SHANGANI Energy Exploration (SEE), the company exploring coal bed methane in the Matabeleland North Province said it will start a pilot gas production for power generation in 2024.
SEE, a joint venture between Sinosteel of China and Zimasco intends to invest nearly US$800 million to develop gas wells and building a 400 megawatts (MW) power station.
Exploration work was restarted in July 2021, involving core drilling of one hole on each of the three special grants planned at various approximate depths between 450 and 1 000 metres.
Core drilling was completed in September 2021 at 690 metres at the first special grant and core samples taken for evaluation of methane gas content through desorption tests. SEE is in the process of finalising arrangement for wireline logging to be carried out in the hole completed at this first special grant.
This exploration method is used as part of gas resource quantification.
The plan is to get this completed during the first quarter of 2022.
Core drilling at the second special grant would be completed in second quarter, with the work being carried out by a South African contractor, who will also do some works at the third special grant.
Other works will include installing bigger pumps on existing wells to pump out water quicker thereby releasing gas and measuring its quality and flow rate to ascertain commercial viability.
“Results of the above works (phase one) will inform the second phase which is expected to be the sinking of new gas wells after successful application for production special grant status,” SEE said in a recent update on the project.
“This will be the start of gas production for power generation as well as liquefaction to LNG (liquid natural gas) which can be a substitute for diesel in converted lorries and buses.
“Pilot gas production and electricity generation on a small scale is planned for 2023/24 and this will encourage larger levels of investment. More work for phase three will be scoped in due course, again informed by results of the second phase.”
Other areas include Matabeleland North which is endowed with natural resources that can change the economic complexion of the province if fully exploited.
In fact, Zimbabwe has huge deposits of untapped CBM gas in the Hwange, Lupane and Gwayi areas.
Over the years, drilling and desorption tests have been conducted and resources that run into trillions of cubic feet have been discovered, according to Government’s geological department.