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Lake Kivu's methane gas: natural risk, or source of energy and political security?


Doevenspeck, Martin


Bitte beziehen Sie sich beim Zitieren dieses Dokumentes immer auf folgenden Persistent Identifier (PID):http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:0168-ssoar-105410

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Abstract For a long time Lake Kivu's huge methane gas reserves had only interested limnologists or geoscientists because of the uniqueness of the physico-chemical composition of the lake water. In January 2002 during the eruption of the Nyiragongo volcano on the northern, Congolese shore of the lake, a voluminous lava stream entered the lake. This event highlighted once again the dangers connected with the presence of dissolved gases in the water which evoked the deadly gas outburst of Lake Nyos in Cameroon that killed nearly 2000 people in 1986 (Tietze 1987). Because of its current energy crisis, & driven by the vision of having an almost inexhaustible source of power, Rwanda increased its efforts to establish the first worldwide large scale exploitation of dissolved methane gas. Hence, new aspects of Lake Kivu's methane reserves have emerged that centre around the sensitive geopolitical question of the use of a common resource shared by the former warring parties, Rwanda & the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). This question becomes even more delicate in view of the plundering of the DRC's natural resources during the wars of the last decade. This article will therefore first analyze the current energy crisis & its political implications in Rwanda & in the eastern DRC, & sketch the origin of methane in Lake Kivu as well as associated natural risks. After a presentation of current methane gas extraction projects in Rwanda & an analysis of the institutional framework, a discussion of the potentials, problems & risks of methane gas exploitation in a post-conflict environment will conclude the paper.
Thesaurusschlagwörter Rwanda; Democratic Republic of the Congo; resources; energy policy; energy supply; crisis; political impact; security; international relations
Klassifikation internationale Beziehungen, Entwicklungspolitik; Friedens- und Konfliktforschung, Sicherheitspolitik; Ökologie und Umwelt
Freie Schlagwörter Rwanda; Natural resources; Kivu (province), Congo (Democratic Republic); Energy policy; Lakes; Regional security; Foreign relations
Publikationsjahr 2007
Seitenangabe S. 95-110
Zeitschriftentitel Afrika Spectrum, 42 (2007) 1
Status Veröffentlichungsversion; begutachtet (peer reviewed)
Lizenz Creative Commons - Namensnennung, Nicht kommerz., Keine Bearbeitung