Rwandans to use Kivu gas for cooking, car fuel as Rwanda reaches $400 million methane deal with Gasmeth Energy

By The Inspirer writter

Rwanda will no longer have to hinge on imports of Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG) that is used for cooking in the county, and cooking gas might be cheaper once a new project to extract and compress methane Gas from Lake Kivu is implemented.

The compressed natural gas will be distributed on both the local and international market.

The move could scale up the use of cooking gas instead of high reliance on forewood and charcoal as cooking fuel.

Rwanda has signed an  over $ 400 million deal with Gasmeth Energy to extract and process methane gas from Lake Kivu.

The undertaking aims to generate employment for between 600-800 people during the construction phase and 400 employees after construction, according to a statement from Rwanda Development Board (RDB).

The deal reached on Friday between the Government of Rwanda represented by the Rwanda Mines, Petroleum and Gas Board (RMB) and RDB, and Gasmeth Energy Limited will see the latter extract and process methane gas from Lake Kivu.
Gasmeth Energy Limited was represented by CEO Stephen Tierney at the signing ceremony.

Gasmeth Energy plans to finance, construct and maintain a gas extraction, processing and compression project.

The project will include a gas extraction plant on Lake Kivu, where Gasmeth Energy will extract and separate methane gas from water and thereafter transport it to an onshore plant where they will compress it.

The compressed natural gas will be distributed on both the local and international market.

The project aims to generate employment for between 600-800 people during the construction phase. The Gasmeth Energy project will have 400 employees after construction.

Claire Akamanzi, the RDB Chief Executive Officer, said “Natural gas is the most environmentally friendly fossil fuel. The natural gas produced by the plant will help reduce the use of wood and charcoal as a cooking fuel as well as diesel fuel in the automotive industry.”

The deep water of Lake Kivu contains dissolved methane and carbon dioxide.

These gases pose a serious risk to all the oxygen dependent life in the vicinity of the lake as they continue to build up. However, methane gas also provides an energy resource valued at billions of dollars for the Kivu region.

“We therefore welcome the Gasmeth Energy project because not only will it reduce the risk of a methane gas explosion, it will also provide jobs, reduce Rwanda’s natural gas import bill, increase gas exports and provide cleaner cooking fuel for Rwandans,” Akamanzi observed.

According to the 2013/14 Integrated Household Living Conditions Survey (EICV4), over 80 % of Rwandan households use firewood and charcoal as cooking fuel, which poses a threat to environmental protection as people resort to cutting many trees to get wood for cooking.

Currently, only 1.1 per cent of the rural households use gas for cooking, according to Rwanda Energy Group (REG), implying that out of Rwanda’s  estimated 2,708,000 households in Rwanda, about 135,400 use the gas.

Lake Kivu has three types of gas identified so far, namely Carbon Dioxide, Methane and Hydrogen Sulphide. Information from REG suggest that all these gases can have fatal effects if emitted or released in large quantities.

The lake is estimated to contain 300 billion cubic meters of carbon dioxide and 60 billion cubic meters of methane gas – shared equally between Rwanda and the DRC.

The quantity of methane available in Lake Kivu is believed to be sufficient to supply 700 megawatts of electricity for over 55 years.

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Elias Hakizimana

Elias Hakizimana, CEO&Founder of The Inspirer Ltd,(www.rwandainspirer.com) is a professional Rwandan Journalist with Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Communication, received from University of Rwanda’s College of Arts and Social Sciences (CASS) in 2014. He served various media houses in Rwanda including Rwanda Broadcasting Agency (RBA) in 2013 and became passionate with English Online and Print Media Publications where he exercised his talent as a Freelance News Reporter for The New Times, The Independent, The Rwanda Focus, Panorama and more before he became a Self-Entrepreneur as the CEO and Founder of The Inspirer Limited in early 2017.

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