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Wärtsilä has signed an engineering, procurement and construction contract to build a 48MW gas power plant supplying Bua Group’s Sokoto cement plant in northern Nigeria. The plant will run primarily on liquefied natural gas (LNG) with low pour fuel oil as a back-up. Wärtsilä has been targeting the thermal market in Africa with its integrated gas power and LNG regasification technology in recent years.The power plant will supply a new cement line at the Sokoto facility using five Wärtsilä 34DF dual-fuel engines, complementing two heavy fuel oil (HFO) plants already operating at the site, which is entirely off-grid.

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While minister of mines and hydrocarbons Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima is clearly in a hurry to bring more oil and gas resources into production and to raise the profile of his country within the global hydrocarbons industry, he is also holding out for the best deals he can get. Market speculation is focused on a prospective deal for London-based independent Trident Energy – which is led by former Perenco executives and describes itself as an expert in reviving mid-life oil and gas assets – to take over ExxonMobil’s Zafiro oil and gas field, which started production in 1996.

Equatorial Guinea
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Eni and ExxonMobil, partners in Mozambique’s Area 4 liquefied natural gas (LNG) scheme, announced on 28 December that they have secured enough offtake commitments to move to a final investment decision (FID) on their planned onshore development in 2019. A joint statement gave no figures but said they had secured LNG offtake commitments from affiliated buyer entities of the partners, which it described as “a key milestone enabling the participants to rapidly move toward a final investment decision in 2019 on the first phase of the Rovuma LNG project”.

Mozambique
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President Macky Sall looked at his confident best on 12 June as he hosted a day of dialogue over the future shape of the oil and gas industry and the expected revenue boost to the Senegalese economy. The event sought to bring together politicians, business and civil society, but significant elements of the opposition boycotted the event in Dakar’s new conference centre. Sall’s opponents demand that the government should publish all the natural resources contracts it has signed to date.

Senegal
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Scores of people have been killed since late May in attacks on villages in the northern Cabo Delgado province blamed on Islamist militants. In one attack near the coastal town of Palma, the attackers abducted residents from Monjane and Ulumbi villages who were found beheaded on 27 May in nearby bush. Security forces have deployed in the area, where consortia led by Anadarko and Eni are planning big liquefied natural gas (LNG) developments.

Mozambique
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The Egypt-Lebanon gas deal shows Cairo’s determination to reinforce its indispensable role as regional leader, but the highly publicised arrangement also highlights some of the contradictions in Cairo’s commercial gas strategy, write James Gavin and John Hamilton

Egypt
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President Samia Suluhu Hassan has made sweeping changes to the leadership of Tanzania’s energy sector in the post-Magufuli period but macroeconomic, political and legislative obstacles to deeper change will remain for some time, writes Dan Marks.

Tanzania
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Italy’s Eni seems gradually to be swallowing up BP’s African assets, with potential deals in Algeria and Angola building on a close relationship forged also in Egypt, Libya and Mozambique. These deals may be a sign of a deeper shake-out as European majors adapt to the demands of energy transition, writes James Gavin.

Mozambique | Egypt | Angola | Libya | Algeria
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Like other Opec members, Algeria is promising a major conversion to renewable power, as the realities of the global energy transition register in even the more conservative oil producers. But this won’t stop Algiers ploughing ahead with a massively delayed procurement of gas-fired power or from giving under-performing state giants even more responsibilities, write John Hamilton, Jon Marks and our Algiers correspondent  

Algeria
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Namibia’s slow-burning oil and gas opening is finally picking up pace, as independents and majors prepare to drill. Is it possible that a country with no history of hydrocarbons production could become a significant player in southern Africa’s developing gas industry, asks James Gavin.

Namibia
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Egypt’s latest licensing round includes three unexplored western Mediterranean blocks which represent the future for the country’s natural gas sector. Their fate is tied closely to Egypt’s wider domestic and regional energy strategy, which despite an energetic campaign of modernisation and renewal is still overshadowed by the mistakes of the first gas export drive in the late 1990s, writes John Hamilton.

Egypt
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Finance minister Calle Schlettwein is caught between debt concerns and political pressures as he argues the case against developing the Kudu gas field in a debate that has pitted the ruling Swapo party’s patronage networks against financial prudence.Following mines and energy minister Obeth Kandjoze’s decision in June to cancel the Xaris standby power plant as a result of a doubling in the price tag, President Hage Geingob tasked Schlettwein to find a solution to a projected 250MW shortfall in electricity supply in 2016.

Namibia
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Many individual elements of a plan to fix Egypt’s energy problems are now coming into focus – including a politically controversial proposal to import gas from Israel. But important details are still missing, not least the commercial terms for imports and how these will relate to the terms under which domestic producers will sell their gas. It is also far from certain that the administration of President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi has a coherent plan to address fundamental economic concerns, such as the need to abolish subsidies, which are currently being alleviated by massive injections of Gulf finance.

Egypt
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Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari has surprised many investors by declining to sign into law the embattled Petroleum Industry Governance Bill. Claiming the bill would divert scarce financial resources from state coffers, Buhari in late August struck a potentially lethal blow to petroleum reform. He may also have brought an anticlimactic end to almost two decades of tortuous legislative to and fro over petroleum reform, marked by extensive lobbying and concern from Shell, Eni, ExxonMobil, Total and other international partners.

Nigeria
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New details have emerged of the Moroccan government’s ambitious project to import liquefied natural gas (LNG) and develop six combined-cycle gas turbine (CCGT) power plants with combined 6.3GW capacity, whose launch has been promised by energy minister Abdelkader Amara for some months. The Ministry of Energy, Mines, Water and Environment is expected to launch tenders for legal, technical and financial consultants “in a few weeks” to support the plan’s estimated $5bn first phase, which will make natural gas a key component in the wider energy mix, delegates at the AiX:Gas conference in London heard on 28 May.

Morocco