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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.


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

Cenpower Generation Company Limited announced the financial close of $900m of project finance for the Kpone independent power plant (IPP) at Tema on 3 October. The 350MW combined cycle gas turbine plant is due on stream in 2017 and will be energy-hungry Ghana’s largest private power scheme, accounting for some 10% of total installed capacity and 20% of available thermal generation capacity. Dutch development agency FMO contributed $200m, the rest was private equity and debt, including $425m of commercial debt raised by Rand Merchant Bank with South African export credit agency backing.


Siemens, in partnership with Spain’s TSK, has signed a memorandum of understanding with the government to cooperate to identify measures to fast-track power generation and work towards increasing capacity by an additional 300MW by 2019. One of the short-term initiatives is the installation of a Siemens 44MW aeroderivative gas turbine (SGT-A45) for mobile power generation in Antananarivo.

Issue 336 - 08 December 2016

Sudan: Siemens to supply gas turbines


The state-owned Sudanese Thermal Power Generating Company signed an agreement with Germany’s Siemens on 1 December to supply five 172MW SGT5-2000E gas turbines. The units will be operational by the end of 2017.Siemens will also supply associated SGen5-100A generators and SPPA-T3000 control systems. Three of the units will be installed at the Garri III power station north of the capital, Khartoum, while the other two will be installed at Port Sudan on the country’s Red Sea coast.

Issue 321 - 15 April 2016

Ghana: Eni takes new block


Parliament has ratified the award of the new Cape Three Points Block 4 exploration licence in the Tano Basin to Eni. The new block partially surrounds Eni’s Offshore Cape Three Points (OCTP) Block, where the Sankofa and Gye Nyame gas and oil discoveries are under development, and if a commercial discovery is made, the block will benefit from the OCTP infrastructure. The OCTP project will consist of subsea wells tied back to a floating production, storage and offloading vessel which will be connected to shore via a gas transport line.

Issue 322 - 29 April 2016

Saudi finance for Cairo West


Egypt and Saudi Arabia signed several energy sector agreements during the recent visit to Cairo of King Salman Bin Abdelaziz. Most importantly, Egyptian minister of international cooperation Dr Sahar Nasr and Saudi Fund for Development chairman Dr Ibrahim Assaf signed a $100m financing agreement for the Cairo West power plant. This 650MW gas-fired steam turbine plant is being developed by the state-owned Egyptian Electricity Holding Company at an estimated cost of $700m.


Dragon Oil has approached Petroceltic with a cash offer of 230p/share. The Dubai-based company has been looking to get into North Africa for a long time and has a $2bn cash pile to spend. Buying Petroceltic would soak up about $1bn of that, while the remainder would enable it to cover the company’s 38.25% equity share in development of the Ain Tsila gas condensate field through to first gas in 2018. Sonatrach has been carrying Petroceltic’s costs over the past year, but the carry runs out in 2015, and the Irish company would otherwise be obliged to turn to the markets for more funds.

Issue 362 - 01 February 2018

Eni plans gas and renewables investments


Italy’s Eni will become a major player in African renewables while also strengthening its support for domestic gas markets in countries where it operates. The company is investing in exploration and production in every North African country except Tunisia and is fast becoming one of the leading sponsors of solar projects in these countries.Chief executive Claudio Descalzi described a strategic vision for Eni and the role it expects to play in its core markets in a hosted interview as part of Chatham House’s Middle East and North Africa Energy conference in London on 29 January.

Egypt | Libya | Algeria

The success of Société des Energies de Côte d’Ivoire’s 275MW Soubré hydro plant has substantially undermined the commercial logic underpinning a proposed 3m t/yr liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal in Abidjan’s Vridi port. The challenge facing the project’s promoters, which include Total, Shell, Golar LNG, Azerbaijan’s Socar and Endeavor Energy, is not only to justify a gas offtake price higher than the $5.5-6.0/mBtu ceiling set by the government, but also to find a market for the gas at all.

Côte d'Ivoire
Issue 285 - 30 September 2014

South Africa: New partner for Sunbird


Vandasia Investments is taking a 43.9% stake in Ibhubesi gas developer Sunbird Energy in a transaction worth A$25m ($23m). Vandasia is an investment company made up of businesspeople from South Africa and Nigeria, headed by Tembalikayise Lupepe, whose Mdali Group is the South African partner to Portugal’s Mota-Engil Construction Group. Vandasia paid the first $3m on 24 September. Australian-listed Sunbird’s main shareholder with 36% was previously South Africa’s Umbono Capital, whose managing director is Sunbird chairman Kerwin Rana.

South Africa

Operator Vioco Petroleum is aiming for final investment decision by year-end on the Gazelle gas field development on Block CI-202. The company submitted a revised field development plan to the government in July 2014, based on supplying gas to a new power plant to be built next to the onshore gas processing facilities. Approval will lead to the granting of an exclusive exploitation area (EEA) over the Gazelle field, allowing for 25 years of exploitation. Vioco is 35% owned by Azonto Petroleum, the former Rialto Energy, and 65% by Vitol, which acquired 65% of the shares in Rialto subsidiary Rialto (Côte d’Ivoire) last year in exchange for providing $50m of loan capital for the Block CI-202 work programme.

Côte d'Ivoire
Issue 398 - 30 August 2019

Total signs Benin LNG agreement


Total has signed a gas supply agreement and host government agreement with Société Béninoise d’Energie Electrique for a FSRU project in Benin, which will see the French major supply up to 500,000 t/yr of LNG from its portfolio for 15 years from 2021. The gas will be used to supply existing and planned power plants around Maria Gléta.The import volume is particularly small for a FSRU project, which is understood to have given Total an advantage over other bidders as demand in Benin is relatively low.


Kosmos has raised its reserves estimate for the Greater Tortue Complex to more than 20tcf from 17tcf following the successful Ahmeyim-2 appraisal well. The rig will now move to drill the oil-focused Teranga-1 exploration well in the Cayar Offshore Profond Block in Senegalese waters. Ahmeyim-2 was drilled to a total depth of 5,200 metres offshore Mauritania and penetrated the gas-water contacts in the Lower Cenomanian and Albian, defining the field limit and extending the productive field area from approximately 50km2 to 90km2.

Mauritania | Senegal

President Filipe Nyusi was bound to make the most of the announcement that Eni and partners had reached a final investment decision (FID) to develop the $8bn Coral South floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) project in offshore Area 4; all drilling, construction and installation contracts for the 3.4m t/yr FLNG scheme in the Rovuma Basin were signed to great fanfare in early June.