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The government has promised to pay $1.5bn of the $6bn it says it owes oil firms in an effort to revive investor confidence and boost investment in the energy sector. “There is approval to pay $1.5bn,” interim prime minister Hazem El-Beblawi told a business conference in Cairo on 4 December aimed at attracting investment from Gulf states. While oil companies remain undeterred by Egypt’s political upheavals, stressing that both onshore and offshore operations are unaffected, they are suffering a growing financial burden from unpaid arrears owed to them by Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation and its subsidiaries.

Egypt
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Oil marketers have ended a strike that had virtually paralysed Nigeria in the final days of Goodluck Jonathan’s presidency, agreeing to resume fuel deliveries following talks on 25 May with finance minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. The crisis started with a protest by oil marketers demanding what they said were outstanding subsidy payments, and worsened with a strike by staff at Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), while tanker drivers stopped work because the marketers were not paying them until they received their subsidy payments.

Nigeria
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Egypt is a country full of ambiguities for investors and risk analysts, let alone for a population living under the economic restructuring and authoritarian rule of President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi. “The Egyptian power sector is viewed as an attractive destination for investment due to a relatively stable government, economy and policy direction,” observes the new Egypt Power Report from the African Energy consultancy. In the upstream, the huge Zohr offshore gas find has revived optimism about an industry that was mired in debt and problems with investors.

Egypt
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After official silence and considerable speculation, the Equatorial Guinea government confirmed reports that a putsch was launched against President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo on 24 December. Security has been considerably ratcheted up in the oil-rich dictatorship after the government in early January said “mercenaries” – at least 27 armed men it claimed were from Chad, Cameroon, Sudan and Central African Republic – had been arrested. Arms and ammunition were found just over the border in Cameroon, security minister Nicolas Obama Nchama said.

Equatorial Guinea
Issue 415 - 15 May 2020

Ghana: Unitisation call

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Energy minister John Peter Amewu has written to Eni Ghana and local explorer Springfield E&P directing them to hold talks on unitisation of their Sankofa and Afina fields. Citing what it said was technical evidence that the reservoir straddles both blocks, the 9 April letter said the companies should hold talks within 30 days on a process leading to the joint operation of the two fields and gave them 120 days to provide the ministry with a draft agreement.

Ghana
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The City of Cape Town has suffered a setback in its push to procure power from IPPs independently of the Department of Energy (DoE) as the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria referred the case back to the parties. Judge Leonie Windell ruled that Cape Town had made insufficient effort to avoid court action through engagement with the DoE and National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa).

South Africa
Free

Two decades ago, coups d’état were a norm across West Africa. The late historian Anthony Kirk-Greene in 1981 published Stay by your radios, gathering together the remarkably similar dawn broadcasts made by incoming military juntas across tropical Africa.

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The 105MW Karadeniz Powership Ibrahim Bey in Conakry harbour began supplying power to the city in mid February. Karpowership said it signed a one-year contract with Electricité de Guinée in December 2019.

Guinea
Issue 419 - 09 July 2020

AfDB president under fire

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The African Development Bank board has named a three-member panel to review a report by the bank’s ethics committee into whistleblower allegations against bank president Akinwumi Adesina.The review was agreed after US Treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin and several other bank shareholders rejected the findings of the committee’s report and said the complaint warranted further examination.

Issue 423 - 24 September 2020

East Med Gas Forum v Turkey

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The official founding of the Cairo-based East Mediterranean Gas Forum pits its six members and several national and multilateral observers against Turkey’s aggressive Mari Vatan (Blue Homeland) doctrine for establishing maritime economic hegemony. At a 22 September ceremony, Egypt’s petroleum minister Tarek El-Molla said other countries were welcome “as long as they are in line with the forum’s goals to achieve the welfare of the region’s countries and their people and… reject acts of violence hindering regional prosperity”.

Egypt
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After the government surprised many observers by announcing in April that membership of the Desertec Industrial Initiative would be central to its ambitious renewable energy policy, recently appointed energy minister Abdelmadjid Attar has announced that Algeria is pulling out of the German-led scheme.

Algeria
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The US decision to remove Sudan from its list of state sponsors of terrorism, announced on 19 October, should open the way for a multilateral debt deal and big new financial flows, but pressure to normalise relations with Israel will not play well with many Sudanese, adding to pressure on a transitional government struggling with severe economic pressures.

Sudan
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Equatorial Guinea and Qatar signed a joint statement to establish diplomatic relations on 9 April, in a ceremony at Qatar’s delegation to the United Nations. The statement was signed by Equatorial Guinea’s UN ambassador Anatolio Ndong Mba and his Qatari counterpart Sheikha Alya Ahmed Bin Saif Al-Thani.

Equatorial Guinea
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Ex-president Mohammed Ould Abdelaziz used an interview with Paris-based Jeune Afrique (JA) to deny he had ever taken “a single ouguiya fraudulently” from state funds. The regime of his successor – and for many decades close ally – Mohammed Ould Ghazouani has claimed Abdelaziz mismanaged public funds over his two terms (2009-19).

Mauritania
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The government has approved a deal for private US company High Power Exploration (HPX) to acquire the 95% interest in the Nimba iron ore deposit held by BHP, Newmont Goldcorp and French nuclear power group Orano (the former Areva).HPX is run by Canadian mining magnate Robert Friedland and former Rio Tinto head of exploration Eric Finlayson. Two directors of Friedland’s Ivanhoe Mines, former South African president Kgalema Motlanthe and Belgian financier Guy de Selliers, will become co-chairs of the HPX subsidiary that will hold the Nimba asset and join the board of Société des Mines de Fer de Guinée (SMFG), the Guinean company operating the project.

Guinea