Government sets up gas depot

Source: Government sets up gas depot | Sunday Mail (Local News)

Lincoln Towindo

Government is setting up a multi-million dollar Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) depot in Ruwa in order to provide local storage facilities for the gas and build local reserves.

There are also ongoing negotiations with a foreign fuel conglomerate to ensure consistent and reliable supply of the commodity.

Over the years, LP gas has become a preferred source of energy, especially for household cooking owing to its reliability and comparatively low cost.

However, lack of a localised storage facilities has often led to intermittent supply gaps and stock-outs.

Obtaining foreign market shortages are also limiting the ability of importers to guarantee steady supplies.

The emergence of a black market for the product has also made the situation worse. Energy and Power Development Minister Dr Jorum Gumbo told The Sunday Mail that construction of the Ruwa plant is already underway.

“LP gas has become a critical source of fuel in the country. It is now being used in many households, particularly for cooking. At the moment, we have a number of private companies that are bringing the gas into the country and we have discovered that at times, they are struggling to meet demand.

“Just like petrol and diesel, we do not produce the gas here in Zimbabwe, we have to import it and that requires foreign currency, which we all know is a challenge,” said Minister Gumbo.

Dr Gumbo said government intends to engage a foreign supplier to set up tanks so that they bring the gas to Zimbabwe for storage and eventually retailing.

“But also there are already plans from our side to build a depot to store gas — just the same way we keep our petrol and diesel — so that it is stored in bond there before being sold,” he said.

South African mining company, Tumagole Consortium last month expressed an interest to develop the coal-bed methane project in Lupane, Matabeleland North.

The company is prepared to invest R55 billion in the venture.

Natural gas reserves were discovered in the Lupane-Lubimbi area, Matabeleland North, a few decades ago and exploration and pilot production works have proved that the resource can be exploited commercially for domestic and industrial use.