Tlou Energy Limited 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 ("Lesedi") 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.
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 2MW of electricity. Funding required for phase one is ~USD $10m which can be staged if necessary or prudent to do so.
Phase two funding is for the expansion of electricity generation up to 10MW. This will involve drilling more gas wells and the purchase of additional electricity generation assets. Funding required for phase two is ~USD $20m. Upon successful completion of phase one and two, the Company plans to expand the project beyond 10MW.
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 Q1 2021, 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 was delighted to welcome Honourable Minister Lefoko Moagi, Minister of Mineral Resources Green Technology and Energy Security (MMGE), and his team to the Lesedi project during the quarter. The Honourable 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 100MW 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 100MW 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.
The Company looks forward to negotiation and finalisation of the tender process in the near term.
Signed PPA and Connection Agreement
Formalities having been completed for a 2MW Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) with the Company having received the signed PPA and Grid Connection Agreement.
These agreements represent significant achievements and show substantial progress for the Lesedi Power Project.
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 Q1 2021, with evaluation of bids and award of contracts planned for Q2 2021.
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.
A schematic illustrating the historical production curves for gas and water to December 2020 (solid lines) and what could be anticipated with additional dewatering of the field (shown by dashed lines) can be found in the ASX quarterly operations report at: Microsoft Word - Quarterly Operations Report 4Q20 - Final.docx (markitdigital.com). The Company does not intend to provide additional specific gas and water flow numbers until material levels are reached being in the vicinity of 100,000 cubic feet per day.
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.
The Company continues its work with local communities as part of its environmental, social and governance commitment. The Company is engaged in activities aimed at advancing the lives of the local population and regional communities.
During the quarter the Company provided support to Botswana's small stock initiative. This is aimed at helping farmers commercialise their production, increase Botswana's small stock herd and enable the country to meet local demand for meat as well as demands from other countries. The initiative can create sustainable jobs and generate wealth for the local population.
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 10MW 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.
The Company has three project areas in Botswana:
· Lesedi Project - Gas & Solar Development, Exploration & Evaluation
· Mamba Project - Exploration & Evaluation
· Boomslang Project - Exploration & Evaluation
Lesedi Project Area, Botswana
Licences: Mining Licence 2017/18L, Prospecting Licences 001 & 003/2004 and 35 & 37/2000
Ownership: Tlou Energy Limited 100%
The Lesedi project covers an area of approximately 3,800 Km2 and consists of four Coal and Coal Bed Methane (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 20MW 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 Cubic Feet (BCF) of 3P gas Reserves certified in the Lesedi project area. In addition, the 3C Contingent Gas Resources are approximately 3 Trillion Cubic Feet (TCF).
Initial development of the Lesedi project is planned to be up to 10MW 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, Botswana Power Corporation (BPC). The Company has signed a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with BPC for the first 2MW of electricity. A submission has also been made to secure a PPA for up to 10MW.
Mamba Project Area, Botswana
Licences: Prospecting Licences 237-241/2014
Ownership: Tlou Energy Limited 100%
The Mamba project consists of five Coal and CBM PL's covering an area of approximately 4,500 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 BCF 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 90MW Orapa Power station.
Boomslang Project Area, Botswana
Licence: Prospecting Licence 011/2019
Ownership: Tlou Energy Limited 100%
The Company's most recently acquired Prospecting Licence, PL011/2019 designated "Boomslang", is valid for an initial term of 3 years. The licence area is approximately 1,000 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.