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Opposition from local authorities to UK private equity investor Actis’ planned takeover of French operator Veolia Environnement’s electricity, water and sanitation concessions in Morocco may be explained in part by a shift in political and popular opinion away from privately financed projects and concessions back to a greater role for local politicians and the state. Morocco is not alone in this: public/private partnership models that give public bodies, and the politicians who lead them, more control are increasingly in vogue.

Ghana | Rwanda | Ethiopia | Morocco
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The World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA) has approved a loan of $178.5m, alongside a grant of $24.5m from its Scaling-up Renewable Energy Program Trust Fund, to boost development of geothermal resources. The bank said the funding would be administered in two phases, with the first intended to confirm geothermal resources and boost capacity development, and the second aimed at developing the resource for power generation. The project is targeting two geothermal sites, Aluto and Alalobad. At Aluto, four IDA-financed wells will be drilled alongside 22 further wells of between 2,000 and 2,500 metres depth. At Alalobad, four IDA-financed wells will be drilled to explore the site and identify resource potential.

Ethiopia
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The Shimela-1 well on the South Omo Block has proved another disappointment for operator Tullow Oil, finding only water-bearing reservoirs. Shimela-1 was drilled to a final depth of 1,940 metres to test a prospect in a north-western sub-basin of the Chew Bahir Basin. The Exalo 205 rig will now move to drill the Gardim-1 wildcat exploration well in a separate sub-basin in the south-eastern corner of the Chew Bahir Basin. “Although the Shimela well only found traces of thermogenic gas, it has provided key data to continue to build our understanding of the north-western part of the Chew Bahir Basin,” said Tullow exploration director Angus McCoss.

Ethiopia
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Moody’s, Standard and Poor’s and Fitch Ratings have all issued sovereign credit rating for Ethiopia, paving the way for the country to debut on international capital markets. Moody’s gave Ethiopia local and foreign currency issuer ratings of B1, with a stable outlook, while the other two agencies rated it B. Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said last year that the country was planning a Eurobond once it had secured a credit rating, which would add it to the growing number of African countries issuing bonds. Last year, African countries including new issuers Gabon and Rwanda issued a record $11bn in sovereign bonds, up from $6bn in 2012.

Ethiopia
Issue 274 - 01 April 2014

Ethiopia: EITI approval draws anger

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The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) approved Ethiopia’s application for EITI candidature at a board meeting on 19 March, much to the anger of several parties, including Human Rights Watch (HRW). The country now has three years to achieve compliance with the EITI Standard, which was upgraded last year. “Some opposed this decision, but it should be remembered that becoming a candidate does not mean that any country has met the EITI Standard. In the case of Ethiopia, the decision shows that the Board was convinced by the government’s commitment to the EITI’s principles,” EITI chair Clare Short said in a statement.

Ethiopia
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Reykjavik Geothermal will begin drilling at the $2bn 500MW Corbetti geothermal power project by July, chief executive Gunnar Örn Gunnarsson told African Energy. The company, which is based in Iceland and owned by US investors, signed an agreement with the government to develop the project in October, and the facility is scheduled to begin operating by 2020. Reykjavik Geothermal expects to begin closing financing worth up to $80m this month, and to raise $500m from equity partners over the course of the project.

Ethiopia
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The government has approved two farm-out agreements enabling Africa Oil Corporation to bring in Marathon Oil Corporation to the Rift Basin Area and increasing New Age (African Global Energy)’s holding in the Adigala Block. Under the terms of the Marathon farm-out agreement, Marathon will acquire a 50% interest in the Rift Basin Area. Africa Oil will maintain operatorship of the block, but Marathon has the right to take over if a commercial discovery is made. Marathon will pay Africa Oil $3m of past costs, and will fund $15m of its partner’s share of exploration.

Ethiopia
Issue 271 - 14 February 2014

Ethiopia: Yemen to buy 100MW

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Ethiopia and Yemen are preparing to sign a power purchase agreement for Yemen to receive 100MW via a power cable to be laid across the floor of the Red Sea. An Ethiopian government newsletter said the agreement would be signed “soon”, making Yemen the fourth country to buy electricity from Ethiopia via interconnection agreements. Ethiopia has an agreement with Sudan to sell 200MW of electric power, of which 100MW is already under way, while Kenya and Djibouti are receiving 100MW and 50MW respectively.

Ethiopia
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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 to nine countries in the region, potentially expanding its network of clients to the Southern African Power Pool and countries in North Africa. Aimed at turning Ethiopia into a middle-income country by 2023, the Growth and Transformation Plan seeks to double access rates, increasing the number of Ethiopians connected to the grid to 4m and expanding electricity services to 75% of towns and villages.

Ethiopia
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Drilling has begun at the site of the Aluto geothermal power plant expansion project phase III. The project to expand the 7MW pilot plant operating on the site will involve drilling 20 deep geothermal wells, installing a heat-gathering system, and building a 70MW power plant and switchyard and a 13km 132kV transmission line from the power plant to Adami Tulu, where a new substation will be built. A feasibility study for generation of power from the Aluto Langano geothermal field was conducted in March 2010 by Ernst and Young ShinNihon LLC, Japan External Trade Organisation and West Japan Engineering Consultants.

Ethiopia
Issue 268 - 20 December 2013

Ethiopia: Dry well for Tullow

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Tullow Oil has announced a second unsuccessful well in the South Omo Block. The Tultule-1 wildcat was drilled to a total depth of 2,101 metres and will be plugged and abandoned as a dry hole. The well was targeting a reservoir section similar to the sands drilled in the nearby Sabisa-1 well, where oil shows were encountered but these sands were not penetrated in Tultule-1. Tullow said gas shows were recorded, “which reaffirm the presence of a hydrocarbon source in the region”, and the results of both wells would now be analysed to determine the future exploration campaign for the area.

Ethiopia
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Ethiopia’s 6,000MW Grand Renaissance dam on the Blue Nile River is the centrepiece of the country’s five-year Growth and Transformation Programme, which aims to turn the country into a middle-income nation by 2015, expanding its electricity coverage to 75% of the population and supplying the region with power. The dam’s commissioning was originally scheduled to begin during late 2013, but disputes over the potential impact on Ethiopia’s downstream neighbours, Sudan and Egypt, have hampered progress. In 2010, Ethiopia signed an agreement with several other countries in the region, except for Sudan and Egypt, asserting its right to build on the Blue Nile (AE 218/5).

Ethiopia
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The Africa-EU Energy Partnership (AEEP) will hold its second high-level meeting on 12-13 February 2014, in Addis Ababa. One of eight Joint Africa-European Union Strategic Partnerships created in 2007 – and by most accounts the most dynamic – the AEEP will use the meeting to put forward priorities for action that will feed into preparations for the planned Africa-EU Summit meeting, scheduled to be held in Brussels on 2-3 April. The meeting will unveil the AEEP’s First Monitoring Report (for which African Energy publisher Cross-border Information is consultant), showing progress made towards meeting targets for generation, energy security, access and energy efficiency.

Ethiopia
Issue 266 - 25 November 2013

Ethiopia: US firms in solar contracts

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The Ministry of Water and Energy and the Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation have given US companies Global Trade and Development Consulting and Energy Ventures a contract for three 100MW solar plants in the east of the country.The site selection, due diligence and feasibility study were completed earlier this year and the plants will be developed on a build-operate-transfer basis. Global Trade and Development Consulting is run by Ethiopian-born economist Yonnas Kefle. In 2010, the government launched its Growth and Transformation Plan, which aims to turn Ethiopia into a middle-income country by 2023.

Ethiopia
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Prime minister Hailemariam Desalegn formally inaugurated the 120MW Ashegoda wind farm on 26 October. The wind farm, which started commissioning a year ago, was developed by France’s Vergnet, which signed a contract with Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation (EEPCo) in October 2008. Lahmeyer carried out feasibility studies and supervised construction. Financing for the €210m ($272m) project was provided by €113m of buyer credit from Compagnie Française d’Assurance pour le Commerce Extérieur, a €45m concessional loan from the Agence Française de Développement, and a €33m tied commercial loan from BNP Paribas. EEPCo provided €19m in local currency.

Ethiopia