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Announcing job losses and investment cutbacks, Big Oil’s flagship companies are emitting signals that should be heeded by those African oil-producing governments that are less inclined to believe the world is changing to their disadvantage. Dramatic announcements of changes of strategic direction by BP, Eni, Royal Dutch Shell and Total suggest most majors see their futures as diversified energy companies, rather than old-style IOCs.

Free

The global LNG market has been undermined just when ExxonMobil was expected to reach a final investment decision on its 15.2m t/yr Rovuma LNG scheme – the biggest of three projects aiming to channel at least $50bn of foreign investment (and possibly much more) into Mozambique over the next decade.The gas boom was expected to drive spectacular levels of economic growth, but while Mozambican economic planners and their allies contemplate the LNG project’s start-up being delayed possibly until 2030, the government is confronted with a burgeoning Islamist insurgency and huge economic pressures.

Mozambique
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The 22 January announcement that Globeleq and its partner IPS had reached financial close for the 253MW expansion of their 460MW Azito gas-fired plant at Yopougon, near Abidjan, was timed to coincide with a visit to London by an Ivorian delegation led by President Alassane Dramane Ouattara for the UK-Africa Summit. General Electric will provide gas turbine technology and services for the Phase IV project. The new and enlarged 20-year Azito concession agreement underscores Côte d’Ivoire’s ability to finance major private sector infrastructure projects.

Côte d'Ivoire
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African Union and European Union leaders met for the sixth EU-AU Summit in Brussels on 17-18 February, co-chaired by European Council president Charles Michel and AU’s Senegalese chairman President Macky Sall. It had been three years in the making – due to Covid and other delays – and, as with previous summits, there was talk of huge financial flows, boundless co-operation and commitments to a future of inclusive development.

Free

Chinese giants, sanctioned Russians, established operators and veterans from Cove Energy, the Irish independent which originated Mozambique's  historic gas play are amongst those competing for the highly prospective Rovuma basin blocks in the current licensing round. The range of players is a strong indicator of the high expectations for the next phase of upstream development. 

Mozambique
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Despite governance shortfalls and a number of crises, President Filipe Nyusi’s government has reassured investors with its support for transformational LNG schemes, leading towards final investment decisions and financial close in the months to come. This is a major success for an African gas industry where smaller projects seem to be making more impact than the majority of big-ticket schemes. Mozambique’s progress reassured CbI Meetings’ 2-3 May Africa Investment Exchange: Gas event in London that the African industry can deliver world-scale projects.

Tanzania
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Veteran Resistência Nacional Moçambicana (Renamo) leader Afonso Dhlakama’s surprise return to the bush in October 2012 was an unsettling reminder of the fragility of post-conflict Mozambique, as guerrilla roadblocks returned and coal exports were halted in the central region. Renamo’s rebellion was triggered by demands for a greater share of state jobs and resources. A peace agreement signed on 24 August 2014 promised jobs, above all in the army and police, and set a platform for campaigning to start for general elections on 15 October.

Mozambique
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Zimbabwe is highly unlikely to eradicate the crony capitalist structures that have favoured the Mugabe clan and other Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF) grandees any time soon. But the president’s departure could favour a measured transition, building on initiatives to normalise the economy undertaken by regime officials such as Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor John Mangudya and Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) managing director Noah Fari Gwariro. Even at 92 years old, it seems imprudent to write off President Robert Mugabe, whose ruthless political cunning has seen off international sanctions and domestic challenges.

Zimbabwe
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We all agree: the future is necessarily based on renewable energy and storage solutions, as economies, corporations and communities work to tackle the climate crisis by achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050. Africa understands the need for this better than most, as vulnerable populations in regions like the Sahel suffer the consequences of global warming on their daily lives and resource distribution.

Free

Sonatrach director-general Abdelmoumen Ould Kaddour regularly tours the hydrocarbons giant’s sprawling empire, rallying workers and telling journalists about Algeria’s return to producing oil and gas on a global scale, after years of corruption scandals and management inertia. On his 8 February visit to Hassi R’Mel, he announced that Sonatrach would invest $56bn in 2018-22. In an interview, he referred to discussions with Total on an unspecified $5bn project. After a long period of tensions with the French major, this is likely to be a major new petrochemicals project, giving further substance to claims Algeria is back as a force in the industry.

Algeria
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The purchase of BG Group by Royal Dutch Shell confirmed predictionsthat the falling oil price would trigger a spate of mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activity in the upstream industry. It points to a need for even the biggest players to build scale in developing their natural gas trade; for Shell, BG’s assets in Australia and the Atlantic Basin (Brazil) will help to secure a dominant position in Asian and other key markets for liquefied natural gas (LNG).

Issue 339 - 03 February 2017

Mozambique: Domestic gas projects

Free

The Ministry of Mineral Resources and Energy has awarded contracts for domestic gas development projects to three of the 14 companies who bid last year in a tender for projects to utilise gas from the Rovuma Basin development.Norway’s Yara International was granted an allocation of 80-90 mcf/d of gas to produce 1.2-1.3m t/yr of fertilisers and 30MW-50MW of power. Royal Dutch Shell subsidiary Shell Moçambique BV was granted 310-330mcf/d of gas to produce 38m b/d of liquid fuels (diesel, naphtha and kerosene) and 50MW-80MW of power.

Mozambique
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As African Energy editor Thalia Griffiths leaves to explore new opportunities, colleagues asked for her take on developments after 23 years leading the publication. For all the tragedies like the current Ethiopian conflict, she sees real hope for a better future on a continent where, in many places, governance has improved and previously marginalised populations are becoming empowered to enact positive change.

Ghana | Mozambique | South Sudan | Angola | Nigeria | Uganda
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Investors, contractors and financiers have been reassessing southern Africa’s potential to emerge as a natural gas producer, supply hub and importer of molecules and electrons for gas-to-power (GTP) schemes. Mozambique’s emergence as an LNG exporter gives it potential to develop new gas-based industry and infrastructure. Developments in southern Mozambique further suggest it could drive a wider regional industry, with more gas exported by pipeline.

Mozambique | Botswana | Lesotho | Angola | Namibia | Malawi | eSwatini (Swaziland) | Zambia | Zimbabwe | South Africa
Free

Cameroon may be the Central African Economic and Monetary Community’s largest economy, but it remains a political and commercial enigma. Decision-making can move at a glacial pace, in a political system dominated by President Paul Biya, whose apparent aspirations to be re-elected to a fourth seven-year term are a cause of concern, not least for a youthful population living in poor economic and social circumstances. However, progress has been made in delivering services, reflected in the energy sector by national utility Eneo, owned by UK private equity investor Actis, and Victoria Oil and Gas’s growing business selling gas to industry and consumers in commercial hub Douala.

Cameroon