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Subscriber

It all seems like business as usual. Australian Securities Exchange and Alternative Investment Market-listed Range Resources has announced a new financial agreement with its joint venture partner Canada-based Africa Oil Corporation (AOC), for a second exploration well due to be spudded by September. This will be included as part of AOC’s exploration commitments,which oblige it to spend $22.5m in Dharoor and Nugaal before Range reverts to a contributing basis. A Range company report says AOC has satisfied its commitments with regard to Dharoor, but still has around $15m to pay on Nugaal.

Somalia
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Promoted from the ranks to lead the company he originally joined in 1984, Sonatrach chairman and chief executive Rachid Hachichi is struggling to convince Algerians their state energy giant can overcome corruption and win investment without compromising national interests. With politics still in ferment, a weak interim government hopes to pass a revised hydrocarbons law as soon as 15 November – before controversial presidential elections are held on 12 December.

Algeria
Issue 380 - 08 November 2018

Moroccan budget woes drive asset sale

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Recently appointed finance minister Mohammed Benchaâboun is tackling Morocco’s burgeoning budget deficit with reforms that some local observers are calling Thatcherite. The former banker expects to raise funds by divesting the state’s remaining saleable assets, with major privatisations for the first time in a decade.

Morocco
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The Ministry of Power, Housing and Works, one of the so-called super ministries established in President Muhammadu Buhari’s first term, has been broken into two and a new power minister appointed. Although former minister Babatunde Fashola was not disliked, some in the industry are hopeful the change could result in renewed focus on fundamental issues and end personality clashes at the top of the ministry. The ministry was put under Fashola’s control at the height of his popularity in 2015 following an eight-year stint as governor of Lagos State.

Nigeria
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There is now hope for economic and military stability in both countries, but ongoing disputes over border issues and the status of Sudapet could still thwart co-operation, writes Hugh Boylan.

South Sudan | Sudan
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The National Oil, Gas and Biofuels Agency (ANPG) has announced the postponement of an information session for Angolan oil companies on the 2020 licensing round that was scheduled to take place on 25 March. The postponement is in line with government measures to control the spread of Covid-19, which discourage public gatherings of more than 200 people.

Angola
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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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A series of petty disputes involving tribes and militias in western Libya have threatened National Oil Corporation (NOC)’s ambitions to maintain or even increase oil output, which peaked at 1.1m b/d in early August. The challenge facing chairman Mustafa Sanalla is that armed groups who have carried out blockades and actions against oil and gas facilities in recent months are outside the control of any single authority.

Libya
Issue 265 - 11 November 2013

Weatherford: $250m settlement

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Oil services company Weatherford International said on 4 November that it hoped to finalise a settlement for some $250m with the US government for violations of the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and the Iraq oil-for-food programme, and trading with sanctioned countries. The sanction settlement alone is expected to cost $100m, and Weatherford is awaiting approval from the US Securities and Exchange Commission. Weatherford first disclosed an overseas bribery investigation in 2007. The investigation later expanded to include potential violations of the Iraq oil-for-food programme and possible illegal trade with Cuba, Iran, Sudan and Syria.

Subscriber

Relations between Angola and Democratic Republic of Congo have deteriorated following the tit-for-tat expulsion of Angolan and Congolese nationals who have, until recent crackdowns, generally been allowed to live in border regions. President José Eduardo dos Santos failed to attend the Southern African Development Community’s Kinshasa summit

DR Congo | Angola
Free

Royal Dutch Shell has agreed to pay $15.5m to the Ogoni people to settle a long-running court case brought in the United States under the Alien Tort Claims Act.

Nigeria
Subscriber

Jon Marks reports from Kinshasa that major new power projects and an oil and gas licensing round are planned, but investors will need watertight guarantees to persuade them Congo really is open for business

DR Congo
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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
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A major challenges to the status of Somalia’s autonomous Somaliland and Puntland territories is the dispute over the Sool and eastern Sanaag regions, which are believed to be oil-rich.

Somalia
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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