Government invests R1 billion into natural gas project in South Africa

 ·28 Mar 2022

The Central Energy Fund (CEF) will invest R1 billion into the country’s Virginia gas project as part of a renewable energy push.

The Virginia Gas Project is the only onshore petroleum plant in South Africa, with the site covering an area that includes Welkom, Virginia, and Theunissen. It is owned and operated by Renergen through its subsidiary company Tetra4.

The R1 billion investment will see 10% of Tetra4 sold to the CEF, subject to the completion of conditions, Renergen said in a statement on Monday (28 March).

“Renergen and the CEF’s relationship goes back many years. Importantly, during this time Renergen has successfully grown Virginia in a size and scale, highlighted by the growth both of our helium and methane reserves, which have finally reached the critical mass to enjoy CEF’s involvement,” said chief executive Stefano Marani.

Renergen has previously estimated its helium reserve could be as large as 9.74 billion cubic metres, more extensive than the known reserves of the entire US.

While helium is perhaps best known for its use in balloons, its benefits go far beyond this. Helium is considered highly valuable for its use in medical scanners, space travel, and superconductors.

Certain unique properties make it an essential component in manufacturing fibre-optic cables, microchips, and other electronic equipment.

It is also used to inflate car airbags and in high concentrations in deep-sea diving tanks.

Super-cooled helium is used to force liquid hydrogen and oxygen rocket fuel into a rocket engine to be an essential component for future space exploration.

Read: The only way to stop a massive fuel price hike in South Africa in April: petrol stations

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