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London (LSE)-, Irish- and Ghana Stock Exchange-listed Tullow Oil’s merger with Capricorn Energy (ex-Cairn Energy) brings together two FTSE250 independent exploration and production companies to create an Africa-focused entity with a bigger portfolio and longer pockets. Capricorn’s balance sheet complements Tullow’s regional depth, but questions remain over who gains most from the merger and the deals promised to follow.

Kenya | Ghana | Egypt | Gabon | Côte d'Ivoire
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The oil and gas industry and local environmental campaigners are awaiting a ruling from the Gqeberha High Court in the Eastern Cape, following a three-day hearing on Shell’s offshore seismic survey plans which was adjourned on 31 May with judgement reserved.

South Africa
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Australian Securities Exchange (ASX)-listed Invictus Energy has raised A$12m ($8.5m) via a private placement with investors to support its oil and gas drilling campaign in Zimbabwe’s Cabora Bassa region.

Zimbabwe
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A plan by Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to auction 16 oil and gas blocks has attracted opposition from environmental groups, who accuse President Félix Tshisekedi’s government of threatening a sensitive ecosystem.

DR Congo
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Tullow Oil has awarded a contract to Petrofac to provide well decommissioning services in Mauritania. The deal has a potential value of more than $60m and involves the plugging and abandonment of seven subsea wells.

Mauritania
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Looking for a bounce from the excitement generated by oil majors’ recent finds in neighbouring offshore Namibia, Lundin Group’s Africa Energy Corporation says its Block 2B joint venture with Eco Atlantic, Panoro Energy and Crown Energy will start drilling the Gazania exploration well off South Africa by September.

South Africa
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Prospective upstream players including Russian entrepreneur Alexander Dzhaparidze have encountered yet another setback in efforts to secure production-sharing agreements offshore Somalia. Houston-based Coastline Exploration, of which Dzhaparidze is a non-executive director, has taken on the business objectives of UK-registered Soma Oil and Gas, which first applied for the PSAs in 2015. Somalia approaches a financial precipice less than one month before the conclusion of a difficult election cycle, but its most recent attempt to get the oil deals signed has ended despite apparent support from petroleum minister Abdirashid Mohamed Ahmed and Somali Petroleum Authority chairman Ibrahim Ali Hussein; the agreement was vetoed by both President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed Farmaajo and Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble.

Somalia
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With its redomiciling from Australia to Norway completed at end-February, PetroNor is now looking to increase production from its African assets. However, the investigation into former chief executive Knut Søvold continues, following his arrest in December over projects in Africa.

Nigeria | Guinea-Bissau | Congo Brazzaville
Issue 454 - 11 February 2022

Namibia: Shell announces first oil find

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Shell has confirmed Namibia’s first formal find, with a light oil discovery at the offshore Graff-1 well. The oil major said on 4 February that its exploration well in the PEL-39 licence area of the Orange Basin had revealed “encouraging” results, with the presence of a working petroleum system with light oil. Namibia hopes to fast-track the development to have first production by 2026.

Namibia
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TotalEnergies’s Venus and Shell’s Graff discoveries have transformational potential for the offshore Orange Basin play – WoodMac suggests Venus could be the biggest-ever sub-Saharan oil discovery. This makes Namibia the focus of renewed global attention as the latest of Africa’s potential ‘Elephant’ producers, exciting a range of companies and potentially more work off South Africa.

Namibia
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Eni and BP were among the winners in Egypt’s latest upstream bid round. But most blocks on offer went unawarded, as the Ministry of Petroleum failed in its ambition to open up major exploration frontier in the Mediterranean Sea. Instead, bidders stuck closely to areas they already knew

Egypt
Issue 453 - 31 January 2022

Eni: Using upstream cash for transition

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Operating in 14 African countries, the Italian major has a more extensive presence in the continent than other international oil companies (IOCs), and one that has not followed their retrenchment. Eni chief executive Claudio Descalzi – who has spent long years on the continent and whose wife Marie-Madeleine Ingoba is Congolese – is a regular visitor to Africa, meeting with heads of state.

Issue 457 - 22 March 2022

Tullow Oil eyes Ghana growth

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Tullow Oil has completed its pre-emption on the planned sale of Occidental Petroleum's interests in Ghana’s Jubilee and TEN fields to Kosmos Energy.

Ghana
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At least three people died and four others are missing after the Trinity Spirit floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel exploded on 2 February off the coast of Nigeria.

Nigeria
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At the heart of the Nigerian government’s $1.7bn case against JP Morgan Chase Bank North America in London’s High is the claim that JPM breached Quincecare duties when it transferred $875.7m in a pair of transfers to Nigerian bank accounts controlled by Malabu Oil and Gas in relation to the OPL 245 oil block.  African Energy explains what these duties are and what questions the court will need to answer to decide the claim.

Nigeria