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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
Free

Local content provision has long been a hot topic in the oil and gas industry, but many delegates at the 3-4 October Africa Investment Exchange: Nairobi event were surprised at how far the issue could generate controversy and block support for electricity projects. Several African delegates spoke of building local content into projects to drive industrialisation that, in turn, will improve living standards and stimulate demand for power. But one major funder insisted their institution could not support projects that created “market distortions” contravening the European Union’s standard procurement procedures.

Free

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).

Free

As hydrocarbons prices have pushed upwards after their slump, a degree of future planning has returned to the global gas market. New liquefied natural gas (LNG) export projects are in prospect, led by Australia and the United States, but with a few schemes in Africa. In Mozambique’s Rovuma Basin, a final investment decision (FID) on Coral LNG, led by Eni and ExxonMobil, is expected by end-2017, for exports to Asia from the early/mid-2020s. As the industry builds up, Mozambique expects a big domestic dividend, with the Rovuma Basin also supplying domestic gas-to-power (GTP) projects.

Mozambique
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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
Free

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
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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
Free

What’s not to like for investors in President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s Egypt? The government’s International Monetary Fund-supported reform programme has greatly improved macroeconomic conditions; Egypt was a rare economy that reported some growth in Covid-plagued 2020, despite a huge downturn in tourism and other key revenue-earners. Its commitment to accelerating infrastructure development has sucked funds into global-scale solar and wind power programmes.

Egypt
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With sky-high prices apparently a thing of the past, the outlook is gloomy for liquefied natural gas (LNG) exporters, even in the most lucrative markets, such as Japan. With a predicted supply glut running into the next decade and price pressures accentuated by the fast-emerging spot market (for more on this see African Energy’s sister publication Gulf States News http://www.gsn-online.com/amid-shifting-global-gas-supply-gulf-states-emerge-as-their-own-best-market) only a few major projects are still expected to go ahead worldwide. In Africa, these include Eni’s Zohr field in Egypt and developments in Mozambique’s Rovuma Basin (as well as its smaller, more southerly fields supplying South Africa).

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
Free

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