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Drilling to start at Karisimbi in Rwanda in April 2013

Karisimbi, Rwanda (source: flickr/ uvioc, creative commons)
Alexander Richter 27 Mar 2013

Chinese Great Wall Drilling will start drilling at the Karisimbi prospect in Rwanda in April 2013.

Reported today, the Government of Rwanda has allocated $27 million (Rwf17.1bn) towards the drilling of three geothermal wells on the southern slopes of the Karisimbi volcano. This was announced by an official from the country’s Energy, Water and Sanitation Authority (EWSA).

Drilling is planned for April 15, and is expected to last about six months. Initially drilling was supposed to start in December last year, but there was a delay in some of the necessary preparatory work that needed to be done prior to the start of drilling.

It is planned to drill three exploration wells with a depth of up to 3,000 meters at the Karisimbi geothermal prospect in Nyabihu district.  If drilling proves the availability of the expected resource, an initial pilot plant of 10 MW will be built.

In 2012, the country awarded contracts for drilling and related services to several local and international companies.

Chinese company, Great Wall Drilling Company won the drilling contract, with drilling supply to be provided by China Petroleum Development and Technology Corp. (CPTDC). Both companies already provide drilling services in Kenya.

Local firm, ERGECO will be working on road works, and Yashinoya Ltd., a company from Kenya, will be responsible for water supply and civil works.

In 2011, Kenyan KenGen conducted preliminary surface exploration and estimated a resource potential for the country of more than 700 MW.

Previous studies identified four main geothermal prospects in the areas of Karisimbi, Kinigi, Gisenyi and Bugarama and the plan is to generate 300 MW by 2017.

The drilling campaign now planned for Karisimbi, will be followed by a drilling campaign at Kinigi next year.

Initial work on geothermal started in Rwanda in 2006, and recently the country’s Prime Minister announced a $4.7 billion road map for energy production and accessibility programs for the next five years.

The government is planning a strong growth in its energy sector and expects to tap around 310 MW from geothermal as part of its large 1,100  MW energy build up program. The current installed capacity is at about 110 MW.

Source: AllAfrica