Rwanda to set up strategic cooking gas reserves against shortages
London, Jan. 8, 2019 (AltAfrica)-Government is planning to introduce strategic cooking gas reserves so as to cushion the country against potential shortages, officials have said.
Oreste Niyonsaba, the Manager for clean cooking and biogas use at Energy Development Corporation Ltd (EDCL), told The New Times that the proposed reserves will cater for the rising demand for cooking gas.
He said that a feasibility study is set to be carried out in the 2019/2020 fiscal year to ascertain the demand for cooking gas across the country.
“The feasibility study is going to show us the gas demand across the country in the years from 2021 to 2024 and then after this period, we will carry out another feasibility study to show next gas demand,” he said.
The country will set up reserves capable of supplying cooking gas to Rwandans for at least three months in the event that importation is halted, he said.
The study, he said, will also reveal the amount of money that is required to set up the reserves as well as their location.
Government is also mulling a potential public-private partnership in the management of the facilities.
It is also exploring possibilities of handing over the facilities once complete to private operators.
Five per cent of Rwandan urban households use Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) for cooking, an increase of four per cent from 2014, according to official statistics.
Only 1.1 per cent of the rural households use gas for cooking. This means that, out of the 2,708,000 households in Rwanda, only 135,400 use cooking gas.
“Currently, the households using gas need at least 26,000 tonnes of cooking gas every month. This requires strategic reserves so that when there is a shortage from countries where we import from, they can still get served,” he said.
According to the Government’s seven year programme, the number of Rwandans using wood as a source of energy will be reduced to 42 per cent by 2024 from the current 83.3 per cent.
The use of LPG in cooking has increased from 724.6 tonnes in 2010 to about 3,000 tonnes in 2017 according to figures.
There are about 11 companies that are involved in gas importation, according to Energy Development Cooperation Limited (EUDCL).
Walda Keza Shaka, the Brand Manager of Safe Gas Rwanda, said that establishing strategic gas reserves is timely.
“The strategic cooking reserves are really needed because they could intervene when there is gas shortage in the country. For instance, borders might be closed for certain reasons and companies cannot be able to import cooking gas, so users can rely on the reserves,” she said.
The company, she said, imports a minimum of 3,000 tonnes of gas every month and controls the market every day so as to avoid shortage.
She added: “We have liberty to set prices by ourselves but we hope Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Agency (RURA) will regulate them (prices) .”