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Tlou hits more gas pressure at Lesedi CBM project

Coal Bed Methane (CBM) power generation pursuant Tlou Energy this week announced another progressive traction at their Lesedi Project. The Botswana Stock Exchange Listed energy outfit reached the Critical Desorption Pressure (CDP) at Lesedi 3 Project. CDP is the pressure that gas begins to come out of the coal after a careful dewatering process.

Lesedi 3 is the first dual lateral production pod completed earlier this year, has reached Critical (gas) Desorption Pressure (CDP) in the horizontal well bores. In a statement released this week Tlou says reaching CDP is a positive milestone in the operation and means that as a result of a careful and successful dewatering process to date, gas begins to come out of the coal.

The next stage of the operation at Lesedi 3 involves continued water pumping which should see gas Pressure steadily increase inside the casing to an optimal point so that flow testing and flaring of the gas can begin. At Lesedi 4 , the second pod drilled and completed and the company says site  continues to be carefully dewatered. “Water is continuing to be drawn down in a controlled manner as planned” reads the statement.

Tlou Energy is focused on delivering Gas‐to‐Power solutions in Botswana and southern Africa to alleviate some of the chronic power shortage in the region. The company is currently developing projects using coal bed methane (CBM) natural gas. Botswana has a significant energy shortage and generally relies on imported power and diesel generation to fulfil its power requirements. As 100% owner of the most advanced gas project in the country, the Lesedi CBM Project, Tlou Energy provides investors with access to a compelling opportunity using domestic gas to produce power and displace expensive diesel and imported electricity.

The Company is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange, London’s AIM market and the Botswana Stock Exchange and is led by an experienced Board, management and advisory team including individuals with successful track records in the CBM industry. Since establishment, the Company has significantly de‐risked the project in consideration of its goal to become a significant gas‐to‐power producer.

The Company flared its first gas in 2014 and has a 100% interest over its Mining License and ten Prospecting Licences covering an area of ~9,300 Km2 in total. The Lesedi and Mamba Projects already benefit from significant independently certified 2P gas Reserves of ~41 BCF. In addition, 3P gas Reserves of ~427 BCF and Contingent Gas Resources of ~3,043 BCF provide significant additional potential.

Tlou is planning an initial scalable gas‐to‐power project. Following successful implementation of this first scalable project, the Company looks forward to evaluating longer‐term prospects for the delivery of electricity generated from CBM in Botswana to neighboring countries. Tony Gilby Tlou’s Managing Director says since the commencement of production testing, the dewatering process at Lesedi 3 and Lesedi 4 has steadily progressed with CDP recently being reached at Lesedi 3. “The primary objective remains to demonstrate a commercial gas flow rate.” He said.

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Botswana on high red alert as AML joins Covid-19 to plague mankind

21st September 2020
Botswana-on-high-alert-as-AML-joins-Covid-19-to-plague-mankind-

This century is always looking at improving new super high speed technology to make life easier. On the other hand, beckoning as an emerging fierce reversal force to equally match or dominate this life enhancing super new tech, comes swift human adversaries which seem to have come to make living on earth even more difficult.

The recent discovery of a pandemic, Covid-19, which moves at a pace of unimaginable and unpredictable proportions; locking people inside homes and barring human interactions with its dreaded death threat, is currently being felt.

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Finance Committee cautions Gov’t against imprudent raising of debt levels

21st September 2020
Finance Committe Chairman: Thapelo Letsholo

Member of Parliament for Kanye North, Thapelo Letsholo has cautioned Government against excessive borrowing and poorly managed debt levels.

He was speaking in  Parliament on Tuesday delivering  Parliament’s Finance Committee report after assessing a  motion that sought to raise Government Bond program ceiling to P30 billion, a big jump from the initial P15 Billion.

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Gov’t Investment Account drying up fast!  

21st September 2020
Dr Matsheka

Government Investment Account (GIA) which forms part of the Pula fund has been significantly drawn down to finance Botswana’s budget deficits since 2008/09 Global financial crises.

The 2009 global economic recession triggered the collapse of financial markets in the United States, sending waves of shock across world economies, eroding business sentiment, and causing financiers of trade to excise heightened caution and hold onto their cash.

The ripple effects of this economic catastrophe were mostly felt by low to middle income resource based economies, amplifying their vulnerability to external shocks. The diamond industry which forms the gist of Botswana’s economic make up collapsed to zero trade levels across the entire value chain.

The Upstream, where Botswana gathers much of its diamond revenue was adversely impacted by muted demand in the Midstream. The situation was exacerbated by zero appetite of polished goods by jewelry manufacturers and retail outlets due to lowered tail end consumer demand.

This resulted in sharp decline of Government revenue, ballooned budget deficits and suspension of some developmental projects. To finance the deficit and some prioritized national development projects, government had to dip into cash balances, foreign reserves and borrow both externally and locally.

Much of drawing was from Government Investment Account as opposed to drawing from foreign reserve component of the Pula Fund; the latter was spared as a fiscal buffer for the worst rainy days.

Consequently this resulted in significant decline in funds held in the Government Investment Account (GIA). The account serves as Government’s main savings depository and fund for national policy objectives.

However as the world emerged from the 2009 recession government revenue graph picked up to pre recession levels before going down again around 2016/17 owing to challenges in the diamond industry.

Due to a number of budget surpluses from 2012/13 financial year the Government Investment Account started expanding back to P30 billion levels before a series of budget deficits in the National Development Plan 11 pushed it back to decline a decline wave.

When the National Development Plan 11 commenced three (3) financial years ago, government announced that the first half of the NDP would run at budget deficits.

This  as explained by Minister of Finance in 2017 would be occasioned by decline in diamond revenue mainly due to government forfeiting some of its dividend from Debswana to fund mine expansion projects.

Cumulatively since 2017/18 to 2019/20 financial year the budget deficit totaled to over P16 billion, of which was financed by both external and domestic borrowing and drawing down from government cash balances. Drawing down from government cash balances meant significant withdrawals from the Government Investment Account.

The Government Investment Account (GIA) was established in accordance with Section 35 of the Bank of Botswana Act Cap. 55:01. The Account represents Government’s share of the Botswana‘s foreign exchange reserves, its investment and management strategies are aligned to the Bank of Botswana’s foreign exchange reserves management and investment guidelines.

Government Investment Account, comprises of Pula denominated deposits at the Bank of Botswana and held in the Pula Fund, which is the long-term investment tranche of the foreign exchange reserves.

In June 2017 while answering a question from Bogolo Kenewendo, the then Minister of Finance & Economic Development Kenneth Mathambo told parliament that as of June 30, 2017, the total assets in the Pula Fund was P56.818 billion, of which the balance in the GIA was P30.832 billion.

Kenewendo was still a back bench specially elected Member of Parliament before ascending to cabinet post in 2018. Last week Minister of Finance & Economic Development, Dr Thapelo Matsheka, when presenting a motion to raise government local borrowing ceiling from P15 billion to P30 Billion told parliament that as of December 2019 Government Investment Account amounted to P18.3 billion.

Dr Matsheka further told parliament that prior to financial crisis of 2008/9 the account amounted to P30.5 billion (41 % of GDP) in December of 2008 while as at December 2019 it stood at P18.3 billion (only 9 % of GDP) mirroring a total decline by P11 billion in the entire 11 years.

Back in 2017 Parliament was also told that the Government Investment Account may be drawn-down or added to, in line with actuations in the Government’s expenditure and revenue outturns. “This is intended to provide the Government with appropriate funds to execute its functions and responsibilities effectively and efficiently” said Mathambo, then Minister of Finance.

Acknowledging the need to draw down from GIA no more, current Minister of Finance   Dr Matsheka said “It is under this background that it would be advisable to avoid excessive draw down from this account to preserve it as a financial buffer”

He further cautioned “The danger with substantially reduced financial buffers is that when an economic shock occurs or a disaster descends upon us and adversely affects our economy it becomes very difficult for the country to manage such a shock”

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