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Issue 339 - 03 February 2017

Mozambique: Domestic gas projects

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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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Its wealth of renewable energy resources, availability of land and proximity to markets mean Africa holds the key to Europe’s vision of a net zero future based on green hydrogen (GH2) use. The manufacture of carbon-free liquid fuels could also transform the continent, but project sponsors, financers and offtakers need to ensure this is done fairly, while contributing to economic and social development. The establishment of the European Hydrogen Bank can be a crucial step in that direction.

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The timing of the official commissioning of the 650,000 b/d Dangote Petroleum Refinery and Petrochemical Plant on 22 May said as much about local political sensitivities as it did about the facility’s undoubted importance for the Nigerian energy sector.

Nigeria
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A novel debt restructuring deal between Zambia and its bilateral creditors should pave the way for Lusaka to finally receive new assistance from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and, in time, move beyond its debt defaulting status with credit ratings agencies. The deal could help to relieve pressure on debt-stressed state utility Zesco but, as so often, the devil resides in the detail and some significant elements have yet to be put in place, including a critical agreement with private creditors that could involve further tough negotiations with Beijing.

Zambia
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The final COP28 communiqué included – for the first time – a commitment to eventually phase out fossil fuels, going beyond previous declarations that focused on coal. However, there are few signs that Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) members and their Opec+ allies, led by Russia, have any intention of allowing their core source of revenues to disappear anytime soon. So what can we learn from recent statements by oil producers – including Opec+’s quota commitments at a meeting on 30 November – and from leaks and comments made during COP28?

Angola | Nigeria | Libya | Congo Brazzaville | Algeria
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Publication of the 500th issue provides an opportunity to look back at a few triumphs and many missed opportunities in the industries African Energy has covered since it was launched in 1998. Industry and financial trends have evolved, and sometimes returned to haunt stakeholders years after they were thought to be history. One constant has been the huge increase in the continent’s population, which means the UN target of universal clean energy access is constantly pushed into the distance.

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Now West Africa’s second biggest economy after Nigeria, Ghana is in a strong position to benefit from the region’s new oil boom. So far, Ghana has the advantage over its neighbours in terms of discoveries, with production from the Jubilee field, further finds in development, and more exploration under way. While the oil has been flowing for more than a year, gas development is lagging badly behind, but with elections due in December, opposition presidential candidate Nana Akufo-Addo has a clear vision for the kind of economic development he wants from Ghana’s oil revenue. He sees potential to turn Ghana into a regional manufacturing hub.

Ghana
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A commercial agreement on the joint exploitation of hydrocarbons between Angolan national oil company Sonangol and its Congolese equivalent, Cohydro, has sparked controversy in Kinshasa. Key provisions within the agreement remain unclear, and there are fears the deal will reduce Democratic Republic of Congo’s access to potential offshore reserves. The Angolan and Congolese authorities first agreed to look for ways to jointly explore for oil and gas in the Zone d’Intérêt Commun, a 10km offshore corridor covering Angolan blocks 1, 14, 15 and 31, in 2007. But given DRC’s limited access to the sea, and Angola’s determination to maximise its own access to potential oil fields, the stakes have been high and progress has been commensurately slow.

DR Congo | Angola
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While there is still much more exploration work to be done, Kenya’s discovery of oil is important for more than just national pride. The find, announced in April by Block 10BB operator Tullow Oil, is a significant stabilising factor for regional development as it enables the East African Community (EAC)’s main economic and political power to take a seat at the table alongside its hitherto luckier neighbours.

Kenya | Uganda | Tanzania
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The problems of Nigeria’s southeast are rarely far from being a political and oil company preoccupation. Issues of governance and reputational damage weigh heavy on majors’ perceptions about operating in a lucrative but troubled region as lawyers busy themselves acting for local communities against Royal Dutch Shell and potentially other IOCs in a series of class actions. The new military top team appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari is challenged with reducing insecurity, including from rising levels of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea.

Nigeria
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With North Africa in turmoil, the attention of many international oil companies (IOCs) has swung towards the Eastern Mediterranean – an area not unknown for intractable political conflict and instability.

Libya | Algeria
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The most abundant element on earth, hydrogen, already has industrial uses, but it could do much more to transform the global energy mix as industrialised economies and the global south decarbonise. Judged by the welter of governmental and corporate statements, hydrogen is featuring large in the thoughts of planners and project promoters. These range from Chinese hydrocarbons giant Sinopec’s plans to reallocate some of its Rmb87bn ($13bn) cash pile to projects “all along the hydrogen chain” to Australian junior miner AVZ Minerals’ green lithium mine project at Manono in Democratic Republic of Congo.

DR Congo | South Africa
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Gas-fuelled power projects have an important role to play in Africa, according to African Energy Live Data’s figures. The Africa-wide database lists 313 operating gas-fired plants, with 84,226MW of installed capacity; another 39 plants are under construction (with total 32,933MW capacity) and 156 are planned (66,921MW). The majority are utility-scale facilities supplying national grids; Live Data records 206 of these as operational (75,487MW), 33 under construction (28,754MW) and 119 planned (58,061MW).

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Production cuts by a majority of Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) producers, working in coordination with non-Opec exporters led by Russia, have helped to raise oil prices from their 2014-16 lows; the strategy seems likely to maintain crude benchmarks at around $50 for some time. While second-guessing the oil price is a hazardous business, African Energy’s soundings of major international oil companies (IOCs) suggest this represents a ‘new normal’ for the industry, as factored into corporations’ base case scenario-planning.

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Egypt could have a future as a Mediterranean gas exporter. Rising debts owed by Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC) and other post-revolution problems weigh on international oil companies, but IOCs and industry analysts are optimistic about the prospects for further hydrocarbons discoveries in the Nile Delta, Western Desert and other regions, reflected in the latest EGPC licensing round bidding.

Egypt