Premier Ngirente lays foundation stone for construction of gas extraction, processing plant in Karongi

On 18 August 2022 at 12:48

Prime Minister, Dr. Edouard Ngirente has laid the foundation stone for the construction of a facility for extraction and processing of gas from Lake Kivu.

GasMeth Energy Ltd is a local Rwandan company which will run the gas extraction and processing project worth US$530 million.

It was awarded a 25-year Concession Agreement by the Government of Rwanda to extract methane gas from the deep, Methane-rich waters of Lake Kivu in Karongi district, Western Province.

The plant will be built in Bwishyura Sector of Karongi District, Eastern Province.

The groundbreaking ceremony held on Thursday 18th August 2022, was also attended by the CEO of GasMeth Ltd, Stephen Tierney along with government officials including the Minister of Infrastructure, Dr. Ernest Nsabimana; the Minister of Local Government, Jean Marie Vianney Gatabazi and the CEO of Rwanda Development Board (RDB) among others.

The plant is expected to address shortages of cooking gas which has become an issue of global concern.

The project which kicked off today aims to provide a long-term, environmentally friendly, affordable source of domestically produced gas.

It includes producing the gas (held in solution in the water), processing it on barges tethered in the lake, piping it to shore, compressing it, and distributing it as Compressed Natural Gas ("CNG") within Rwanda.

The CNG will replace other fuels on the market such as; gasoline, diesel fuel, peat, coal, wood and Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG). The gas will be used primarily in Rwanda’s transportation, industrial, household, and power generation sectors and, eventually, for export.

Commenting on the start of the construction phase, Gasmeth CEO Stephen Tierney said expressed delight for the project’s progress and considered the ground-breaking ceremony as a step closer to realizing the company’s plans ’for supply of a cleaner self-sufficient energy source for Rwandans’.

In his remarks, Premier Ngirente commended Gasmeth for partnering with the Government of Rwanda in undertaking the important project for Rwanda.

In order to get the value stored in the methane gas, Premier Ngirente revealed, the Government of Rwanda welcomed Gasmeth project aimed at extracting natural gas directly from Lake Kivu, process and distribute it throughout Rwanda.

He underscored that the ’strategic project’ will create a level of energy independence for Rwanda removing the dependency on imported energy sources.

"Indeed, projects and partnerships like these play an important role in our journey towards domestic energy security," he noted.

In Rwanda, the total access to electricity stands at 71.92%, whereby 50.61% of all households are connected to the national grid, as of May 2022.

This plant is expected to provide a new energy source for domestic use, which will bring Rwanda closer to the goal of 100% access to energy by 2024.

Among others, Premier Ngirente revealed that the use of natural gas will contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by releasing less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than other fossil fuels, in line with the country’s Green Growth and Climate Resilience Programme.

"This new source of energy will help reduce usage of firewood where national dependency level is over 85% despite strong efforts to reduce this. It will also improve the health and safety dangers related to possible gas eruptions," he stated.

"The Government of Rwanda welcomes the fact that developers of this project wish to use the gas to replace fuel in vehicles, cooking in schools and other government institutions. This will address the issue of availability and affordability of gas in Rwanda," added Dr. Ngirente.

The groundbreaking is seen as a testament to the enabling environment, the Government of Rwanda has put in place to encourage investments and private sector participation.

The latter includes incentives and encouraging initiatives put in place to promote investment in the renewable energies.

Premier Ngirente has also thanked all of the people who played a role in putting the project together from the Gasmeth side, the local communities, public sector among others and reiterated Rwanda’s commitment to collaborating with Gasmeth for implementation of the project.

Speaking at the event, RDB CEO Clare Akamanzi said that Rwanda is on a journey of transformation and prosperity ’and looking for investments that are inclusive, sustainable and of good quality’.

She also welcomed the launch of the project expected to fulfil all these objectives.

About Gasmeth Energy Ltd

Gasmeth Energy Ltd is a Rwandan company focused on the processing and delivery of the Lake Kivu compressed natural gas(CNG) project. This project is expected to provide an abundant source of domestically produced gas to transform the Rwandan economy, breaking the dependence on importation of fuels. It will form the basis for attracting all new inward investment and a large step towards a green affordable future.

Prime Minister, Dr. Edouard Ngirente and the CEO of GasMeth Ltd, Stephen Tierney at the groundbreaking ceremony in Karongi Diistrict.