Actis failure adds to project delays to pose stern questions of Morocco’s ability to deliver services

The refusal by a number of the local authorities of UK private equity investor Actis’ planned takeover of French operator Veolia Environnement’s electricity, water and sanitation concessions in Rabat-Salé, Tangier and Tetouan has highlighted problems of mounting investment projects in Morocco that run counter to the kingdom’s reputation as the region’s most attractive investment destination. Such is the perception of the kingdom’s strategic position that Actis says it remains interested in making Moroccan investments, either by eventually reviving the Veolia deal (if local authorities are unable to make their counterbid for the assets work) or looking for another project that might help to create a ‘hub business’ based around Morocco.

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South Sudan: Unipec dominates July oil sales

South Sudan’s Ministry of Petroleum and Mining tendered five cargoes of Dar Blend oil from Upper Nile in early July, for a total of 3.4m barrels. Sinopec subsidiary China International United Petroleum & Chemicals (Unipec) won four of the tenders: three 600,000-barrel cargoes for lifting from Port Sudan between 8 August and 24 August, and a 1m-barrel cargo for lifting on 27-28 August. The final, 600,000-barrel cargo was won by Geneva-based Vitol.

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Kenya: gas hopes

Africa Oil Corporation (AOC) is optimistic about prospects for gas from Kenya’s Anza Basin following the Sala-1 gas discovery. AOC plans appraisal drilling at Sala and the Bogal structure, where former operator CNOOC drilled a well in 2010, and is talking of potential reserves of 1-3tcf, with significant potential for the domestic power market. The Bogal-1 well found non-commercial gas at 5,085 metres in the Lower Cretaceous and CNOOC pulled out of the block in 2011. AOC now puts Bogal’s prospective reserves at 1.8tcf.

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Africa lags behind world biofuels growth

While Europe, Brazil and India have seen substantial growth in biofuel production for the transport sector during the past decade, Africa has lagged behind, despite the continent’s potential to be a bio-energy powerhouse. Africa accounted for less than 0.05% of global biofuel production in 2013, while Africa’s production of bio-ethanol reached 235m litres or 2.7% of the word total in 2012, according to soft commodities analyst FO Licht.

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Libya plans slow resumption of exports after surprise lifting of blockades

Crude oil exports are expected to resume within weeks following a deal between rebel federalists and the caretaker central government which allowed the lifting of force majeure at the Ras Lanuf and Sidra terminals on 6 July. Details of any...

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Mozambique looks to boost southern power supply

Mozambique is overhauling its power sector to diversify away from reliance on hydropower, and to reduce transmission losses. Speaking at the Africa Energy Forum (AEF) in Istanbul on 19 June, energy minister Salvador Namburete told delegates: “There...

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Optimistic South Sudan budget projects big revenue increases despite conflict

South Sudan has announced an expanded budget for 2014-15 compared to the previous year, with a forecast rise in oil earnings of 23% and predicted non-oil earnings growth of 35%. The government has set aside SSP9,968m ($3.3bn) for spending on...

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Ghana distributors’ tough stance on debt revives fuel subsidy debate

A suspension of supply by bulk distribution companies in protest over unpaid government debt caused severe fuel shortages in late June. The crisis took almost two weeks to resolve in the south, particularly in Accra, where shortages were described as...

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Ambitious new player Windiga Energy signs investment agreement with Burkina Faso

Canadian renewable power developer Windiga Energy has signed an investment support agreement with the government of Burkina Faso for a 20MW solar photovoltaic power plant. Commercial operation is expected by the end of next year, with the equity...

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South Africa’s baseload IPP procurement moves into gear

Faced with likely delays connecting some renewables projects to the grid, South Africa’s Department of Energy (DoE) has issued a request for coal baseload independent power producers (IPPs) to register their projects by 25 July. A previous request...

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Perspectives

A selection of free articles from African Energy's extensive database

Namibia: NamPower sees Kudu meeting supply deficit

With a final investment decision on the Kudu gas project’s upstream development expected in mid-2014, offtaker NamPower is pushing to conclude gas sales agreements by June and reach financial close by December to allow construction to start on the power plant, managing director Paulinus Shilamba said on 11 March. Completion by 2018 of the Kudu combined-cycle gas turbine plant is now ...

Issue 274 - 28 March 2014

Kenya: Lake Turkana Wind Power signs financing agreements

After eight years in the pipeline, the 300MW Lake Turkana wind power project finally signed financing agreements worth €498m ($687m) on 24 March. The much-publicised project, described as the largest private investment in Kenyan history, has the support of a wide range of financiers, led by a revitalised African Development Bank (AfDB), but the time taken to reach financial close highlights ...

Issue 274 - 28 March 2014

Tanzania lines up new private power projects, IPTL saga drags on

Irish-registered Kibo Mining is in the early stages of planning a 300-350MW mine-mouth plant at the Rukwa coal field in the Mbeya region. Chief executive Louis Coetzee told African Energy the proposed open-cast mine method and on-site development should keep generation costs low, with power then fed into the national grid to help tackle Tanzania’s growing power supply ...

Issue 274 - 28 March 2014

Ghana: Parliament ratifies two new exploration deals

Parliament has ratified petroleum agreements for the South Deepwater Tano and East Cape Three Points blocks. South Deepwater Tano has been awarded to a new Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) subsidiary, GNPC Exploration and Production Company (Explorco), which will jointly operate the block with a 79% stake, while AGM Petroleum Ghana will hold the other 21% interest. AGM Ghana is a subsidiary ...

Issue 267 - 5 December 2013

Libya oil spat threatens fresh conflict

The oil terminal blockaders who exported crude from As Sidrah port on 12 March are bracing for possible armed conflict while also lining up further autonomous sales, according to Political Bureau of Cyrenaica (PBC) spokesman Osama Buera. Speaking by telephone from the border between east and west Libya, he told African Energy that Cyrenaican forces had erected a barrier at Wadi ...

Issue 273 - 13 March 2014

IOCs, Morocco find business-friendly interpretation of Western Sahara resources stand-off

Total and Kosmos Energy have both signed a Joint Declaration of Principles with the Moroccan government setting out commitments regarding exploration and any eventual development in the disputed Western Sahara. Kosmos said the declaration signed on 19 December 2013 outlined commitments on exploration activities and the key principles under which development would proceed if commercially viable hydrocarbon deposits were discovered. It stated ...

Issue 273 - 13 March 2014

Tullow declares force majeure ahead of planned well in Guinea

Hyperdynamics Corporation said on 12 March that Tullow Oil had declared force majeure over its Guinea acreage. The announcement followed a guilty plea by French national Frédéric Cilins to obstructing a US criminal investigation in connection with a bribery probe into how Beny Steinmetz’s BSG Resources (BSGR) acquired mining rights in Guinea.On 30 September, the US Department of ...

Issue 273 - 13 March 2014

Nigeria: Oando denies planning sale of drilling arm

Oando has denied reports that it plans to sell its Oando Energy Services (OES) drilling subsidiary as it finalises the purchase of ConocoPhillips’ Nigerian assets by Oando Energy Resources (OER). “We wish to explicitly state that OER has successfully acquired all funds required to complete the acquisition, and is awaiting the consent of the minister of the Federal Ministry of ...

Issue 272 - 4 March 2014

South Africa: Nuclear may be back in contention

South Africa’s nuclear procurement saga saw another twist after President Jacob Zuma appeared to recommit the government to procuring 9,600MW of nuclear capacity in his State of the Nation address on 13 February, although the updated Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) only closed to public comment on 7 February and is not expected to be approved by Cabinet until March. The draft ...

Issue 272 - 3 March 2014

Namibia: Shell re-enters offshore

Royal Dutch Shell has acquired blocks 2913A and 2914B in the Orange Basin from Signet Petroleum, which is 42% owned by AIM-listed Polo Resources. Shell has bought Signet’s 90% interest in the blocks, with National Petroleum Corporation of Namibia retaining its 10% carried interest. The acreage borders Shell’s Orange Basin Deep Water Block off the west coast of South Africa, where ...

Issue 272 - 28 February 2014

Malawi: Audit reports corruption losses of $32m in six months

The audit, funded by the UK’s Department for International Development, was contracted following revelations of the so-called “cashgate” scandal that caused President Joyce Banda to sack her cabinet in October and led to the suspension of $150m of aid by major donors, including the UK and European Union. The first three of some 70 people who have been charged appeared ...

Issue 272 - 28 February 2014

Ecowas grants for Gambia, Mali, Sierra Leone

The Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) has signed grant agreements for Gambia, Mali and Sierra Leone under the Emergency Regional Programme for Improved Electricity Supply Facility. Gambia will receive $31.9m, Mali $54.34m and Sierra Leone $21.8m. Ecowas commission chairman Kadré Désiré Ouédraogo said the support, granted in response to requests from the three countries, would ensure ...

Issue 271 - 14 February 2014

South Africa: Renewables ticking over but no announcement on third round

Renewable energy projects are making progress as the industry waits for a government decision on whether to increase the capacity allocated to the third round of the renewable energy independent power producers procurement programme (REIPPP) and the outcome of public consultation for the revised Integrated Resource Plan (AE 268/5). While energy minister Dikobe Ben Martins barely mentioned the issue in a ...

Issue 271 - 13 February 2014

Liberians file complaint over failed biomass scheme

Liberian farmers, charcoal producers and workers have filed a complaint with the US Overseas Private Investment Corporation (Opic), accusing it of failing to monitor investments made to a failed biomass project. Between 2009 and 2011, Buchanan Renewables (BR) received $216.7m from Opic for a project to harvest rubber trees for biomass, rejuvenate family farms and generate sustainable energy for Liberia. Opic’s ...

Issue 271 - 13 February 2014

Angola: New pre-salt find for Cobalt

Cobalt International Energy has announced a first discovery in the syn-rift interval in the Bicuar #1A pre-salt deep-water exploratory well on Block 21. The well was drilled to a depth of 5,739 metres and encountered 56 metres of oil and condensate pay from multiple pre-salt intervals. This is the fourth deep-water pre-salt discovery offshore Angola by Sonangol and Cobalt, and the first discovery ...

Issue 270 - 4 February 2014

Morocco: A pragmatic approach to achieving sustainable long-term vision

With big programmes to develop solar and wind generation, and several major thermal projects planned, Moroccan officials can demonstrate a dynamic business environment. Mustapha Bakkoury, head of solar agency Masen, can point to the $9bn Projet Solaire Marocain (PSM) development plan financed by international banks and agencies, local markets and equity. Along with a huge wind power programme and plans ...

Issue 270 - 30 January 2014

DR Congo postpones debate on oil law

National Assembly chairman Aubin Minaku on 22 January ordered the suspension of debate on Democratic Republic of Congo’s new oil law, which was approved by the Senate last year. There is still a long way to go, as only 20 articles have been discussed and approved, of a total 127. According to the United Nations-sponsored Radio Okapi, the debate should resume at ...

Issue 270 - 30 January 2014

New Algeria round will test IOC enthusiasm for new law

Algeria’s energy authorities have staked their upstream strategy and their international credibility on the largest licensing round ever held in the country. It is the first to be held since amendments to the hydrocarbons law were passed in January 2013, so will test whether commercial terms have been improved enough to attract substantial international interest. The perimeters on offer include ...

Issue 270 - 23 January 2014

Gambia: Government cancels licences

The government has cancelled licences awarded to African Petroleum and Oranto Petroleum for “failure to meet the licence obligations by the licensees”. A statement by the Office of the President in Banjul said the government’s decision was in accordance with the provisions of the country’s petroleum laws. African Petroleum farmed into blocks A1 and A4 held by Canada’...

Issue 269 - 16 January 2014

Côte d’Ivoire: Lukoil drills Indépendance appraisal well

Russia’s Lukoil Overseas has drilled a successful appraisal well on the Indépendance discovery on Block CI-401 in the Tano Basin. The well was drilled to a total depth of more than 4,500 metres in 1,600 metre water depths using Ocean Rig’s Eirik Raude semisubmersible rig. Lukoil said the well had proven oil presence in the Turonian sands of the ...

Issue 269 - 16 January 2014

Ethiopia announces ambitious power generation expansion programme

The Ethiopian government has announced ambitious plans to expand its generation capacity to 37,000MW by 2037 from 2,300MW now, to meet growing domestic demand and supply the region. Ethiopia already exports 60MW to Djibouti and 100MW to Sudan, and is constructing a 500kV interconnection with Kenya, capable of exporting 2,000MW. However, under the new programme, the government aims to export 4,000MW ...

Issue 269 - 16 January 2014

Uganda: Refinery project bidders shortlisted

The government has shortlisted six bidders to build an oil refinery on the shores of Lake Albert. According to the Ministry for Energy and Mineral Development, following a request for qualification launched in early October, the government received responses from 75 interested parties. Eight companies or consortia submitted detailed qualification statements, and of the six to be shortlisted, the winner will ...

Issue 268 - 20 December 2013

South African resource plan puts flexibility at heart of power sector

A draft of the updated integrated resource plan (IRP) 2010-2030 has been released by South Africa’s Department of Energy (DoE) for public comment. The document revises downwards the 2030 electricity demand forecast from 454TWh in the 2010 IRP to 345-416TWh, with significant implications for nuclear power strategy. This means that peak generation will be 61,200MW rather than 67,800MW, at the ...

Issue 268 - 20 December 2013

South Africa’s regulatory uncertainty overshadows exploration optimism

Controversial proposals to amend South Africa’s minerals law have attracted fresh criticism from the country’s respected regulator. In an uncharacteristically emotional address to Global Pacific & Partners’ Africa Upstream conference on 29 November, Petroleum Agency SA resource evaluation manager Dave van der Spuy observed that the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Amendment Bill, which is presently before parliament, provided for ...

Issue 267 - 5 December 2013

South Africa: City Power cleared of fraud and corruption

Johannesburg utility City Power has been cleared of all allegations of fraud and corruption relating to a tender awarded to Edison Power Group for advanced metering infrastructure in 2012. An independent review panel chaired by Vuyani Ngalwana concluded that they could find “no evidence of improper interference in the bid evaluation process” and “no evidence of irregularity in the award of [...

Issue 266 - 25 November 2013

ExxonMobil to resume Madagascar exploration

ExxonMobil is resuming exploration on its three offshore licences following the approval of extensions to its production sharing contracts. The company said on 6 November that it had received decrees formalising the extensions that were signed on 17 July by President Andry Rajoelina, and its subsidiaries intended “to resume exploration work and environmental assessments for shore-based and offshore operations in preparation for ...

Issue 266 - 23 November 2013

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Algeria's oil and gas exploration and production infrastructure map

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Morocco’s power infrastructure map

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Emerging electricity supply industries in Benin, Burkina Faso, Niger and Togo

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Angola's oil fields and export infrastructure

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African Energy View

Authoritarian tendencies tempt as development models shift

Opposition from local authorities to UK private equity investor Actis’ planned takeover of French operator Veolia...

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Power Africa forms US bridgehead in hoped-for boom market

Launched by President Barack Obama in Cape Town one year ago, the US Power Africa initiative has been making bold claims...

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Moroccan challenges show pitfalls of even attractive jurisdictions

A simmering controversy over the planned refinancing by a cash-strapped state of Office National de l’Electricité et de...

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