Rwanda to resume search for gas and oil in its volcanic lake

Rwanda will resume works to explore the prospects of oil in Lake Kivu soon after the project’s Rwf1.038 billion budget received the ‘yes’ from the parliament. The budget has now been availed to support Rwanda Mines, Petroleum & Gas Board (RMB) to support its efforts to continue exploration activities of gas and oil.

According to The New Times exploration activities were supposed to start in June this year. The activities were however, disrupted by factors including Covid-19 and budget constraints. An insider said exploration known as 2D seismic survey would resume soon.

RMB organised a top meeting on the upcoming survey in Lake Kivu in Rubavu District in May this year. “The 2D seismic survey is an exploration activity aimed at imaging sedimentary layers of the subsurface area of interest,” said Ivan Twahirwa in charge of exploration, energy and industrial processes at Petroleum Board.

Twahirwa said that the exercise will help to “know more about the Kivu basin oil and gas potential”. He noted that collaboration and facilitation from stakeholders is crucial to avoid activity interference during maritime operations of seism data acquisition.

It is expected that Rwandans could start using locally produced cooking gas from Lake Kivu by the end of 2022 thanks to a project that seeks to process methane into compressed natural gas (CNG). Rwanda inked a $400 million deal with Gasmeth Energy to extract and process methane into CNG for cooking, industrial use and vehicles in February 2019.

Shema Power Lake Kivu (SPLK) is set to produce 15 megawatts of electricity by June this year, in its first phase of methane gas extraction from Lake Kivu. In total, the plant plans to add 56 megawatts to the national grid after investing $400 million in methane gas extraction, which started in October 2019, is set to be completed in December 2022.

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