A proposal to construct a 500km natural gas pipeline from Tanzania to Kenya is to be discussed when energy ministers from the East Africa Community (EAC) convene in October.

With a potential capacity of 710-720 MW the pipeline could be operational by 2015, according to a feasibility study prepared for the EAC by Danish consultancy firm COWI.

Five proposed routes contained in the report are to be examined, with four of them running across land from Dar es Salaam to the northern town of Tanga in Tanzania, and ending at Kenya's port city of Mombasa. One of the four land routes, which range in cost from $5

15-630 million, is likely to be selected over the off-shore option, which would cost significantly more. However it has yet to be announced how the project is to be funded.

Tanzania recently discovered substantial gas deposits in Songo Songo island and West Songo Songo island off the eastern coast, Mnazi Bay in southeastern Tanzania and Mkuranga near Dar es Salaam. The country has a natural gas reserve of 212 billion cubic metres, and international interest in exploration of the country