over Mtwara gas pipeline leave 4 dead, 12 injured, Sabahi Online, 28 January 2013,
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Tanzania embarks on major gas pipeline project, by Deodatus Balile, Sabahi Online, 26 July 2012,
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Tanzania to start tests on 542km long new Mtwara-Dar gas pipeline
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Tanzanian gas pipeline plan sparks riot -government officials
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Tanzanian pipeline construction inaugurated, Pipelines International, September 2012,
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No. 01: Mtwara – Dar Gas Pipeline Construction, Pesa Times, 3 January 2013,
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Pictures at: Tanzania Mtwara gas riots: 'Pregnant woman killed', BBC News Africa, 24 May 2013,
[click to view]

Meta information
Last update18/08/2019
Conflict ID:1911
Legal notice / Aviso legal
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