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Sonatrach and Total on 10 April signed a comprehensive agreement strengthening their existing partnership in Algeria. Total said the agreement enables the two companies to expand their partnership by progressing new upstream projects, notably with a new contractual framework for the Timimoun gas project, continued joint operations for the Tin Fouye Tabancourt (TFT) gas field under a new agreement, and joint development of a new project, as well as what a Total statement described as “the amicable settlement of outstanding differences between the two companies”.

Algeria
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The US Trade and Development Agency on 10 February approved a $1.1m grant to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Gas and Power Investment Company to support development of a 1,350MW combined-cycle gas power plant in Abuja. The grant will fund technical, economic and financial studies for the plant which will be carried out by the US’ Continuum Associates and GE International Operations (Nigeria). The grant agreement was signed at the Nigeria International Petroleum Summit in Abuja.

Nigeria
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China’s Poly-GCL, which is developing the Calub and Hilala gas fields in the Ogaden Basin, has found more gas reserves as well as some oil during appraisal drilling. “In the appraisal wells the company drilled around Calub it has discovered additional gas reserve. If you remember we were talking about 4.7tcf of gas reserve. Now the recoverable gas amount reached 6-8tcf. The amount has increased significantly,” Ministry of Mines, Petroleum and Natural Gas state minister Koang Tutlam told The Reporter newspaper.

Ethiopia
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Dana Gas on 20 May began drilling the Merak-1 exploration well targeting up to 4tcf of gas in the Eastern Mediterranean Basin. The well is being drilled by Advantage Drilling Services’ Tungsten Explorer drillship in 755 metres of water in the North El Arish concession (Block 6). Chief executive Patrick Allman-Ward told the Africa E&P Summit in London on 23 May the company had identified at least three multi-tcf prospects in the deep-water part of the block, which borders Israeli waters.

Egypt
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The government has passed legislation aimed at improving regulation and governance in the oil and gas sector, though the speed with which it was processed has been criticised by opposition MPs and civil society groups. The Petroleum Act was passed on 5 July, followed by the Oil & Gas Revenue Management Act and the Tanzania Extractive Industry (Transparency & Accountability) Act the following day. Opposition parties accused the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi party of pushing through the legislation without giving parliament time to adequately consider its contents.

Tanzania
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Energy and mines minister Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima has expressed reservations about contract transparency despite his government applying to rejoin the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). Speaking to African Energy before travelling to Paris for the EITI Global Conference, he said the initiative treated countries with limited capacity too harshly, and expressed reservations about publishing contract terms.“Some of the members of EITI, they are not there to help countries,” Obiang Lima said.

Equatorial Guinea
Issue 352 - 11 August 2017

Tanzania: More gas from Songo Songo

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After a process lasting more than two years, upstream operator Orca Exploration Group has received government approval for the Second Additional Gas Plan (AGP-2), more than doubling the available volume of Additional Gas for sale from the Songo Songo field.Under the production-sharing agreement for the Songo Songo gas field, production is divided into Protected Gas and Additional Gas.

Tanzania
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BP has selected McDermott International and Baker Hughes (BHGE) for front-end engineering design (FEED) studies in advance of an engineering, procurement, construction and installation (EPCI) contract for the subsea element of the Tortue/Ahmeyim field development. The companies will work together to define the technology and equipment scope for an initial four-well development phase. McDermott said the FEED work was scheduled to begin and complete this year. The agreement contains a mechanism to allow transition of the contract to a lump-sum EPCI contract at a later date.

Mauritania | Senegal
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South Africa’s Sasol has announced a joint prefeasibility study for a large-scale gas-to-liquids (GTL) plant, based on gas from the Rovuma Basin. The study, which is being conducted in conjunction with Empresa Nacional de Hidrocarbonetos and Area 4 operator Eni, will assess the viability and benefits of such a plant to the region.

Mozambique | South Africa
Issue 387 - 28 February 2019

Kosmos to sell down part of Tortue stake

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Kosmos Energy says it plans to reduce its stake in the Tortue gas development to around 10%. “Kosmos has discovered a significant and valuable resource in Mauritania and Senegal and the final investment decision of the Tortue project in December 2018 has created a value inflection point. Following interest from multiple third parties, Kosmos intends to sell down its position to ~10%,” the company said in a capital markets day presentation on 25 February.

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On 18 April, President John Dramani Mahama inaugurated the first unit of the Sunon Asogli gas plant expansion, which will add 180MW to the grid initially and 360MW once it is converted to combined-cycle operation. Phase one of the Asogli power plant was completed in 2010 but has had problems with unreliable gas supply from the West African Gas Pipeline (WAGP).

Ghana
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Ophir Energy has signed an agreement on gas fiscal terms with the Ministry of Mines, Industry and Energy, paving the way for development of Block R (AE 285/17). Minister Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima told Global Pacific & Partners’ Africa Oil Week in Cape Town on 4 November that detailed discussions on development would now take place. Nguema Lima said the block contained 3.4tcf of recoverable gas, which would be produced via a 20-well development in four phases, to a floating liquefied natural gas vessel with capacity of 3m t/yr, which will be Africa’s first FLNG project.

Equatorial Guinea
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A new blockade of Marsa al-Harigah port in eastern Libya by an armed group that has not been involved in previous disruptions has prevented tankers from loading crude and caused a sharp drop in exports, which had previously been running at about 360,000 b/d. The protesters, from a faction of the Petroleum Facilities Guard (PFG), are seeking payment of five months’ back wages rather than any major political concessions. But the action shows how easily production and exports can still be disrupted by relatively small groups.

Libya
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London’s Commercial Court has upheld a $536m award in favour of Norway’s Statoil and against Algeria’s Sonatrach in a dispute over the non-delivery of liquefied natural gas (LNG). The ruling is a further embarrassment to Sonatrach after a year in which it has lost a series of arbitrations with gas offtakers, mostly related to pricing. At first sight, the ruling appears to confirm concerns about Algeria’s ability to meet its international gas supply commitments. However, a closer analysis shows that the dispute is also the result of dysfunctional management at the most senior level in both Sonatrach and the Ministry of Energy and Mines.

Algeria
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Following concessions on the pricing of Algerian gas taken by Tunisia through the Trans-Mediterranean Gas Pipeline, Sonatrach and Société Tunisienne d’Electricité et de Gaz (Steg) have agreed to renew their offtake agreement through to 2027, with a possible extension of the contract to 2029. Unlike recent agreements with European clients, which have involved lower liftings, Sonatrach on 17 June said the draft agreement anticipated a 20% rise in the contracted volumes to be taken from 2025, “with a view to securing the expected increase in consumption in this strategic market”.

Algeria | Tunisia