Gas Extraction Innovation

Philip Morkel, Founder & CEO

Innovator, Founder & CEO

Philip Morkel is the originator of the Hydragas technology. He is a leading expert advisor on the subject of Lake Kivu extraction. He  contributed as co-author and scribe of the Management Prescriptions for Lake Kivu Development, issued in June 2009. 

He has co-authored a 2019 paper with Dr Finn Hirslund, updating the knowledge base of Lake Kivu. The paper interprets observed changes to the lake itself since 2009. We raise concerns on the observations and proposals to mitigate damaging impacts from gas production. Philip sits on the Expert Advisory Panel of the designated regulator, the Lake Kivu Monitoring Program.  

Design Concept

In 2002, Philip developed a new concept of gas extraction for Lake Kivu. It was pilot-tested it successfully in 2004, with demonstration runs for the Rwandan Ministry of Energy. The concept departed from the current variations of the “legacy” extraction concept, first developed by Union Chimique de Belge in 1962-65. Philip presented the physics, design concept and field pilot-test results at the World Congress of Chemical Engineering in Glasgow, Scotland, in 2005. 

Philip brings technology, advanced engineering expertise, local knowledge, regional connections, experience and history to the project. These are going to be essential skills for the development of a series of very high return gas production projects starting 2020.


Philip will depend on his experience in oil and gas, megaprojects development to execute the projects. He has used his fifteen years of Kivu experience into developing a detailed plan for this series of projects. The development plan includes building a demo project and a series of 50 or 100 MWe projects. Plant design for the full-scale project have been advanced to full feasibility level. They are designed to achieve all of the above aims on Lake Kivu. Once the Kivu program of projects is settled,  he plans to further develop the technology to pursue additional methane resources in aquifers and the oceans. 

The separately detailed business plan relates the comprehensive background, key technology learnings, the work and milestones completed to date.  It sets out a narrative of the business concepts and prospects for their development. These together can turn a patented, proven technology into a series of projects with strong economic returns on Lake Kivu. 

Hydragas is a unique, disruptive and distinctive technology that has three times higher gas recovery, up to five times higher net methane output from the resource and as much as ten times better economic returns than its competitors. It is significantly more beneficial for the host countries than any other option due to the class-leading methane recovery.

Strengths and Advantages

Hydragas will succeed technically through becoming the dominant technology supplier for gas production plants on Lake Kivu. The Rwandan subsidiary, Kivugas Energy Limited, can form the core of an investment platform to pursue projects through owned concessions.  Hydragas can earn further fees by extracting licensing and other support fees for the value added services to any other operations on the lake that use its technology.

Key competitive strengths of the company lie in:

  • technological leadership, which provides a huge economic advantage to the operations from lower capital cost, high gas recovery and plant efficiency
    • Gas & power plant capex ~$4.2m/MWe installed,
    • >90% net gas recovery where average of competitors is below 30%,
    • Access to 50% more of the resource, where other technologies cannot produce,
    • Highest quality of natural gas produced, with >80% methane content, higher than competitors that average 50% methane content;
  • better resource stewardship for the host countries, through far higher yields, cheaper energy pricing, higher taxes paid and greater power output.

The Compliance Imperative

Having 100% compliance with the lake usage rules, the Management Prescriptions for Lake Kivu Development (MPs), is a unique capability among developers. The MPs govern the technical requirements for long-term, safe use of the lake and its resources for the benefit of the population, its safety and the environment. The 2010 version of the MPs is recognized and adopted by both Rwanda and DRC as the authoritative basis for the regulation of Lake Kivu. In 2019 a review process will be undertaken to consider updates to the MPs on the 10th anniversary of their publication.