By Mpho Tebele
GABORONE – Australian firm Tlou Energy Limited has started generating electricity from coal bed methane (CBM), a first for Botswana where power has traditionally been sourced from thermal coal and solar.
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The Australian company announced this week that it is now powering generators at its Selemo pilot project in Mmashoro village in central Botswana using CBM as it works towards advancing the country’s first gas-fired power station that would feed into the national grid.
Gas has been produced in the Selemo area of the Lesedi operation for around a year, and overall Lesedi is estimated to host some 3,2 trillion cubic feet of gas. It is the most advanced CBM asset in Botswana, Tlou highlighted.
“This is the first power generated from CBM in the country and this achievement reinforces our view that CBM Gas-to-Power is achievable in Botswana using gas from the Lesedi Project,” said Tony Gilby
He said producing the first Gas-to-Power via CBM in Botswana is an extremely significant milestone for the company and in effect proof of a concept of first gas monetisation.
He said as the first power generated from CBM in the country, the achievement reinforces his firm’s view that CBM Gas-to- Power is achievable in Botswana using gas from its project.
Gilby said CBM gas is a cheaper and cleaner alternative to diesel generation and is significantly cleaner than coal fired.
He also noted that by using CBM to power generators it will reduce the group’s own spending on diesel.
Gilby added: “This is the first power generated from CBM in the country and this achievement reinforces our view that CBM Gas-to-Power is achievable in Botswana using gas from the Lesedi Project.
“CBM gas is a cheaper and cleaner alternative to diesel generation and is significantly cleaner than coal fired power generation.”
Detailing the operation, Tlou said that the power needed for the Selemo pilot project had been provided solely by diesel generators before the company redirected gas from wells, which would otherwise be flared, it has now been able to replace one of the diesel generators.
It expects to replace another diesel generator in the near term, which will save further fuel costs at the project.
The company said that it expects to reduce its diesel requirements by around 50,000 litres per year, and its savings should grow over time as the second gas generation unit is installed.
The company states that it is focused on delivering power in Botswana and Southern Africa through the development of coal bed methane (‘CBM’) at its Lesedi CBM projects.
Botswana has a severe energy shortage and is currently relying on expensive imported power and diesel generation to deliver its requirements.
However, Tlou Energy says that as the 100 percent owners of one of the most advanced CBM project in southern Africa, the Lesedi CBM Project (‘Lesedi’ or ‘the Project’), Tlou Energy added that provides investors with access to a compelling immediate and longer-term opportunity using domestic gas to produce power and displace the expensive diesel and import market.
By Mpho Tebele
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