Light in sight for lesedi project

Baitshepi Sekgweng

Tlou Energy target July for power project’s completion

Tlou Energy’s ambitious Lesedi Project is falling into shape, with work said to be 50 percent complete.

The multi-million Pula undertaking, which includes a 100km transmission line linking Nyamakatse Ranch gas wells with Serowe Substation, is expected to be completed by July – exactly a year after construction work first began.

Once up-and-running, the initiative will see Tlou Energy produce electricity using coal bed methane, with 10MW power set to be sold to Botswana Power Corporation (BPC). It is expected this will provide annual revenue of approximately P100 million.

Subject to funding availability, there is real potential for future expansion to produce 25MW and beyond.

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As it stands, the 66KV transmission line is at an advanced stage, with wooden poles already erected. Stringing work has also started, with focus now turning to steel monopole section where poles will be erected.

The gas processing facility is also almost fully complete and expected to be finished by the end of March.

With a substation still required at the Nyamakatse end of the line, Tlou Energy has signed a contract for work to begin.

Updating media on progress last week, Tlou Energy Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Anthony Gilby confirmed everything was on track.

“We have consistent gas flows therefore we are progressing well towards the objective of delivery of power towards the end of 2023. It’s a new project so we don’t expect everything to run smoothly but the main focus now is to deliver the first power, then we can breathe a sigh of relief!”

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Gilby also revealed they are looking at ways to commercialize flared gas.

“Otherwise it will be waste of resources to have the gas burning,” he explained.

Light in sight for lesedi project
HARD AT WORK: Gabaake Gabaake

For his part, Tlou Energy Executive Director, Gabaake Gabaake noted the project was the first of its kind in Botswana and indeed the region.

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Because of this, they had to build everything from scratch, encountering several hiccups along the way.

“We are hard at work, and that is ten years of putting a lot of money in a project but not getting any returns. What we have achieved thus far is the demonstration of commitment. It’s expensive to explore gas where there is no infrastructure in place. Challenges have always been there: first of it was the Environmental Impact Assessment, which took long since we were still learning. Further a lot of money was spent into gas drilling and to test gas flows is expensive since the technology is not available in Botswana,” stated Gabaake.

Located on an area of 8, 000 square kilometers, the Lesedi Project currently has 50 people working on site, 99 percent being Batswana.

When substations works and further drilling begins, that number is expected to rise to anywhere between 100 – 150. When fully functional and supplying the national grid, the facility will employ 100 people.

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