Source: Govt seeks $12m for methane gas exploration – Sunday News Oct 16, 2016
Dumisani Nsingo, Senior Business Reporter
THE Government needs about $12 million to carry out an extensive coal bed methane gas exploration in Lupane District, Matabeleland North Province before commencement of extraction of the resource, an official has said.
Mines and Mining Development Permanent Secretary Professor Francis Gudyanga said the Government was seeking funding to embark on a comprehensive exploration of the coal bed methane gas reserves in Lupane. He said the Government had since set up an inter-ministerial committee that includes technical and fund raising sub-committees that would look at all aspects leading to the exploitation of the gas.
“The main reason (why we are still to extract the gas) is that, to do a bankable study we need something like $12 million. Once that is achieved it then opens the industry of exploitation. It is estimated that Zimbabwe has the largest coal bed methane reserves in the whole of Sub-Saharan Africa, estimated at about 44 trillion cubic metres,” Prof Gudyanga said.
He said extraction of the coal bed methane gas would facilitate the establishment of a number of downstream industries.
“It (coal bed methane gas) can be a source of many things such as fertiliser and obviously fuels like diesel, petrol and the jet one and also it’s the beginning of plastic industry. So it really opens up a whole of sub-industries, we can have tar and other chemicals . . . ,” said Prof Gudyanga.
Discovery Investments managing director Mr Lloyd Thabani Hove said his company had sought an investor to partner to start coal bed methane gas extraction at its
100 000 hectare concession but the financier was dragging feet after the Government indicated that it would have a stake in all renewable energy exploited in the country. The company’s Special Grant is situated at Mzola and Dandanda communal areas.
“We long found an investor to partner us but the Government insists on having a stake on our project and as a result of that our financier is now sceptical. For us this is frustrating because the Government has more gas fields than us. In actual fact it’s (Government) fields are six times bigger than ours. By now we would have started extracting the gas and perhaps playing our part in ensuring adequate power in the country,” said Mr Hove.
Late last year the Government indicated that Russian energy giant, Gazprom, had expressed an interest in the extraction of gas in Lupane.
Methane is a colourless, odourless gas with a wide distribution in nature. It is the principal component of natural gas, a mixture containing about 75 percent methane, 15 percent ethane, and five percent other hydrocarbons, such as propane and butane.