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Algeria can be a difficult jurisdiction, but Sonatrach’s termination of the Isarène E&P contract may not just be driven by aggressive resource nationalism, writes John Hamilton.

Algeria
Subscriber

The International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea (Itlos) has ruled in Ghana’s favour in a maritime border dispute with Côte d’Ivoire, paving the way for drilling to resume on the Tweneboa-Enyenra-Ntomme (Ten) project. Tullow said it would now work with the government of Ghana to put in place the necessary permits to allow development drilling in the Ten fields to restart. Tullow expects to resume drilling around year-end, which will allow production from the Ten fields to start to increase towards the floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel’s design capacity of 80,000 b/d.

Ghana | Côte d'Ivoire
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The Senate on 25 May passed the first element of long-awaited sector reforms, the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB). The bill has now to go to the House of Representatives and, if successful, must eventually be signed into law by the federal president. Other elements of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) reforms are now expected to go through the system. The Senate’s vote was widely welcomed, with the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative among those who called on the House of Representatives to give the PIB “an accelerated consideration”.

Nigeria
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National Oil Corporation (NOC) chairman Mustafa Sanalla has pushed production of crude to 760,000 b/d, its highest level for nearly two and a half years. But while he is achieving results, his pragmatic vision for the development of a depoliticised oil sector has yet to gain support from the United Nations and the dominant international powers or from the Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli.

Libya
Issue 341 - 02 March 2017

Soma director named Somali PM

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Soma Oil & Gas executive director for Africa Hassan Khaire has been named as prime minister in the government of new Somali president Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed. Soma said Khaire had resigned from the board and relinquished all his shares in the company. Khaire, 46, had worked with Soma since the company was founded in 2013, and before that as director for the Norwegian Refugee Council for Somalia and East Africa, having come to Norway in the late 1980s as a refugee.

Somalia
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On 20 March, Noureddine Bouterfa announced that he had dismissed Sonatrach chairman and chief executive (PDG) Amine Mazouzi following a meeting of the company’s board. In his place he appointed Abdelmoumen Ould Kaddour, the former PDG of Brown & Root Condor (BRC) who almost exactly a decade ago was being held under court supervision pending further inquiries into a major corruption scandal at BRC, then a joint venture between Sonatrach and Halliburton.

Algeria
Issue 342 - 16 March 2017

Oranto signs for South Sudan block

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The Ministry of Petroleum and Nigeria’s Oranto Petroleum signed an exploration and production-sharing agreement (EPSA) for Block B3 in Juba on 6 March and said exploration work would start immediately. Oranto will be the technical operator and 90% shareholder of the block, with state oil company Nile Petroleum (Nilepet) holding a 10% stake.The 25,150km2 Block B3 has been open for investment for almost three years after France’s Total relinquished its interest in the block created in 2012 when the ministry divided the 118,000km2 Block B into three sections.

South Sudan
Issue 338 - 19 January 2017

Gabon: New oil minister

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Gabon has replaced its oil minister as part of a larger cabinet shuffle. Pascal Houangni Ambouroué, previously deputy economy minister, will replace Etienne Dieudonne Ngoubou, who was appointed in January 2014. Ambouroué was the youngest minister in the government when he was appointed to the cabinet in October 2016, aged 40. Before that, he spent a decade in international finance, including stints with BNP Paribas, Natexis and Crédit Agricole. He then joined the central African stock exchange, the Bourse des Valeurs Mobilières d’Afrique Centrale, where he became director-general in January 2012.

Gabon
Subscriber

Tullow Ghana has given Technip, in consortium with Subsea7, two contracts for the Tweneboa-Enyenra-Ntomme (Ten) development. The contracts have a combined value of $1.23bn, with a Technip share of about $730m. Technip’s scope of work includes the engineering, fabrication and installation of nine flexible risers, three flexible flowlines and 12 flexible spools, totalling 48km; the engineering, fabrication and installation of 33km of water injection and gas injection rigid flowlines; installation of about 63km of static and dynamic umbilicals; engineering, prefabrication, final assembly and installation of ten rigid jumpers; and delivery of a further six prefabricated rigid jumpers.


Ghana
Free

The past four years have been a period of intense frustration for National Oil Corporation (NOC) and its international partners as persistent violence and political mayhem have cut oil production to one-quarter of the 1.6m b/d maximum and made it impossible to implement exploration and development plans. NOC’s inability to make progress on a practical level has not stopped it from working up new investment schemes, which it has presented to international oil companies (IOCs) in increasing detail over the past several years.

Libya
Issue 334 - 10 November 2016

Libya: No budget breakthrough at NOC

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National Oil Corporation (NOC) will be paid less than one-fifth of the budget it has requested from the Government of National Accord (GNA) to maximise increases in oil production over the coming year. According to the framework set out by chairman Mustafa Sanalla following a high-level meeting in London on 1 November, NOC needs $2.5bn to get production back to 800,000 b/d in 2017. However, it appears that it will get the equivalent of $425m. The decision reflects both the lack of authority within Libya’s ruling institutions and a desperate lack of cash within the Treasury, which cannot even spare funds for potential revenue-generating investments.

Libya
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Greenpeace activists gatecrashed the annual Oil & Money Conference dinner at London’s Grosvenor Hotel on 8 October to protest at IOCs’ role in climate change. The activists unfurled a banner reading “BP and Shell Climate Criminals” at the event, hosted by Energy Intelligence, where the Energy Executive of the Year award was due to pass from BP’s outgoing chief executive Bob Dudley, who is due to step down next year, to Royal Dutch Shell’s Ben van Beurden.

Subscriber

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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Energy and mines minister Youcef Yousfi led a high-level delegation of officials to London on 15 April, including senior executives from Sonatrach, Sonelgaz and regulator Agence Nationale pour la Valorisation des Ressources en Hydrocarbures (Alnaft). Yousfi’s visit was arranged as part of a UK government initiative to improve economic ties with Algeria. President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has named the minister as his economic representative to the UK in response to Prime Minister David Cameron’s appointment of Lord Risby as the UK’s trade envoy to Algeria. Cameron has named envoys for each of the North African states.

Algeria
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Licence awards to unknown companies have caused a storm in Sierra Leone, with government officials blaming a ‘transparent’ process imposed on them by external consultants for the controversy. Thalia Griffiths and Eleanor Gillespie investigate the exploration boom in an emerging Transform Margin play.

Sierra Leone