The Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar


Oil and Gas exploration activities in Tanzania date to the 1950s when British Petroleum (BP) and Shell conducted exploration works in the region’s coastal areas and drilled several exploration wells in Zanzibar. Following the establishment of the Zanzibar Mining Decree in 1955, exploration wells were drilled on each of Zanzibar’s two main Islands. The deep wells, Zanzibar 1 and Pemba 5 were drilled by BP/Shell group based on surface geological surveys. The drilling of wells did not discover commercially viable hydrocarbon. The hydrocarbon shows from these two wells, and the oil seeps at Tundaua on Pemba gave encouraging signs that the source rocks within the study area were mature and capable of hydrocarbon generation.

In 1969, Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation (TPDC) was established through Presidential Order No. 140 to undertake oil and gas exploration both in Tanzania Mainland and Zanzibar.  The Petroleum (Exploration and Production) Act of 1980 covered petroleum exploration for the United Republic of Tanzania (URT).  In 1978 TPDC made a significance contribution to exploration by conducting a successful onshore 2D seismic survey in Zanzibar. 

A new era in the development of oil and gas sector of Zanzibar was initiated in 2011 when the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar (RGoZ) and the Government of Ras al Khaimah embarked on a joint effort with respect to bilateral cooperation that included the petroleum subsector.

Following the enactment of the Petroleum Act No.21 of 2015 by the United Republic of Tanzania, the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar was obliged to develop its own petroleum regime by establishing the Oil and Gas (Upstream) Policy and the Oil and Gas (Upstream) Act.  A Special Taskforce was formed by the Government to develop various upstream petroleum instruments. Zanzibar Oil and Gas Policy (Upstream) was established and approved in 2015 followed by the preparation of legislation as part of the Oil and Gas

Policy implementation strategies. On 15 November 2016, the Zanzibar Oil and Gas Act No. 6 [Oil and Gas (Upstream) Act No. 6 of 2016] was signed.

Following the enactment of the Act, the RGoZ established the Oil and Gas regulator, Zanzibar Petroleum Regulatory Authority (ZPRA) on March 18th, 2017. A year later on June 14th, 2018, the Government established a National Oil Company, Zanzibar Petroleum Development Company (ZPDC). The role of ZPRA is to promote, regulate and manage all upstream petroleum operations on behalf of the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar, while the role of ZPDC is to serve for oil and gas commercial interests of the government and participate in the Oil and Gas operations on behalf of the Government.


The main functions of the Authority are:

  • Monitor and regulate the exploration, development and production of petroleum in Zanzibar
  • Advise the Minister responsible for petroleum affairs on the granting, renewing, suspending and cancelling of petroleum exploration licences, development licences and production permits.
  • Provide information to the relevant Authority for the collection of royalty, cost oil/gas, profit oil/gas, taxes and fees from petroleum activities.
  • Advising the Government on proposed development plans, infrastructure development, tail end plan and decommissioning of installations submitted by Zanzibar Petroleum Development Company (ZPDC) and Contractors.
  • Administer compliance with Zanzibar Laws and Petroleum agreements by all stakeholders.
  • Ensure the establishment of a central database of persons involved in petroleum activities, manage petroleum data and provide periodic updates and publication of the status of petroleum activities.