26 February 2020

WLPGA Member Focus – Circle Gas

Circle Gas is revolutionising access to LPG for cooking in sub Saharan Africa. The use of LPG for cooking has significantly increased in recent years. However, the upfront cost of a cylinder of LPG has meant that it is still out of reach for many. More than 900 million people in sub Saharan Africa lack access to clean cooking with fuels like LPG.

Circle Gas is pioneering using proprietary pay-as-you-go (PAYG) technology to finally be able to offer LPG for cooking to the mass market at significant scale, aiming to attract millions of customers in the coming years. Circle Gas provides a reliable and low-cost supply of LPG directly to households by using innovative smart metering and advanced distribution logistics. This fuel displaces the use of harmful and dirty charcoal and kerosene in the home. Circle Gas has operations in Kenya, Tanzania, China and the UK. In Kenya, Circle Gas has a strategic partnership with the leading mobile telecom company, Safaricom. Safaricom is the anchor strategic investor in Circle Gas.

Technology is a key element of what Circle Gas does. It designs, manufactures and deploys Internet of Things (IoT) devices and software that enable customers to pay and consume small amounts of gas at a time using mobile wallets, whilst providing timely and granular usage and payment information. Circle Gas acquired the technology from Kopa Tech, which has been operating in Tanzania since 2015, successfully providing affordable, convenient and clean pay-as-you-go LPG cooking fuel to low income households.

Circle Gas is led by an experienced management with international downstream petroleum, LPG distribution and utility expertise to provide strong capabilities to each part of the business cycle.


How it works

Circle Gas installs an LPG cylinder and a cook stove in customers’ homes, outfitted with its proprietary, innovative pay-as-you-go smart meter that can be topped up using mobile money (for example, M-Pesa). Customers only pay for as much gas as they need to use at a given time, removing the need for costly up-front investment by the customer for supplies and equipment.

Customers of Circle Gas benefit from a strong value proposition: cheaper, cleaner, more convenient and aspirational fuel than charcoal or kerosene with additional health benefits. Circle Gas aims to manage the entire value chain from the developing technology right through to delivering LPG to our customers’ homes.