21 September 2007 – A Russian envoy confirmed last week that the Russian Federation is ‘thinking seriously’ about investing in methane gas extraction from Lake Kivu in Rwanda. Technical hindrances, however, remain a stumbling block.

"I am thinking over this issue very tensely because of course I want our companies to come and participate in this very important economic project", Ambassador Mirgayas Mirgaiassovitch Chirinsky told the Rwanda News Agency (RNA) at his residence.

"There is a technical problem here because in my country we have a lot of gas that is underground not under water. So am not sure if we have the technology that fits the situation with Lake Kivu."

The Kigali embassy is studying the issue, but ambassador Chirinsky felt that Russia would want its companies to have a stake in the project.

Up to 55 billion cubic meters of methane, approximately 300 meters below the surface, is estimated for Lake Kivu. A Norwegian consortium had earlier been brought in to manage the extraction, but the arrangement ended abruptly due to difficulties between the parties.