Rwanda’s Lake Kivu deal could help the country cut gas imports

Rwanda signed a $400 million seven-year deal with Gasmeth Energy to produce bottled methane gas from Lake Kivu, and is expected to significantly cut cost of gas importation for cooking and industrial use in the country.

Rwanda has been importing gas from Kenya and Tanzania, but this deal will bring about the local extraction and processing of methane gas from the deep floor of Lake Kivu which emits dense clouds of methane, and bottle it as fuel for household and industrial use.

This deal is seen as quite timely as there has been significant increase in the local demand for gas in Rwanda. The Ministry of Infrastructure says the demand for gas has risen by 50 per cent since 2012, and estimates the demand to rise even further by 2024.

Rwanda already powers electricity plants from methane gas (also from Lake Kivu), but this deal is to provide safer alternatives to the use of charcoal and firewood for household cooking by 83 per cent of its population.

Prior to this deal, scientists have expressed grave concerns over Lake Kivu, which also bears the name ‘Killer Lake’, as the dense clouds of methane pose a threat that it might erupt and cause serious, even fatal outcomes for those living along its shore.

Gasmeth Energy has committed to financing, building and maintain a gas extraction, processing and compression plant to sell methane gas domestically and internationally.

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