Rwanda's Lake Kivu gas project advances

ContourGlobal, New York, signed a contract with Rwanda's government to extract solution gas from Lake Kivu to generate electricity.

By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, Mar. 3 -- ContourGlobal, New York, signed a contract with Rwanda's government to extract solution gas from Lake Kivu to generate electricity.

The $325 million KivuWatt project is to start generating 25 Mw in 2010 and another 75 Mw 2 years later. Power from a plant at Kibuye, Rwanda, is expected to ultimately supply Uganda, Congo (former Zaire), and Burundi as well as Rwanda.

ContourGlobal plans to develop, build, and operate several barges to extract methane from lake water at 350 m. It will process the gas and move it by pipeline to the Kibuye generator, which will more than double the amount of power produced in Rwanda.

Rwanda's Electrogaz power distributor will buy the electricity under a 25-year contract.

ContourGlobal has been designing and developing the project for 2 years and has run extensive seabed surveys and methane gas sampling at the lake's lower depths.

The lake is estimated to contain nearly 2 tcf of methane and five times that much carbon dioxide subject to explosive release within a few hundred years in connection with nearby volcanic activity. About 1.3 tcf is believed recoverable. The volumes are believed to be growing.

Lake Kivu, 485 m deep, covers 2,400 sq km. Its surface elevation is 1,462 m.

The project is designed to overcome a severe electricity shortage, cut deforestation, and reduce the risk of an uncontrolled release of the lake's gas, the company said.

The government placed in operation a 4 Mw pilot plant in November 2008 that is feeding electricity to the national grid, ContourGlobal said.

Contour Global is involved in other power projects in Nigeria and Togo.

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