21 September 2012

Zimbabwe: Gas Project to Take Off Next Year

THE Government says it expects "temporary generation" at the Lupane Gas Project to start next year. Energy and Power Development Minister Elton Mangoma said tenders for exploration of the project had already gone out. "Tenders have already gone out for quantification of gas in Lupane for the gas project and preliminary indications show that the project can be a success," he said.

"We anticipate temporary generation to begin next year in Lupane."

He said this during the ZimBuild Infrastructure Financing Conference on Wednesday.

The Government expects the quantification process to be completed by January next year, paving the way for developments in respect of full implementation of the project.

A ZPC official recently said work on the development of the Lupane gas project was 10 percent complete.

The project, granted National Project Status by Government in 2007, has the potential to ease Zimbabwe's power woes.

The country is currently facing electricity shortages, generating around 1 200 megawatts (MW) against the peak period national demand of about 2 200MW.

In a bid to boost the country's power output, Minister Mangoma said the State would soon be setting up a 100MW solar plant in Gwanda, as well as signing a Memorandum of Understanding with the Chinese for the development of a 1 000MW coal plant.

"We are currently looking for an investor in the solar project and to the extent that negotiations are completed soon, the project should be completed by July next year," he said.

"We have also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Chinese for a 1 000MW coal plant."

The minister said these infrastructure initiatives were part of the Government's commitment to meet energy requirements able to sustain a US$100 billion economy.

Funding of these projects will receive further impetus as the Infrastructure Development Bank of Zimbabwe (IDBZ) has said it would soon launch a bond issue to raise US$30 million for energy projects, according to its acting director, Mr Alex Machimbirike.

"We will soon be going onto the market to raise US$30 million through a bond issue, monies which will go towards energy projects," he said.

But he would not give any timeline for the issuance.

The US$30 million bond issue would mark the first phase of the IDBZ's implementation of its mandate to raise US$50 million worth of Infrastructure Development Bonds.

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