Reuters reports that Rwanda has signed a $400 million deal to produce bottled gas from Lake Kivu. The lake emits such dense clouds of methane that it is known as one of Africa’s “Killer Lakes”.
The project is a seven year deal which will be implemented by Gasmeth Energy, owned by U.S., Nigerian and Rwandan businessmen. The company would suck gas from the lake’s deep floor and bottle it for use as fuel. The process should help prevent toxic gas bubbling to the surface.
Rwanda already has two companies that extract gas from Lake Kivu to power electricity plants.
Chief executive of the Rwanda Development Board, Clare Akamanzi told Reuters that bottled methane would help cut local reliance on wood and charcoal, the fuels most households and tea factories use in the East African nation of 12 million people.
She said “we expect to have affordable gas which is environmentally friendly. We expect that people can use gas instead of charcoal, the same with industries like tea factories instead of using firewood, they use gas. It’s part of our green agenda”.
Lake Kivu, which lies in the volcanic region on Rwanda’s border with the Democratic Republic of Congo, emit such dense clouds of methane that scientists fear they might erupt, killing those living along its shore.
Eruptions from much smaller methane-emitting lakes in Cameroon, one causing a toxic cloud and another sparking an explosion, killed a total of nearly 1,800 people. The shores of Lake Kivu are much more densely populated.
Gasmeth Energy said it would finance, build and maintain a gas extraction, processing and compression plant to sell methane domestically and abroad.