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The return of Brian Molefe as Eskom chief executive was met with cheers at Megawatt Park but consternation by his many critics. Molefe resigned in November after damaging findings by public protector Thuli Madonsela in her report on state capture about his relationship with the controversial Gupta family. Since then, Molefe has been elected as an MP, amid rumours of a failed attempt by President Jacob Zuma to appoint him as finance minister.

South Africa
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Senior Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) and World Bank Group (WBG) officials have been negotiating an estimated $2.519bn loan to support the Buhari administration’s Power Sector Recovery Plan (PSRP), announced in late February. Taking the lead is the Advisory Power Team, lodged in the office of Vice-President Oluyemi Oluleke Osinbajo, the key player driving policy during President Muhammadu Buhari’s period of protracted illness. The FGN’s key negotiators are finance minister Kemi Adeosun and power, works and housing minister Babatunde Fashola.

Nigeria
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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variously that the power purchase agreement (PPA) had been “put on hold”, never been signed or, later, that it had been rescinded.

Tanzania
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Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (Zera) confirmed in early June that the beleaguered Zimbabwe Electricity Distribution Company (ZETDC) has applied for a tariff review for 2017, citing increases in the cost of power production. Zera acting chief executive Misheck Siyakatshana said a decision on the tariff review would have to wait until an audit of the utility’s operations and structures by Deloitte & Touche is completed. ZETDC is the transmission and distribution subsidiary of Zesa Holdings.

Zimbabwe
Free

As his presidency passes its second anniversary, Muhammadu Buhari is back in a London clinic, being treated for cancer. His absences, about which few facts filter officially, are causing jitters. The president had been expected to deliver a major anniversary speech on 29 May but remained abroad. Chief of army staff General Tukur Buratai’s 16 May warning that “some individuals have been approaching some officers and soldiers for undisclosed political reasons” added to the febrile atmosphere.

Nigeria
Issue 342 - 16 March 2017

Libya: Sisi brings Haftar to heel

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The main reason why Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar was expected to keep Libya’s Sirte Basin oil facilities free of conflict was that intelligence supplied by the Egyptians enabled him to destroy any attacking forces from the air, long before they came in range. On the day that the Benghazi Defence Brigades moved in to Ras Lanuf and Sidra, either the pair of drones which supply this intelligence were not working, or Cairo failed to pass on the warning

Libya
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On 5 October, General Electric Company of Libya (Gecol) deputy executive manager Dr Mahmoud Al-Warfalli told a news conference at the headquarters of the Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli that the board had “met with company officials to ascertain the status of the network and to identify the main problems and tasks”. He said the result of this was an “integrated plan to resolve the crisis in three stages”. The first and most urgent of these is to overcome technical and financial blockages to bring out-of-service plants back into production.

Libya
Issue 329 - 01 September 2016

Ghana parliament approves Early Power deal

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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.

Ghana
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US developer Symbion Power has sharply criticised Tanzania Electricity Supply Company (Tanesco) for what it says is its continued failure to pay for power supplied by the Ubungo plant. Despite losing a separate arbitration case brought by Standard Chartered Bank, the utility remains intransigent in its dealings with Symbion. But Ubungo has been shut down for several months and another big arbitration case could be on the cards, with all the accompanying bad press for President John Magufuli’s clean-up campaign.

Tanzania
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President Nana Akufo-Addo has described energy supply as the most difficult problem facing Ghana, and has announced a review of existing power purchase agreements (PPAs). In his first state of the nation address on 21 February, Akufo-Addo told parliament the sector’s key problem was the cost of energy, and highlighted the growing debt burden of the various state companies. He said that, while power from the Akosombo dam cost $0.03/kWh to produce, the business tariff of $0.42/kWh was more than ten times the average in West Africa.

Ghana
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Attacks by rebel forces in May have come closer to the oilfields in Upper Nile state than at any point in the 18-month conflict. On 16 May, rebel fighters captured the Upper Nile capital Malakal, and on 19 May they took Melut, 200km north of Malakal and just 40km from the main oil-producing hub of Paloich. The opposition claims to have besieged oilfields around Paloich and captured the town of Mangok, the gteway to the Adrar oilfield, one of the largest fields in the area.

South Sudan
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The jihadist organisations that have prospered in the ruins of the Libyan state since the overthrow of the dictator Colonel Muammar Qadhafi have started to fight among themselves, adding another level of complexity to an already fragmented political scene. A related North Africa-wide effort to unite more established Al-Qaeda elements against the insurgent Islamic State (IS) is being led by the notorious one-eyed Sahelian terrorist, kidnapper and smuggler, Mokhtar Belmokhtar, who almost certainly escaped death despite being the target of a US Air Force raid on a farm outside Ajdabiya on 13 June.

Libya
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Western governments are determined to interdict the Indian-flagged tanker containing a cargo of Libya crude sold to an Emirati buyer by the Cyrenaica-based parallel management of National Oil Corporation (NOC). On 27 April, the vessel was located in waters south-east of Malta, having been turned back by the authorities in Valletta the previous day. Failure to prevent it from unloading the cargo and completing the transaction in defiance of a United Nations Security Council resolution banning unauthorised crude exports would destroy the credibility of the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA).

Libya
Free

In office for just over a year, the Jubilee Alliance government led by Kenyatta and deputy president William Ruto has had a difficult start to its tenure. As well as the trials at the International Criminal Court and accusations of a lack of preparedness in the wake of September’s terrorist strike on the Westgate shopping centre in Nairobi, commentators speak of a spike in corruption since the two assumed office, and scandals certainly seem to have permeated the higher tiers of government.

Kenya
Issue 293 - 29 January 2015

Uganda: Russian sanctions continue

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Two consortia bidding to build a 60,000 b/d refinery near Lake Albert submitted final bids in December, and an announcement is expected soon. African Energy understands that, having initially favoured the Russian bid, the Ugandan government, or more particularly President Yoweri Museveni, is now backing the South Koreans because of US and EU sanctions relating to the former.

Uganda