Firm seeks $700m for coal-bed methane exploitation

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HARARE – One of the three firms granted a coal-bed methane concession by government in Lupane, Matabeleland North  Province, Discovery Investments, has said it required about $700 million  to start commercial gas production.

The company, whose concession is in the Siwale area in Mzola, Lupane  has already completed exploration and was issued with an Environmental  Impact Assessment certificate. Discovery Investments managing director Thabani Hove said the project  had reached production stage, but extraction would only start after  securing funding.

“Our Lupane Gas project is now at a stage to start production. We are  very grateful to the new government that has now created an enabling  environment for us to now aggressively start looking for investors. We are looking for about $700 million (to commence production),” he said.

Hove said from initial projections, the gas could be exploited over a  period of 50 years. In an era where gas is now a key commodity in the country, Zimbabwe  could benefit immensely from the exploitation of the gas.

The appetite for gas consumption is growing in the country with the  Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority saying the country has recorded a  significant rise in household consumption of liquefied petroleum gas in  recent years.

Through exploitation of coal-bed methane gas, analysts contend Zimbabwe  could turn from a net importer of fertilizers to a net exporter, which  would help preserve hard currency. Coal-bed methane gas is used to produce hydrogen, which in turn is used  in the manufacture of fertiliser.

Fertiliser maker, Sable Chemicals, has also hinted on plans to  transform its current electricity-based production process to gas. – New Ziana

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