International power company ContourGlobal has signed a US$91.25mn loan facility from a group of development banks to complete phase one of its methane gas KivuWatt project in Kibuye, Rwanda.

The arrangers of the deal include the Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund (EAIF), Netherlands Development Finance Company (FMO), the African Development Bank, and Belgian Investment Company for Developing Countries (BIO).

Phase one of the project, expected to cost approximately US$142mn, will remove and process otherwise hazardous methane gas trapped in the waters of Lake Kivu for use as fuel to generate critically needed electricity for sale to Rwanda’s energy, water and sanitation authority.

The extracted gas will be further processed and pumped ashore for use in a 25MW power plant via a submerged floating pipeline.

Wartsila of Finland will manufacture the electricity generating engines and construct the power plant.

By tapping the indigenous fuel, which is comprised of sub-surface methane dissolved in Lake Kivu’s deep water, the KivuWatt project will significantly lower the cost of electricity necessary to drive Rwanda’s fast growing economy, ContourGlobal says.

The facility was issued a US$140mn investment guarantee by Miga in May 2011.

Tony Lea chairman of EAIF says: “The KivuWatt project is one of the most innovative in the history of electricity generation. EAIF is delighted that its role as co-arranger of the debt finance will enable the exploitation of the renewable gas resource in Lake Kivu for the benefit of Rwanda and Rwandans.”

ContourGlobal is a private New York-based international power company with 3250MW in operations or under construction in 20 countries.

The firm develops and operates electric power generation facilities powered by natural gas, hydro, wind, solar, biomass, coal and fuel oil.

In 2011, the turnover of the group will be approximately US$900mn.