Methane Gas in Rwanda


Methane Gas Resources is found in the Lake Kivu in the Eastern African Rift Zone. The 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 at an area of around 2,400

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

Until 2004, extraction of the gas was done on a small scale, with the extracted gas being used to run boilers at a brewery in Gisenyi. Since then, the Government of Rwanda has prioritized the production of electricity from this unique resource in order to address the growing electrical energy deficit.

Methane gas resources available in the Lake is estimated to sufficiently generate 700 MW of electricity over a period of 50 years. Apart from electricity generation, this resource can also be used to produce agriculture fertilizers and other form of liquid fuel.

Completed and Ongoing Methane-to-Power Projects

1. KivuWatt project, a subsidiary of Contour Global (US-based Company) plans to generate 100MW in two phases, the first phase, which was commissioned in December 2015 is currently producing around 26.4 MW that will be followed by the second phase of 75 MW

2. Kibuye Power (KP1) pilot project located in Rubavu district, has been generating around 3MW of electrical power with the design capacity of 3.6 MW;  Symbion Power acquired  this power plant through the liquidation process and is now mobilizing funds to revive the plant and scale it up to 50 MW.

3. Symbion Power Lake Kivu Ltd, a subsidiary of Symbion Power LLC, has signed on 8th December 2015  a 25-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with the Rwanda Energy Group (REG) for a 50 Megawatt (MW) methane gas to power project ,the Power plant will be located on Nyamyumba sector in Rubavu District. The first barge will provide 14 MW of electricity 15 months after the project reaches Financial Close.

To ensure the safe extraction of Lake Kivu methane gas and the surrounding population through the preservation of the lake’s stability, a team of international experts developed the Management Prescriptions (MPs) to establish key requirements and guidelines for exploiting the methane gas resource and are yet to be recognized in Law.




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