About the project
Methane gas sub-sector status Lake Kivu is estimated to contain 250 billion cubic metres of carbon dioxide and 55 billion cubic metres of methane gas, with a further 150 to 250 million cubic metres of methane being generated annually in the lake. The resource is shared equally between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Methane has been used in a small scale way since the 1960s, but it is only in recent years that serious plans for utilising this resource have been made. The main end-use that is presently envisaged is the production of electricity. The use of a proportion of the methane for heating applications and for petrochemicals (in particular for conversion to liquid fuels) is also being considered and investigated.
For electricity production, the quantity of methane that is available is believed to be sufficient to power 700 MW of electricity generation (half for Rwanda) over a period of 55 years.
Methane gas projects
The government-sponsored a 3.6 MW methane gas pilot project (KP1) that was completed in November 2008 and it has been supplying electricity to the national grid. It has acted as a catalyst in attracting funding for other Lake Kivu methane gas projects. The GoR is in the process of entering into a joint venture partnership with Israel Africa Ltd for the KP1 pilot project. The plan is to first reach maximum capacity of the pilot plant, and then upgrade it to 50MW in two phases. Other projects being developed are:
- The Rwandan Investment Group (RIG) is developing another pilot project of 3.6 MW, success of which will lead to development of 50 MW facilities.
- A Gas Concession Agreement and Power Purchase Agreement for 100 MW have been signed with a US American private investor in March 2009.
- Other private sector initiatives by groups of local and foreign investors envisage projects of between 50 MW and 100 MW by each group, though the bigger projects may be developed in phases of 20-25 MW per phase. Discussions on the structuring and financing of these projects, and the establishment of power purchase and other necessary agreements, are on-going.
- It is envisaged to develop a joint 200 MW methane gas to power project by the Governments of DRC and Rwanda. Modalities of this project remain yet to be negotiated. It also planned to use an equivalent of 50MW of methane gas to produce liquid fuel, and it is in this regard that a Memorandum of Agreement has been signed with a private investor for a gas to liquid project
Putting The methane Gas to work
65 billion m3 of usable methane are lying dormant at the bottom of Lake Kivu, at a depth of 250 m.
This manna from heaven, if exploited, will give Rwanda an energy source commensurate with its development projects.
Distributed by gas pipeline or compressed and then transported by road it could supply the country’s industries: cementworks, tea-drying plant, brewery etc.Used by gas driven engines with alternators, this methane will play a role in suppling the country’s electricity.
The fight against deforestation is another major point in favour of the exploitation of Lake Kivu’s methane