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Subscriber

Eskom declared a power supply emergency during peak demand hours on 20 and 21 February, allowing the utility to compel key energy intensive customers to reduce power consumption by 10%. Although Eskom published a provisional load shedding schedule, managed blackouts were avoided following a 1,000MW reduction in demand by customers, including at least 200MW of voluntary savings by commercial and residential customers. The other 800MW was mostly reductions from industrial consumers, particularly members of the Energy Intensive User Group. Eskom declared a similar emergency in November last year.

South Africa
Subscriber

Since late 2013, a disagreement between the Tebu and Zwai tribes in the region of Sarir, approximately 700km south of Tobruk, has deteriorated into bloodshed. The conflict has damaged the 450MW Sarir power station, one of the largest plants in the east of the country and the main source of power for the Man-Made River (MMR), and the plant is unlikely to be repaired for some time. On 1 February, fighters from the Brigade 427 militia, which is drawn from the ethnically Arab Zwai tribe, were reported to have fired a missile at the power station, damaging a pair of turbines.

Libya
Subscriber

Violent protests have again broken out in Conakry over power cuts as the government struggles to fund badly needed repairs to generation and transmission infrastructure. State utility Electricité de Guinée (EDG) said the latest problems were caused by damage to one of Conakry’s main transformer substations, which had led to power cuts in 13, mainly outlying, districts of the capital. “This transformer is a transformer substation. It’s different from the little distribution transformers situated in the districts whose capacity is no greater than 160kVA,” an EDG official explained.

Guinea
Subscriber

Has a new trend of co-operation replaced confrontation in the management of maritime borders in north-west Africa? Morocco and Spain are synchronising controversial exploration around the popular holiday destination of the Canary Islands, separating their interests by a ‘courtesy corridor’ inside which neither country can operate. Libya and Malta have also decided to jointly explore the disputed area of the Medina Bank. The Canaries archipelago could contain up to 1.4bn bbls of oil in fields capable of producing up to 140,000 b/d. The islands’ President Paulino Rivero has previously criticised Spanish central government plans to explore near Lanzarote and Fuerteventura as incompatible with tourism on the islands.

Morocco
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Markets have welcomed the announcement that five groups have been selected to take over PHCN’s generation plants, and that distribution bids will be announced soon. But enthusiasm about Nigeria’s power privatisation programme is tempered by concerns over some of the shareholders, write Leo Lawal in Lagos and Jon Marks.

Nigeria
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Emergency plans were pushed through in August to help to alleviate the worst of Tanzania’s power rationing.  But there are understandable concerns about cost and corruption, and fears that larger projects will not come to fruition any time soon, writes Adrian J Browne.

Tanzania
Free

Another year and thoughts turn to the potentials – be they 39GW, 44GW or 50GW – of the Congo River’s Inga hydroelectric resource, or of oil plays in the Albertine Graben, where Tullow Oil’s Ugandan field on the other side of the lacustrine border will come on stream this year

DR Congo
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There will be opposition from across Nigerian society, but key measures to restructure the hydrocarbons industry and channel windfall oil earnings are among a raft of measures the Jonathan government expects to push through in the coming months, the country’s senior economic minister told Jon Marks in Washington.

Nigeria
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Government reformists and international economists agree that scrapping subsidies is essential if Nigeria is to have more cost-reflective pricing and bite into the rents that have enriched a well-connected few, but the reality that change is a political risk has been underlined by the controversial decision to raise petrol prices, leading to protests and strikes that have tested the government’s resolve

Nigeria
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Both Putting America First and Making America Great again were mentioned by US speakers at the Powering Africa Summit in Washington on 9-10 March. Congressman Ed Royce, who is chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and a central force behind the Electrify Africa Act alongside former Republican staffer Nilmini Rubin, now vice-president for investment at engineering services company Tetra Tech, said that Africa had “great potential” to be a trade partner and to create jobs in Africa and the United States.

Subscriber

In the midst of a financial crisis that threatens its very existence, the European Union is focusing on another critical issue for long-term survival, that of securing its energy future. Algeria could be key to this process, but formal agreement remains elusive

Algeria
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Emboldened by President Donald Trump’s election win, Republican lawmakers have started the process of dismantling the bipartisan Cardin-Lugar anti-corruption rule, which requires oil, gas and mining companies publicly listed in the US to publish their payments to governments in countries where they operate. The rule became law in 2010 as part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, but its implementation was held up by legal challenges and it was released by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) only in June 2016 after Oxfam America sued to speed the process up.

Subscriber

Adding a further layer of complexity to Eskom’s finances is a ruling by High Court judge Cynthia Pretorius on 16 August in a judicial review of the decision by the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) on 1 March 2016 to let the utility recoup a regulatory clearing account (RCA) balance of R11.2bn ($781m) through a tariff increase of 9.4% for standard customers in 2016-17. The RCA is a mechanism to reduce the risk of Eskom generating either excessive or inadequate returns as a result of unexpected costs or changes in the macroeconomic environment.

South Africa
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While the government quietly accelerates reforms to counter pressures that have exploded in Tunisia and Egypt, the state energy giant is preparing new management structures that should speed implementation of major projects

Algeria
Subscriber

Disputed territories of Sool and eastern Sanag included in Somaliland elections with the hope of achieving a more peaceful resolution to the border dispute

Somalia