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A year after initial awards were first announced, minister of petroleum and mineral resources Tarek El-Molla has signed oil and gas exploration agreements with six major IOCs and their Egyptian partner Tharwa Petroleum. Seven of the agreements involving Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company (Egas) are for offshore areas in the Mediterranean, while two are with South Valley Egyptian Petroleum Holding Company (Ganope) covering areas in the Red Sea. The ministry has said it expects to sign three more agreements soon.

Egypt
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Energy minister and Sonatrach veteran Abdelmadjid Attar is among those criticising the state energy giant for performing well below expected levels, dragging down the wider Algerian economy with it. Pressure is growing for the government to deliver an investor-friendly business environment and for Sonatrach to revise its long-term strategy and management structures, writes Jon Marks.

Algeria
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The enthusiasm of majors towards the kingdom has waned as their global priorities have shifted, but several smaller companies are looking to sell gas to local power and industrial clients. But even with the government’s ambitious LNG import scheme apparently shelved, electricity capacity seems comfortable and industrial demand is uncertain, meaning commercialising gas reserves is far from easy for ambitious minnows, writes Jon Marks.

Morocco
Issue 429 - 17 December 2020

US to require ownership disclosure

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In a major victory for transparency campaigners, the US Congress has passed a groundbreaking measure to ban anonymous shell companies by a veto-proof majority. The Corporate Transparency Act, which was tacked on to the annual National Defense Authorization Act, will oblige corporations and limited liability companies established in the United States to disclose their real owners to the US Treasury Department.

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An unusually bitter spat between National Oil Corporation and the central bank over the value of oil revenues earned during 2020 is the most public manifestation of the new realignment in Libyan politics. At stake is the question of who will control the nation’s finances over the next year while preparations are put in place for new elections, writes John Hamilton.

Libya
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Preparations to award exploration licences in early 2021 are facing disruption as political tensions resurface ahead of presidential elections set for 8 February. Disputes between the federal government and the regions are far from resolved, and new oil institutions may not be able to withstand political realities, writes James Gavin.  

Somalia
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TotalEnergies’ discovery of light oil with associated gas on its Venus prospect could prove another galvanising movement in a critical year for Namibia’s nascent oil and gas industry, with more drilling planned by IOCs.

Namibia
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Shell has underlined Mauritania’s rising profile by signing a production sharing contract for offshore Block C2. While one supermajor plans to start initial exploration, BP and partners have agreed their preferred development concept for phase two of the Mauritania/Senegal Greater Tortue Ahmeyim integrated LNG project – finally moving that scheme towards a final investment decision, write James Gavin and Marc Howard.

Mauritania | Senegal
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Negotiations with Shell and Equinor for the estimated $30bn Lindi liquefied natural gas (LNG) project (also known as Tanzania LNG) have been completed, and contracts are being written up, energy minister January Makamba said on 6 March.

Tanzania
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Political, social and legal opposition to Eni’s multi-billion-dollar upstream gas development deal is driven by an alliance of fief holders who may not be able to stop the deal, but could make it harder and more expensive to complete. The opposition reflects continuing dysfunction, raising the prospect of more blockades and disruption, writes Mohamed Eljarh*, with John Hamilton.

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Somalia has been accused of circulating an unofficial maritime map that includes offshore blocks that are claimed by Yemen.

Somalia
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London AIM-listed Savannah Energy said it planned to announce a series of new utility-scale renewable power projects over the course of Q2 and Q3 2023 and was moving ahead with its planned acquisition of assets in South Sudan, as it deals with the shock nationalisation of its upstream assets and export pipeline in Chad in March.

Chad
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Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) has partnered with British major BP in a bid to buy 50% of Israel’s NewMed Energy, the largest shareholder in the Leviathan gas field offshore Israel. The deal was presented as a first step in a potentially broader eastern Mediterranean play.

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The Greater Pecan offshore oil project seems revived after Africa Finance Corporation took a 50% stake in the field with its acquisition of Aker Energy, in a move that underlined AFC’s policy of supporting hydrocarbons projects with positive economic impacts even while many others have stepped back from backing oil and gas, especially upstream deals, write James Gavin and Jon Marks.

Ghana
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A 12-block onshore licensing round is due in September. In the meantime, regulator ANPG and Sonangol have been reaching agreements with international energy majors and independents.

Angola