DRC,Rwanda Seal Deal For 200MW on Lake Kivu

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By Godfrey Ntagungira

Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) signed an agreement that will see both countries jointly extract natural gas fired electricity gas from the resourceful Lake Kivu.

Rwanda’s state minister in charge of energy and water, Germaine Kamayirese, said the agreement is meant for the gas extraction and electricity generation facility which will provide 200 MW of natural gas fired electricity.

The agreement for joint exploitation of methane gas in Lake Kivu dates back to 1975 when the two countries committed to work together to generate energy from the lake, but 40 years later, only Rwanda has made progress.

While the lake presents the potential of generating over 700 megawatts of methane gas, according to studies, only 26 megawatts have been extracted through the Kivuwatt project on the Rwandan side.

The development come following the August 2016, President Paul Kagame and his Congolese counterpart, Joseph Kabila, meeting in Rubavu, when both leaders declared their willingness to develop a joint project for the production of electricity from methane gas.

Aimé Ngoy Mukena, minister of petroleum and gas said that this is not the first time both countries such an agreements but time it’s for real.

‘Both Rwanda and DRC have talked a lot and a signed a number agreements but no action was taken- this time we are going to walk the talk” Mukena assured.

If extracted, Kivu’s methane could be used to add up to 960 megawatts of electricity-generating capacity, more than six times what Rwanda has now. Both Rwanda and the eastern DRC, still face crippling power shortages and expanding their electric grids will be an economic game changer.

Studies states that the 2,400 sq.km 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.

If the extraction becomes a reality both countries could even help improve their relations.

Experts say the extraction of methane gas from Lake Kivu has a double benefit; reducing the risk of a possible catastrophic outburst of the gas and solving the issue of energy shortages in Rwanda.

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