Methane Gas In Rwanda

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Methane Gas in Rwanda is found in Lake Kivu in the Eastern African Rift Zone and the DRC.

The 2,400 lake contains high concentrations of naturally occurring methane gas (CH4) and carbon dioxide (CO2), with the highest concentrations at depths ranging from 270m to 500m.

The oxygenated upper layer of the lake from the surface to a depth of 60m supports the lake’s biology. The resource is shared equally between Rwanda and the DRC.

The PMP (Peat, Methane, and Petroleum) Unit, at EWSA is developing methane projects potential for Methane-to-Power Generation. Lake Kivu contains about 300 billion cubic carbon dioxide and 60 billion cubic meters of CH4.An estimated 120 to 250 million cubic meters of CH4 is generated annually in the Lake.

Rwanda wishes to utilize this resource to develop methane-to-power projects and other uses such as fertilizer and gas-to liquids projects.

The Methane in Lake Kivu is estimated to be sufficient to generate 700 MW of electricity over a period of 55 years. Rwanda’s share of the total generation potential is about 350 MW, with the rest being DRC’s share.

It has the capacity to generate 120 million to 150 million m3 of CH4 per annum, representing a power potential of 90 to 130 MW.

Historical Use of Lake Kivu Methane in Rwanda

Lake Kivu methane was first taped by Union chimique de Belge with a gas pilot plant at cape Rubona in 1963 to supply the Bralirwa brewery. Bralirwa brewery converted one of its boilers to use gas in place of fuel oil, and was supplied with 5,000 cubic meters/day of methane gas purified to 80%.The pilot plant was recently shut down after operating for over 40 years.

Existing Methane-to-Power Projects in Rwanda

·         KivuWatt,a subsidiary of Contour Global(USA),is developing a 100 MW plant,KP I, a 45 MW pilot plant developed by GoR,is operating about 1.5 MW since late 2007 with plan to scale-up capacity to 50MW.

·         REC (Rwanda Energy Company) is subsidiary of RIG (Rwanda Investment Group) undertaking a 3.6 MW plant project, is seeking new partners and investors to revive and scale up the project.


Available Documents

Numerous reports on Lake Kivu going to 1937 are available. Recent studies by LAHMEYEROSAE and K.Tietze, and Lake Management Prescriptions are also available.

Investment Opportunities

Opportunities in Existing Concessions:

·         Kivuwatt’s 25 MW phase I(Estimation cost $140m) is under construction with GoR Sovereign Guarantee and MIGA guarantee. The 75 MW second phase will need financing. The estimated cost is $260m and completion is planned for 2014.

·         REC is seeking partners and financing to revive the plant and scale it up to scale to 50 MW. The estimated cost is $ 106m and completion is planned for 2015.

·         Ongoing negotiations with private partners for 100 MW may be  an opportunity once they are not concluded.


Policy, Law & Regulation

·         Draft Gas Law and Regulations for methane projects is under review by Parliament.

·         A draft concession Agreement and draft PPA is under development for new projects(existing projects have PPAs with utility).

·     Management Prescriptions for the safe extraction of Lake Kivu gas resources are to be adopted

Inauguration of KivuWatt Methane Gas power plant

Posted in project -methan

His Excellency Paul Kagame officially inaugurates KivuWatt Methane Gas power plant.

Karongi, May 16, 2016 - HE Paul Kagame launched KivuWatt Gas Methane Power Plant, the only gas water extraction power plant operating in the world located in Karongi district, western province.

The Phase I of Kivuwatt Methane Gas plant project currently generating 26MW was completed in November 2015. CoutourGlobal, an American energy firm behind the project started to sell the power to the National Utility in December 2015.

In his speech, HE Paul Kagame thanked key partners of this project including African Development Bank, Government of the United States of America, Netherlands, Belgium, The European Union, and World Bank among others. “We are happy to be working with you on very important projects like this one and look forward to even stronger cooperation and continued production of electricity that will be sufficient”. H.E Noted.

President Kagame especially thanked Contour Global, the company behind Kivuwatt project for bringing phase 1 of it to a successful conclusion as it has been witnessed. “Many people thought it was actually impossible to be successful with this kind of endeavor but I was happy today that things have proved to be different”.

President Kagame expressed that Kivuwatt Power Plant is an example of what Rwanda stands for.  He said that the country still has a long way to go to achieve anticipated power generation  

“26 MW we have today is only one step very positive, very important step, 26 MW will not address our power problems but it is an indication of what is possible in trying to address this challenge and this milestone goes beyond just being 26 Mw but tells us that in a short time we could actually address all these challenges we have” President Kagame said.

He called upon the Democratic Republic of Congo and to join hands with Rwanda in line with extracting the Methane gas from Lake Kivu as both countries share the generation potential. 

Joint efforts will help to scale up and produce as much electricity that is going to serve Rwanda as well as DRC.

Kivuwatt Power Plant production added 26MW to the National electricity grid. After the completion of the project first phase, the project management has now switched focus to the second phase of the project to be completed by the year 2020 with a production capacity of 75 MW to the national grid. Works are expected to start early next year.

In 2009, the Government of Rwanda signed concession agreement with Kivuwatt Ltd, a subsidiary of ContourGlobal, an American energy Firm to construct and operate a facility to extract methane gas from Lake Kivu and generate 100 MW of electrical power in two phases. 
Extraction of methane gas from Lake Kivu has a double advantage; reducing the risk of a possible catastrophic outburst of the gas and resolving challenges of energy shortages in Rwanda

Under the second Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS2), the government planned to increase the number of households connected to electricity in the country from around 24 per cent today to 70 per cent by the year 2018.

HE Paul Kagame together with Joseph Brandt, President and

Chief Executive Officer of ContourGlobal launching officially the plant.