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Tlou Energy announces operational report

Published by
World Coal,


Tlou Energy Ltd is an ASX, AIM and BSE listed company focused on delivering power in Botswana and southern Africa through the exploration and development of gas and solar. The Lesedi Power Project is the company's most advanced project with plans to develop gas and solar power generation assets with the sale of electricity into the regional power grid.

Project finance

The company is currently seeking funding for development of Lesedi. The project is proposed to be developed in two phases.

Phase one involves transmission line construction, transformers, grid connection, electricity generators and potentially the drilling of additional gas wells. The ~100 km transmission line will run from the Lesedi project to the town of Serowe where it will connect to the existing power grid. Initial generation is proposed to be up to 2 MW of electricity. Funding required for phase one is ~US$10 million which can be staged if necessary or prudent to do so.

Phase two funding is for the expansion of electricity generation up to 10 MW. This will involve drilling more gas wells and the purchase of additional electricity generation assets. Funding required for phase two is ~US$20 million. Upon successful completion of phase one and two, the company plans to expand the project beyond 10 MW.

Funding discussions are progressing well, in particular with Botswana based institutions with which the company is in ongoing discussions. Should technical and risk assessments on Tlou's operations be successful, the relevant parties would then seek internal approval to proceed, followed by legal and other due diligence. If such approval is granted, which is currently expected towards the later end of 1Q21, Tlou would then be in a position to announce further details of the proposed deal.

Tlou is also considering what further progress can be made at Lesedi prior to conclusion of any Botswana based finance. Activities could include the purchase of land for gas and solar development, preparatory work on transmission line infrastructure, and drilling operations. Undertaking this work in the near term and in advance of the conclusion of the ongoing discussions in Botswana could facilitate a more rapid development of the project – all subject to funding as well as any pandemic related restrictions that may be in place.

Ministerial site visit and government support

The company welcomed Minister Lefoko Moagi, Minister of Mineral Resources Green Technology and Energy Security (MMGE), and his team to the Lesedi project during the quarter. The Minister has been a long-term advocate of coal bed methane (CBM) and Tlou's project and again reiterated his support during his visit.

Just after the end of the quarter, the company received written confirmation from MMGE of the intention of MMGE to fast track the development of CBM in Botswana. MMGE also stated that it is happy to provide the necessary support to ensure commercial development of CBM.

In relation to the current tender to implement up to 100 MW of CBM fired power plants, MMGE confirmed that negotiations with preferred bidders are due to commence in February 2021. MMGE will start work internally on the 100 MW project in January. The letter also acknowledged that the government is fully committed to seeing this project coming to fruition, as it will promote the gas industry, contribute toward import substitution, as well as to improve the livelihood of Batswana.

Signed PPA and connection agreement

Formalities have been completed for a 2 MW power purchase agreement (PPA) with Botswana Power Corp. (BPC) with the company having received the signed PPA and grid connection agreement.

Transmission line detailed design

Detailed design and engineering of the ~100 km transmission line and associated infrastructure to connect Lesedi to the electricity grid has been completed by the company's engineers, Mott MacDonald. This work included selecting qualified parties to tender for construction of the transmission line and associated infrastructure. The qualified parties include groups from Botswana, India, China and South Africa.

Requests to tender were sent to the qualified parties in December, with responses to be received in late 1Q21, with evaluation of bids and award of contracts planned for 2Q21.

Lesedi gas production

Gas continues to flow at the company's production well Lesedi 4P. The Lesedi 4P gas rate has shown a steady increase over time while water rates are progressively decreasing. The continuous nature of the gas flow throughout the year with the steady incline being observed is very encouraging.

Gas flow rates are not anticipated to increase materially until further drilling is carried out. Lesedi 4P is a single well and is not part of a mature gas field where multiple adjacent wells would all be assisting with the dewatering of the reservoir. Once further water can be removed from the system by additional wells, the company expects that gas should start to substantially increase.

The continuous gas flow reinforces the significant upside potential for shareholders and along with Tlou's plans for solar power, could create a new cleaner power opportunity for the region. Only the deeper gas target horizon (Morupule coal seam) has been explored to date with at least one other shallower potentially productive zone (Serowe coal seam) yet to be evaluated.

Forward plan

Key focus areas include:

  1. Securing funds to advance the Lesedi power project. This will allow work to commence on transmission lines and set the company on a path towards initial electricity generation and first revenue.
  2. Completion of the tender process and signing of a 10 MW power purchase agreement.
  3. Progressing solar development plans.
  4. Drilling additional gas wells in the Lesedi project.
  5. Completing further operations across the Mamba and Boomslang project areas.

Project areas

The company has three project areas in Botswana:

  • Lesedi Project: Gas and solar development, exploration and evaluation.
  • Mamba Project: exploration and evaluation.
  • Boomslang Project: exploration and evaluation.

Lesedi Project Area, Botswana

Licences: Mining Licence 2017/18L, Prospecting Licences 001 and 003/2004 and 35 and 37/2000.

Ownership: Tlou Energy Ltd 100%.

The Lesedi project covers an area of approximately 3800 km2 and consists of four coal and CBM prospecting licences (PL) and a mining licence. The mining licence area is currently the focal point for the company's operations and includes the Lesedi production wells or 'pods'.

The Lesedi project is the company's most advanced project. Plans are in place to purchase land at the Lesedi project, install solar photovoltaic (PV) panels and gas-fired electricity generators and connect to the power grid in Botswana. The project has full environmental approval which includes gas extraction, electricity generation and construction of transmission lines. In addition, the company has approval for 20 MW of solar generation. CBM power is ideal for use in conjunction with solar projects. A generation license has also been granted by the Botswana Energy Regulatory Authority (BERA). This licence has a 15-year term and is valid for both solar and gas-fired generation.

Tlou's mining licence is required by an operator to develop a CBM asset. This licence spans a large 900 km2 area and is valid until 2042.

Tlou has the only independently certified CBM gas reserves in Botswana, with 252 Billion ft3 of 3P gas reserves certified in the Lesedi project area. In addition, the 3C Contingent Gas Resources are approximately 3 Trillion ft3.

Initial development of the Lesedi project is planned to be up to 10 MW of power. With plans for solar and gas fired power, these can be standalone operations or a hybrid solution with gas-fired power able to provide back-up power when solar is not available. The location of the Central Processing Facility (generation site) at the Lesedi project is approximately 100 km from the electricity grid. The company is planning to construct a 100 km transmission line and is in the process of securing funding to do so.

The proposed off-taker (purchaser) of the power generated by Tlou is the national energy utility, BPC. The company has signed a PPA with BPC for the first 2 MW of electricity. A submission has also been made to secure a PPA for up to 10 MW.

Mamba Project Area, Botswana

Licences: Prospecting Licences 237-241/2014.

Ownership: Tlou Energy Ltd 100%.

The Mamba project consists of five coal and CBM PL's covering an area of approximately 4500 km2. The Mamba area is situated adjacent to Tlou's Lesedi project and is on-trend with the asset that has produced the encouraging results observed to date. In the event of a gas field development by Tlou, the Mamba area provides the company with flexibility and optionality.

Independently certified 3P gas reserves of 175 billion ft3 are already in place at the Mamba project. The Mamba project is in the exploration and evaluation phase with further operations required on these licences. The next stage of development is likely to be core-hole drilling and a seismic survey of the area. Positive results from these operations could expand the reserves footprint across the Mamba project area.

The Mamba area has the potential to become a separate revenue generating development project in addition to the proposed development at Lesedi, with solar and gas-fired generation a possibility subject to approvals. Geographically, the Mamba project area is approximately 50 km closer to the Orapa Power station compared to the Lesedi project area. The potential exists for a gas pipeline to be constructed to supply gas from the Mamba project to the 90 MW Orapa Power station.

Boomslang Project Area, Botswana

Licence: Prospecting Licence 011/2019.

Ownership: Tlou Energy Ltd 100%.

The company's most recently acquired PL, PL011/2019 designated ‘Boomslang’, is valid for an initial term of 3 years. The licence area is approximately 1000 km2 and is situated adjacent to the company's existing licences. The Boomslang area is also located on-trend with the asset that has produced the encouraging results observed to date at the Lesedi project.

The Boomslang licence area provides the company further flexibility and optionality for development of different projects.

There have been no ground operations completed in the Boomslang area as the company is awaiting confirmation of environmental approval to commence exploration activities. Once approved (and subject to funding) initial exploration work is planned for this area. Similar to the Lesedi and Mamba areas, the Boomslang project could produce solar and gas-fired power.

Read the article online at: https://www.worldcoal.com/exploration-and-development/29012021/tlou-energy-announces-operational-report/

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