Netherlands Embassy in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

First MSc in Petroleum Geology

In May, Tanzania’s first MSc in Petroleum Geology was launched at the University of Dar es Salaam. The programme, supported by the Netherlands, addresses the need to expand local expertise in the oil and gas sector in Tanzania.

The Netherlands has a long history of cooperation with the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM). Under the Netherlands Initiative for Capacity development in Higher Education (NICHE) programme, several departments at UDSM received substantial funding over the years. Recently, in response to the discovery of considerable gas reserves off the Tanzanian coast, the Dutch support focused on strengthening UDSM’s expertise and knowledge of the oil and gas sector specifically.

The Geology Department, in close cooperation with the Netherlands universities of Delft, Utrecht and Twente, has developed the curriculum of Tanzania’s first Masters of Science (MSc) in Petroleum Geology. The department’s continued commitment to the programme has been vital to its success. Moreover, the guest lectures provided by professors from the Netherlands have been essential to advance the skills of both students and staff.  

Equally important has been the involvement of the international oil and gas companies: BG and Statoil. Their input ensures that the MSc programme meets private sector demands. By bringing education together with the public and private sector, “UDSM has managed to ensure the employability of its students in a unique and modern way” as was stated by Ambassador Frederiks during his speech at the ceremony.

While the Netherlands enables many Tanzanian students to study in the Netherlands every year through the Netherlands Fellowship Programme, building capacity locally will allow many more students to have access to specialised education. Additionally, the establishment of a MSc programme within Tanzania is more sustainable and will benefit the country in the long run.

The Minister for Energy and Minerals, the Honourable George Simbachawene, officially launched the MSc in Petroleum Geology during a festive ceremony hosted by UDSM and BG. In attendance were Ambassador Frederiks and other dignitaries, members of the UDSM faculty, including the Vice Chancellor, and representatives of international oil and gas companies.

In September 2014, thirteen students, supported by BG scholarships, enrolled in the two-year Master programme. The Embassy looks forward to following their progress and to attending their graduation next!