Gov’t - US firm Methane extraction deal delayed

A deal between the government and Contour Global, an American gas extraction firm that was due to be signed today to kick-start the Methane Gas extraction on Lake Kivu has been postponed, The New Times has learnt.
State Minister for Energy, Eng. Albert Butare.
State Minister for Energy, Eng. Albert Butare.

A deal between the government and Contour Global, an American gas extraction firm that was due to be signed today to kick-start the Methane Gas extraction on Lake Kivu has been postponed, The New Times has learnt.

The contract will now be signed at the end of this month on the request of the firm. The Energy Coordinator in the Ministry of Infrastructure, Yusuf Uwamahoro, said there were some issues that both parties were still working on before the final deal is signed.

Contour Global is expected extract 100 megawatts from this project in the Western Province.

Uwamahoro said that government and the investor were working on “one or two issues and we have shifted the deal to be signed at the end of this month.”

He explained that Contour Global would be signing two agreements, the first, a gas concession with the government allowing for the extraction, and the other, a power purchase agreement with Electrogaz, the national energy and water utility.

When extraction begins, Electrogaz will buy methane gas from Contour Global and sell it on the open market at a proposed tariff of $6cts per kilowatt according to the interim Director General of the government’s methane gas project (UPEGAZ), Charles Nyirahuku. 

Nyirahuku added that in future, private companies interested in gas extraction from Kivu will deal with Rwanda Investment Group (RIG) and Contour Global- the only two companies with government’s permission.

In a recent interview, Alex Kabuto, the Director General of the Gisenyi-based Methane gas pilot project, said that Contour Global was in the process of acquiring and installing new machinery and would soon increase output to between 50-100 megawatts.

State Minister for Energy, Albert Butare stated that Lake Kivu has potential to produce 350 mw which will solve many of national energy shortfalls.

Methane gas has long been considered as the solution of Rwanda energy requirements; exploration works on the lake began in 1963 by a Belgian company but had not yielded anything until last year when energy started being generated from the project as part of the pilot phase.

In a related development, Butare has clarified on the position of the soon to be launched Rwanda Engineers Registry Board.

The minister was on Sunday responding to recent media reports that his ministry was due to start registering engineers of all domains across the country.

Butare said that the Institution of Engineers of Rwanda-IER was already registered and is soon to be launched, “the essential job of IER is to strengthen professionalism in the field and will act as a forum for senior and young engineers for exchange of ideas, knowledge and experience within a particular engineering profession.” 

An official document from Mininfra states that the ministry is in the process of establishing the Engineers Registration Board which, once approved by cabinet and enacted into law, shall introduce procedures through which engineering professionals will be allowed to practice.

This is to avoid a situation where many people after attaining academic qualification just go straight to practice and identify themselves with the tile of “Engineer so and so” yet for one to be called an Engineer they must be approved by an official body that certifies one to practice.

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