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Issue 313 - 03 December 2015

IOCs raise prospects for East Med gas hub

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International oil companies (IOCs) are considering several routes in parallel to exploit offshore gas resources in the eastern Mediterranean. It is too early to say which route or routes will be chosen, although at least two broad proposals for uniting the production from fields in Egyptian, Cypriot and Israeli waters are on the table. Connections to existing Egyptian infrastructure currently dominate the discussions as it is both the strongest domestic market and the easiest route for potential exports. Eni, BG Group and Israel’s Delek Group have all signalled their enthusiasm for projects that will be dependent on Egyptian offtakers.

Egypt
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Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation (TPDC) has notified operator Aminex that it plans to take a 5% working interest in the Kiliwani North development licence. Under the terms of the Nyuni East Songo-Songo production-sharing agreement which governs the Kiliwani North licence, TPDC has the right to take up 5%, in exchange for reimbursing the joint venture partners with the parastatal’s proportionate share of development capital expenditure on the licence to date. On conclusion of the back-in, Aminex’s interest will fall to 55.575% from 58.5% now.

Tanzania
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While many service companies are struggling with the market contraction caused by the oil price crash, Schlumberger is picking up new opportunities, with a preliminary agreement to take 40% in Ophir Energy’s Equatorial Guinea gas project as well as a global deal with Golar LNG. Schlumberger, which in December signed a field management agreement onshore Morocco, has signed a non-binding heads of terms agreement with Ophir for the Fortuna floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) project.

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Electricity generation across Nigeria reached 4GW in July, the Presidential Task Force on Power has announced. This is a step forward for Nigeria’s chronically underperforming industry, but shows that output remains way off peak demand of 14GW. Similarly, the transmission network’s capacity reached a new peak of 4.6GW as of 30 July, but this was not enough to fight off fierce criticism of Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN).TCN is run under management contract by Canada’s Manitoba Hydro International (MHI).

Nigeria
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Greek power contractor Metka has signed an agreement worth $350m to provide fast-track engineering, procurement and construction services and operations and maintenance support for a 250MW gas power plant. The deal was struck with the Ghanaian government in partnership with Africa and Middle East Resources Investment Group (Ameri Energy) – the investment vehicle of Sheikh Ahmed Bin Dalmook Al-Maktoum, a member of Dubai’s ruling family – who is the concessionaire for the project. It will be developed under a five-year build, own, operate and transfer arrangement.

Ghana
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The World Bank is considering support for Eni’s Sankofa oil and gas project on the Offshore Cape Three Points (OCTP) block. The proposed support package would include World Bank guarantees to support investments in phase 2 of the project, which will develop the Sankofa gas field, and an International Finance Corporation loan as part of a debt financing package for Vitol. Vitol has also applied for a $470m Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (Miga) guarantee against the risks of transfer restriction, expropriation, and breach of contract. Miga may also provide coverage for non-shareholder loans from commercial lenders yet to be identified.

Ghana
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The first big transaction in a predicted wave of industry consolidation prompted by the low oil price, the deal boosted the value of other rumoured bid targets such as Tullow Oil and Ophir Energy. Acquiring BG will increase Shell’s reserves by about a quarter and its production by some 20%, as well as delivering key assets in deep-water Brazil and the Queensland Curtis liquefied natural gas (LNG) project. Shell’s £47bn ($67bn) bid was priced at a 50% premium to BG’s share price, which has been depressed by concerns about the cost of its flagship Brazil and Australian projects, as well as controversy over the pay package offered to new chief executive Helge Lund.

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The 550mcf/d Höegh Gallant floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU) has been installed by Norway’s Höegh at Ain Sokhna, on the Red Sea, and a first delivery of liquefied natural gas (LNG) has arrived from Qatar. The Höegh Gallant has been leased to Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company (Egas) for a five-year period. Höegh LNG formally signed a five-year contract with Egas for the vessel at the beginning of November. Egas plans to install a second FSRU at Ain Sokhna later this year, but details have yet to be revealed.

Egypt
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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).

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US power developer ContourGlobal aims to complete pre-commissioning of the 25MW first phase of its Lake Kivu methane plant by end-March, then tow the barge out into the lake for the commissioning phase. The innovative project aims to produce 100MW of power from methane dissolved in the lake’s waters, while also averting the risk of a potentially deadly release of methane and carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. With the 28MW Nyabarongo hydro plant inaugurated by President Paul Kagame on 5 March and the 15MW Gishoma peat plant due on stream in H2, Rwanda’s installed capacity should reach almost 200MW by year-end.

DR Congo | Rwanda
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The Logbaba power plant has begun delivering 30MW to the grid, fuelled by gas from Victoria Oil & Gas (VOG) subsidiary Gaz du Cameroun. VOG said on 23 April it had begun gas supply to the plant following the installation of gas-fired electricity generators by Altaaqa Global. GDC’s gas is also supplying the 20MW Bassa plant, which started up in March, and the new supply triggers take or pay conditions in a contract with state utility Eneo Cameroun signed in December 2014, which fixes guaranteed minimum take or pay gas consumption at $9/mBtu over the two-year contract term.

Cameroon
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Golar LNG has agreed commercial terms and conditions with Perenco and state oil company Société Nationale des Hydrocarbures (SNH) for a floating liquefied natural gas export project. The Bermuda-registered company announced on 24 December that it had signed a heads of agreement with SNH and Perenco. Golar said the tolling agreement which defines the material commercial terms and conditions for the project is now subject to finalisation with SNH, and government approval. The midstream gas convention setting out the regulatory and fiscal regime governing FLNG operations in Cameroon is being progressed in parallel with the tolling agreement and is also now subject to finalisation with the government.

Cameroon
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Tanzania’s draft gas bill is set to be put before parliament, which began its final session of the year on 4 November. The legislation will provide a regulatory framework for the downstream sector based on the natural gas policy passed late last year, and should provide companies such as BG Group and Statoil with the security and confidence to push ahead with a final investment decision (FID) on a two-train liquefaction facility to export the combined 47tcf of natural gas reserves they have discovered offshore in the Ruvuma Basin.

Tanzania
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Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation (TPDC) has asked the Energy and Water Utilities Regulatory Authority for a tariff of $4.178/mBtu for gas from the Songo Songo field. TPDC is in the final stages of building a pipeline to transport gas from Mtwara and Songo Songo to two processing plants in Madimba, Mtwara, and Songo Songo Island. A new Chinese-funded pipeline has been built to supplement the old 12-inch pipeline between Songo Songo and Dar es Salaam, which reached its capacity of 140mcf/day around 2007-08.

Tanzania
Issue 295 - 27 February 2015

Seplat drops Afren bid plan

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Seplat has abandoned plans to make a bid for Afren after the beleaguered company turned down its request for a further extension to the deadline to make a formal offer. “The board has not received any proposal from Seplat that it believes is capable of being implemented on terms satisfactory to all relevant stakeholders in the company, including the indicated value being significantly below the aggregate value of the debt of the company,” Afren said in a 13 February statement.