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Botswana's gas reserves, extracted from coal beds, could play an important role in the southern African country's energy security
This is according to Anthony Gilby, CEO and managing director of Tlou Energy, when he addressed the Africa Independents Forum in London this week. He said that Botswana has a "very attractive power market", and that the country's coal bed methane (CBM) reserves could also be used to help South African residents, industries and businesses access electricity.
Botswana has independently certified gas reserves in place and Gilby believes that the first gas-to-power plant could be online "potentially by 2019". He said he expects drilling to commence in the second half of 2018. Power grid infrastructure already in place in Botswana is "world class", he said.
"This will replace expensive power, including imports and diesel generation," said Gilby. Tlou Energy has 100 per cent ownership of Lasedi, an 8,300km² licence area in which drilling for CBM at depths between 400m and 1,000m has taken place. Fracking is not required to release the gas, according to Gilby.
He added that as well as the impressive CBM reserves, Botswana is a "good, stable democracy with low levels of corruption".
"[Extracting CBM for gas-to-power] will help diversify the economy away from diamonds," he said. "It is a reliable source of clean energy."
As well as having full ownership of the licence area, Tlou retains the right to hold up to 50 per cent in power generation assets.