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Tlou Energy on course of achieving steady gas flows

Tlou Energy Limited, a multiple listed company, has achieved its initial sustained target of producing gas flows of approximately 20 000 standard feet per day at the Lesedi Three and Four coal bed methane (CMB) natural gas project.

In an operational report for the third quarter ending 30 September 2019, Tlou Energy managing director, Tony Gilby, said gas flow rates were anticipated to increase steadily at the two sites as the coal deposits became saturated. Tlou Energy is an Australian Securities Exchange, London Stock Exchange and Botswana Stock Exchange listed company focusing on delivering power in Botswana and the southern Africa through the exploration and development of CBM natural gas.

“Key events during the previous quarter (include) Lesedi 3 and 4 achieved initial sustained gas flows of approximately 20 thousand standard cubic feet per day (Mcfd) from each pod.  Gas flow rates (are) anticipated to increase steadily as the coals become gas saturated,” Gilby said this week. He added that core-hole drilling utilising Tlou Energy's own drilling rig commenced in the Mamba project area, with the objective of providing valuable data required for the expansion of the company's gas reserves and contingent resources.

“During the (third quarter) quarter the company's operations made excellent progress with the Lesedi gas production pods having achieved sustained gas production rates. “Following completion of the first phase of production testing, including initial dewatering, reaching critical gas desorption point and commencing gas production, the pods commenced producing sustained gas flows.  The initial rates were approximately 20 thousand standard cubic feet per day from each pod.  This was an excellent start and the company is very encouraged by production data to date,” Gilby said.

The MD said gas production was continuing and, as with most new CBM developments, the rate was anticipated to continue increasing following further reduction of pressure in the coal and additional dewatering, with the aim to reach a peak and commercial gas flow rate as early as possible. “The current stage of production involves maintaining pressure on the reservoir to further reduce water production, so that the lateral wells become gas saturated, rather than water saturated.  This is followed by reducing pressure in the wells to the desired level which, once achieved, is usually expected to significantly increase the gas flows from the wells.  

“This is a metholodical and detailed process and takes time to achieve.  The company will update the market on further progress in due course,” Gilby said. He anticipated that with the CBM projects not yet established in southern African region, Tlou Energy could pioneer CBM development within the region. “Successful results from this project could potentially facilitate the opening up of a whole new CBM basin in Botswana and be a significant boost not only for Tlou, but for the whole region, with the potential for Tlou to supply power within Botswana and also into neighbouring countries via the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP),” he said.

During the third quarter under review, Tlou Energy also commenced core-hole drilling in the Mamba project area.  Operations are being conducted using Tlou Energy's core drilling rig and as the company is not using external drilling contractors, the costs of core drilling are relatively low. “Core-hole drilling and core analysis provides valuable information regarding coal quality and gas content. This data is required for the expansion of the company's gas reserves and contingent resources and providing information to assess new areas for potential development,” said Gilby.


In 2018, Tlou Energy was selected as the preferred bidder of a tender from the Ministry of Minerals Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security for the development of a CBM-fuelled power plant in the country. If successful, the negotiations will result in the company agreeing to a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with the Government, whereby the Botswana Power Corporation (BPC), the national electricity utility, would purchase the power produced by Tlou Energy at the Lesedi project.

The tender negotiations are confidential and are being led by the Government.  The government has confirmed its commitment to the development of CBM-fuelled pilot power plants and is in the process of sourcing an advisor to assist them in tender negotiations.  Further information will be provided by the government in due course, with the next update expected after the country's general election. Tlou Energy has three project areas in the country, the Lesedi Project – currently under development and exploration, Boomslang Project – exploration and Lesedi CMB Project.

The Lesedi project covers an area of approximately 3,800 km2 and consists of four coal and CBM prospecting licences and a mining licence.  The mining licence area is currently the focal point for the company's operations and includes the gas producing Lesedi 3 and 4 development wells.  “The Lesedi project is the company's most advanced project, with plans in place to install gas-fired electricity generators and connect to the power grid in Botswana.  Subject to results, the first electricity sales could commence in late 2020.  

“The project has full environmental approval which includes gas extraction, electricity generation and construction of transmission lines.  In addition, the company has approval for 20MW of solar generation.  Clean CBM power is ideal for use in conjunction with solar projects,” Gilby said.

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Gambling Authority tender dangles as a jittery lottery quandary

30th November 2020
SEFALANA MD: CHANDRA CHAUHAN

Lucrative and highly anticipated national lottery tender that saw several Batswana businessmen partnering to form a gambling consortium to pit against their South African counterparts, culminates into a big power gamble.

WeekendPost has had a chance to watch lottery showcase even before the anticipated and impending national lottery set-up launches. A lot has been a big gamble from the bidding process which is now set for the courts next year January following a marathon legal brawl involving the interest of the gambling fraternity in Botswana and South Africa.

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The uncertainty of getting the next meal in Botswana

30th November 2020
uncertainty of getting the next meal

Households representing more than half of Botswana’s population-mostly residing in rural areas- do not know where their next meal will come from, but neither do they take into consideration the quality and/or quantity of the food they consume.

This is according to the latest Prevalence of Food Insecurity in Botswana report which was done for the 2018/19 period and represents the state of food insecurity data even to this time.
The Prevalence of Food Insecurity was released by Statistics Botswana and it released results with findings that the results show that at national level 50.8 percent of the population in Botswana was affected by moderate to severe food insecurity in 2018/19, while 22.2 percent of the population was affected by severe food insecurity only.

According to the report, this translates to 27 percent of the population being food secure that is to say having adequate access to food in both quality and quantity. According to Statistician General, Burton Mguni, when explaining how the food data was compiled, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), is custodian of the “Prevalence of Undernourishment (PoU)” and “Prevalence of moderate or severe food insecurity in the population based on the Food Insecurity Experience Scale (FIES)” SDG indicators, for leading FIES data analysis and the resultant capacity building.

“The FIES measures the extent of food insecurity at the household or individual level. The indicator provides internationally comparable estimates of the proportion of the population facing moderate to severe difficulties in accessing food. The FIES consists of eight brief questions regarding access to adequate food, and the questions are answered directly with a yes/no response. It (FIES) complements the existing food and nutrition security indicators such as Prevalence of Undernourishment.

According to the FIES, with increasing severity, the quantity of food consumed decreases as portion sizes are reduced and meals are skipped. At its most severe level, people are forced to go without eating for a day or more. The scale further reveals that the household’s experience of food insecurity may be characterized by uncertainty and anxiety regarding food access and compromising the quality of the diet and having a less balanced and more monotonous diet,” says Mguni.

The 50.8 percent of the population in Botswana which was affected by moderate to severe food insecurity are characterized as people experiencing moderate food insecurity and face uncertainties about their ability to obtain food. These people have been forced to compromise on the quality and/or quantity of the food they consume according to the report on food insecurity.

Those who experience severe food insecurity, the 22.2 percent of the population, are people who have typically run out of food and, at worst, gone a day (or days) without eating. According to the statistics, rural area population experienced moderate to severe food insecurity at 65 percent while urban villages were at 46.60 percent and cities/town were at 31.70 percent. Those experiencing the most extreme and severe insecurity were at rural areas making 33.10 percent while urban villages and towns were at 11.90 percent and 17.50 respectively.

According to a paper compiled by Sirak Bahta, Francis Wanyoike, Hikuepi Katjiuongua and Davis Marumo and published in December 2017, titled ‘Characterization of food security and consumption patterns among smallholder livestock farmers in Botswana,’ over 70 percent of Botswana’s population reside in rural areas, and majority (70%) relies on traditional/subsistence agriculture for their livelihoods.

The study set out to characterize the food security situation and food consumption patterns among livestock keepers in Botswana. “Despite the policy change, challenges still remain in ensuring that all persons and households have access to food at all times. For example, during an analysis of the impacts of rising international food prices for Botswana, BIDPA reported that food prices tended to be highest in the rural areas already disadvantaged by relatively low levels of income and high rates of unemployment,” said the study.

According to the paper, about 9 percent of households were found to be food insecure and this category of households included 6 percent of households that ranked poorly and 3 percent that were on the borderline according to the World Food Programme’s (WFP) definition of food security.

Media reports state that the World Bank has warned that disruption to production and supply chains could ‘spark a food security crisis’ in Africa, forecasting a fall in farm production of up to 7 percent, if there are restrictions to trade, and a 25 percent decline in food imports.

Food security in Botswana or food production was also attacked by the locust pandemic which swept out this country’s vegetation and plants. The locust is said to have contributed to 25 percent loss in production.

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Solid demand for diamonds towards the ‘gift’ season

30th November 2020
Diamonds

Global lockdown have been a thorn in diamonds having shiny sales, but a lot of optimism shows with the easing of Covid-19 restrictions, the precious stones will be bought with high volumes towards festive season. The diamond market is however warned of the resurgence of Covid-19 in key markets presents ongoing risks amid the presence and optimist about the new Covid-29 vaccines.

The latest findings published as De Beers Group’s latest Diamond Insight ‘Flash’ Report, which looks at the impact of the pandemic on relationships and engagements, has revealed that in the US that more couples than ever are buying diamond engagement rings. Bridal sales is mostly the primary source of diamond jewellery demand in recent months, De Beers said.

According to De Beers, interviews with independent jewellers around the US revealed that the rate of couples getting engaged has increased compared with the period when Covid-19 first had an impact in the US in the spring.

“In addition, despite challenging economic times, consumers were spending more than ever on diamond engagement rings – often upgrading in colour, cut and clarity, rather than size. Several jewellers speculated that with consumers spending less on elaborate weddings and/or honeymoons in the current environment, they had more to spend on choosing the perfect ring,” said De Beers.

According to De Beers, a national survey of 360 US women in serious relationships, undertaken in late October in collaboration with engagement and wedding website, The Knot. This survey is said to have found that the majority of respondents (54%) were thinking more about their engagement ring than the wedding itself (32%) or the honeymoon (15%), supporting jewellers’ hypothesis that engagement ring sales were benefiting from reduced wedding and travel budgets in light of Covid-19 restrictions.

When it came to researching engagement rings, online was by far the predominant channel for gaining ideas/inspiration at 86% of consumers surveyed, with 85% saying they had saved examples of styles they liked, according to De Beers. According to the survey, only a uarter of respondents said they had looked in-store at a physical location for design inspiration.

“For many couples, the pandemic has brought them even closer together, in some instances speeding up the path to engagement after forming a deeper connection while experiencing lockdown and its associated ups and downs as a partnership. Engagement rings are taking on even greater symbolism in this environment, with retailers reporting couples are prepared to invest more than usual, particularly due to budget reductions in other areas,” De Beers CEO Cleaver said.

According to De Beers Group, its Diamond Insight Flash Report series is focused on understanding the US consumer perspective in light of Covid-19 and monitoring how it evolves as the crisis evolves. Also, the company said, it is augmenting its existing research programme with additional consumer, retailer and supply chain touch-basis to understand the pain points and the opportunities for stakeholders across the diamond pipeline.

Demand for diamonds is as hard and resilient as the precious stone itself. De Beers pocketed US$ 450 million in its recently held ninth rough diamond sales cycle, and the company says it is more flexible approach to rough diamond sales during the ninth sales cycle of 2020, with the Sight event extended beyond its normal week-long duration.

“Steady demand for De Beers Group’s rough diamonds continued in the ninth sales cycle of the year, reflecting stable consumer demand for diamond jewellery at the retail level in the US and China, and expectations for reasonable demand to continue throughout the holiday season. However, the resurgence of Covid-19 infections in several consumer markets presents ongoing risks,” said De Beers CEO Bruce Cleaver recently.

High expectations are on diamonds being a sentimental gift for holiday season or as the most fetished gift. However the ninth cycle was lower than the eighth which registered US$ 467 million. For the last year period which corresponds with the current one, De Beers managed to raise US$ 400.

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