LKMP

Lake Kivu Monitoring Programme

lkmpPhoto: Water samples being treated in the LKMP Laboratory

In 2008, when the first pilot plant of methane gas extraction started its operations in Lake Kivu, the Ministry of Infrastructure (MININFRA) created a unit in charge of monitoring the impacts of methane gas extraction on the Lake, known as Lake Kivu Monitoring Programme (LKMP). This unit has been operational since 2006. From the beginning, it was supported by the government of Rwanda and various donors to carry out its tasks. In 2012, the unit moved from the Ministry to a new organization called Energy and Water Sanitation Authority (EWSA). Since 2014 it is embedded in its successor, the Rwanda Energy Group (REG)/ Energy Development Corporation Limited (EDCL).

Lake Kivu is one of the East African rift lakes. It is situated on the border between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). It contains enormous amounts of dissolved gases: ~250 km3 of carbon dioxide (CO2) and ~55 to 60 km3 of methane (CH4). How exactly the methane is formed, as synthesis of CO2 and H2O or through other mechanisms is not undisputed. It is however recommended to reduce the partial pressures of the gasses by extracting methane gas from the lake. This will deliver economic benefits and reduce the risks of a gas outburst in the Lake. It was thus decided that the CH4 should be harvested and used to produce electricity. The first pilot plant for gas to power, Kibuye Power One (KP1), produced electricity from 2008 to March 2016.KivuWatt has the first plant at industrial scale with a capacity of 26.2 MWe. This has started gas extraction and power production in December 2015. Harvesting methane gas from Lake Kivu has a dual benefit of crucial importance: it reduces the risks of gas outburst, it can be used to produce electricity. Power surplus can contribute to the socio-economic development of the region. However, inadequate extraction of methane gas can have detrimental effects. This may vary from uncontrolled ecological impacts to dilution of the gas resources or even full destruction of the lake’s stability. Besides, gas leakage of CH4 and CO2, will significantly contribute to the global warming.

Two operators have obtained concession contracts for a total power production of 150 MWe: KivuWatt Ltd owns a concession for 25 years with an installed capacity of 100 MWe and also Symbion has signed a concession for 25 years with an installed capacity of 50 MWe.

The economic value of Lake Kivu, the risks associated with gas extraction  as a shared resource calls for an effective regulatory supervision.

LKMP is thus the designated body to monitor the ecological impact of industrial developments of Lake Kivu gas resources in Rwanda. This supervision is done through setting and upholding standards, through inspection and monitoring of methane gas extraction facilities and procedures.

Lake Kivu Monitoring ProgrammePhoto: LKMP scientist taking water sample from the Lake for further lab analysis, as one of the routine monitoring activities

 

Please click here to access LKMP's website

 

 

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