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Azonto Petroleum announced on 18 December that its affiliate Vioco Petroleum had received an Exclusive Exploitation Authorisation (EEA) covering the Gazelle field in Block CI-202.The award of the EEA signed by President Alassane Ouattara follows approval of the field development plan for Gazelle by state oil company Petroci in October. Vioco is now working towards project sanction, which is expected in H1 2015, with first gas anticipated some 14 to 16 months later, in H2 2016.

Côte d'Ivoire

A series of petty disputes involving tribes and militias in western Libya have threatened National Oil Corporation (NOC)’s ambitions to maintain or even increase oil output, which peaked at 1.1m b/d in early August. The challenge facing chairman Mustafa Sanalla is that armed groups who have carried out blockades and actions against oil and gas facilities in recent months are outside the control of any single authority.


Following management changes and an upturn in its financing, Electricidade de Moçambique (EDM) was “redefined” as a more commercial and efficient organisation in 2016, the state utility’s chairman and chief executive Mateus Magala told the Africa Energy Forum (AEF) on 7 June. EDM has added 350MW generation capacity in the last two years, according to board member Carlos Youm – and expects to add 950MW in the next five years, providing the government approves further reforms, including cost-reflective tariffs. With the utility on a firmer footing, it will take “two years to establish the new normal”, Magala said.


Symbion Power Lake Kivu Ltd on 8 December signed a 25-year power purchase agreement with state utility Rwanda Energy Group for a 50MW methane gas-to-power project on Lake Kivu. A detailed feasibility study and front-end engineering design have been completed for the project, which will now proceed to detailed design, procurement and permiting.The agreement comes as the KivuWatt project, developed by the US’ ContourGlobal, has begun tests for commissioning of its first 25MW after being connected to the grid.


Finland’s Wärtsilä announced on 25 April that it had signed a contract to engineer, manufacture and deliver the 130MW Malicounda thermal plant at Mbour. The plant will comprise seven Wärtsilä 50 engines initially running on heavy fuel oil, with the option of converting to gas if it becomes available. Commercial operation is expected in 2020. The project will be owned by Melec PowerGen on a build, own, operate, transfer basis, with Lebanon’s Matelec as engineering, procurement and construction contractor.


A readjustment of relations between international oil companies (IOCs) and the authorities is evidence of a new, more realistic approach towards upstream development. However, difficulties remain. While a number of international partners have successfully amended or extended their contracts with Alnaft, others have surrendered their interests – continuing a trend of the past several years.The most important two contracts to have been altered in a positive way are those regarding Total and Cepsa’s development of the Timimoun tight gas field in south-west Algeria and BP and Statoil’s production of gas at In Amenas.


Oil and gas explorer Africa New Energies (ANE) is preparing to begin fundraising for a ten-well drilling project onshore Namibia through the issuance of asset-backed crypto-tokens. The company has owned two onshore blocks totalling 22,000km2 in Namibia through its subsidiary Alumni Exploration East Namibia Ltd since December 2012, when the company was founded by South Africans Steven Larkin and Brendon Raw. ANE has been using unconventional exploration techniques based on machine learning to identify drilling sites, in theory at a fraction of the cost of conventional 2D and 3D seismic programmes.


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”.


Wide-ranging reform of Angola’s power sector is making progress, but with the economy heavily dependent on oil revenues, investment plans could be significantly slowed. Angola-watchers suggest the effects on the domestic economy of sharply lower global oil prices, coupled with the continued uncertainty over veteran President José Eduardo dos Santos’ succession plans, may create a ‘perfect storm’ that could hasten the long-awaited regime change.

Issue 329 - 01 September 2016

Ghana parliament approves Early Power deal


Parliamentary approval for a deal to install up to 400MW at Tema opens the way for a power purchase agreement to be signed by the Early Power Ltd consortium of Endeavor Energy, the local Sage Petroleum and GE. Local advocacy groups have raised concerns about pricing, but the Bridge Power project is the only new scheme currently working its way through the system, where other independent power projects have been stalled by World Bank and other donors’ concerns over financing.


US developer Symbion Power Tanzania Ltd on 13 March filed a request for arbitration at the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) in Paris claiming breach of contract due to non-payment by Tanzania Electricity Supply Corporation (Tanesco) for power from the 126MW Ubungo plant (AE 331/1). Symbion says Tanesco has refused to pay for its power since the contract was agreed, claiming variously that the power purchase agreement (PPA) had been “put on hold”, never been signed or, later, that it had been rescinded.

Issue 340 - 16 February 2017

SDX plans for Circle assets


SDX Energy sees more acquisition opportunities in Egypt following its purchase of Circle Oil’s assets, as other companies look to reduce their exposure or pull out altogether. SDX, which listed on London’s AIM market in May 2016, plans to spud a well this month on Egypt’s South Disouq licence followed by further exploration drilling in Egypt and Morocco (AE 339/14).

Egypt | Morocco

After announcing a “world class” gas find in May, Kosmos Energy has found more gas deeper in the Tortue discovery, which has been renamed Ahmeyim at the government’s request. In addition to the 107 metres of pay found in the primary Cenomanian target, the well intersected ten metres in the lower Albian section. Chevron has an option to take a 30% stake in Ahmeyim, which has opened a new outboard Cretaceous petroleum system offshore Mauritania and northern Senegal.


Veteran Resistência Nacional Moçambicana (Renamo) leader Afonso Dhlakama’s surprise return to the bush in October 2012 was an unsettling reminder of the fragility of post-conflict Mozambique, as guerrilla roadblocks returned and coal exports were halted in the central region. Renamo’s rebellion was triggered by demands for a greater share of state jobs and resources. A peace agreement signed on 24 August 2014 promised jobs, above all in the army and police, and set a platform for campaigning to start for general elections on 15 October.


Total and its partners are gearing up to drill the Venus-1 well on Block 2912 in late 2019 or early 2020, hoping for a second discovery to follow the Brulpadda gas condensate find drilled offshore South Africa early this year.“This is a massive submarine fan, it’s the biggest one any of us have ever seen. It’s about 600km2,” Africa Oil Corporation president and chief executive Keith Hill told the Africa E&P conference in London on 22 May.

Namibia | South Africa