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Subscriber

With chief executive Brian Molefe resigning under a cloud and in the wake of another credit downgrade by Standard and Poor’s (S&P), Eskom’s board has plumped for the continuity candidate by appointing head of generation Matshela Koko as interim boss. Always the most likely successor to Molefe, at least in the short term, Koko is an outspoken critic of renewable energy and a vocal supporter of nuclear power. He also played a role in the public protector report that resulted in Molefe’s resignation and was suspended along with three other executives in 2015.

South Africa
Subscriber

The government is under pressure to split Zesco into generation, transmission and distribution arms as a precursor to privatisation, as part of a $1.5bn support package under negotiation with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to bail out the struggling economy.According to sources close to the transaction, finance minister Felix Mutati has agreed at talks in Washington to restructure Zesco as a way of making the power utility more efficient. “Chances of the company (Zesco) being privatised are high,” a senior government official close to the Treasury told African Energy.

Zambia
Subscriber

The Department of Energy’s release on 22 November of the long-awaited draft Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) and Integrated Energy Plan opens the way for further debate about South Africa’s energy future. The plans give prominence to renewables and gas, and may further build confidence by pushing back timetables for a nuclear new-build, rather than committing huge and controversial spending in the coming two decades. The announcement comes at a tumultuous time for Eskom, which is leaderless following chief executive Brian Molefe’s departure, while tensions between the state utility, government, and private sector interests remain unresolved.

South Africa
Subscriber

Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC) has come up with a bold plan to restore output to pre-revolution levels by the end of this year. If it succeeds, the corporation will have effectively established itself as the bedrock of a united Libya while staving off an otherwise inevitable economic collapse and worsening of the civil conflict. The plan requires NOC to take on greater executive authority while attracting a new wave of foreign investment, something that until recently was all but unthinkable.

Libya
Subscriber

The South African Wind Energy Association (Sawea) has made an official complaint to the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) about Eskom. The utility has been refusing to sign power purchase agreements (PPAs) with renewable energy independent power producers (IPPs) selected by the Department of Energy to develop projects, claiming that the projects do not represent value for money. Eskom head of generation Matshela Koko on 20 October told City Press that the Treasury should be funding the cost of renewable energy through the R200bn ($14.4bn) contingent liability it took on to guarantee the renewable energy IPP procurement programme (REIPPP), rather than the costs being passed on to consumers.

South Africa
Issue 336 - 08 December 2016

Egypt: Cairo plans power plant IPOs

Subscriber

Egyptian Electricity Holding Company (EEHC) has approved a restructuring plan under which 18GW of newly built or under construction gas-fired generation capacity will be hived off into separately managed subsidiaries and floated on the Egyptian Exchange in late 2017. EEHC has created four companies, one for the 3.6GW of emergency plants with GE turbines completed at Ataka, Mahmudiya, West Damietta, West Assiut, Hurghada and Sharm El-Sheikh during 2015, and others for each of the three 4.8GW power stations being built by the Siemens, Orascom and El-Sewedy Electric consortium at Beni Suef, Burullus and New Capital.

Egypt
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Ethiopia has imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew on infrastructure projects and business premises as part of a six-month state of emergency imposed on 8 October. According to a government decree dated 15 October, only authorised employees of factories and business entities are allowed to access them between 6pm and 6am, and security officials have been mandated to take action on anyone violating the curfew. Diplomats may not travel beyond a 40km radius of Addis Ababa without official permission “for their own safety”, and demonstrations and political gatherings are banned, as are sharing information via social media and watching diaspora TV channels ESAT and OMN “or other similar terrorist-linked media”.

Ethiopia
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President José Eduardo dos Santos on 2 June appointed a new board of directors for state oil company Sonangol. The new team will be headed by his daughter Isabel, a businesswoman who led the commission that formulated proposals for Sonangol’s restructuring. The new board will implement the reforms recommended by the commission, outlined in two presidential decrees on 26 May.

Angola
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The first shipment of crude contracted by the House of Representatives (HoR)-appointed management of National Oil Corporation in Al-Bayda will be loaded this month and transported to a major shipping port in Europe. “I am going to break this thing, Insha’Allah,” Edward Loyd, chief executive of California-based Loyd Capital Partners, told African Energy on 9 March. He said the HoR-aligned Central Bank of Libya had just issued a letter confirming the bank account to which payment for the crude should be made.

Libya
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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
Free

Zimbabwe is highly unlikely to eradicate the crony capitalist structures that have favoured the Mugabe clan and other Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF) grandees any time soon. But the president’s departure could favour a measured transition, building on initiatives to normalise the economy undertaken by regime officials such as Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor John Mangudya and Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) managing director Noah Fari Gwariro. Even at 92 years old, it seems imprudent to write off President Robert Mugabe, whose ruthless political cunning has seen off international sanctions and domestic challenges.

Zimbabwe
Issue 296 - 12 March 2015

Libya: Tobruk eyes guns and oil

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Islamic State (IS) attacks on oil sector targets make it ever more urgent that the conflict between the democratically elected House of Representatives (HoR) in Tobruk and the rival Tripoli-based General National Congress (GNC) is resolved. United Nations Support Mission in Libya leader Bernardino Leon is pushing hard at talks in Morocco for a unity government-based peace deal. But widespread suspicion that GNC-backed Fajr Libya forces may have colluded in the attacks will damage already low levels of trust. Many HoR supporters believe it is capable of achieving military dominance, and do not understand why it should give up its democratic authority.

Libya
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The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has decided to contest the proposed maritime border contained in Angola’s submission to the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf. The submission, delivered on 6 December, gives DRC no access to the high seas. It recognises only a small triangle of sea as DRC territory and ignores any Congolese right to an exclusive economic zone (EEZ) or access to the continental shelf beyond the previous 200-mile limit (AE 264/17). In a letter to UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon on 11 April, the DRC foreign ministry said Angola’s border claim had been drawn “unilaterally” without regard for DRC’s rights to its maritime territory.

DR Congo
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The political context of the deal to open Libya’s oil terminals leaves plenty of scope for further unexpected changes. The leader of the blockades, Ibrahim Al-Jathran, held out for 11 months to gain a number of concessions from the central government related to the objective of winning greater autonomy for Cyrenaica, Libya’s eastern province, where the largest part of its discovered hydrocarbons resources are located.

Libya
Subscriber

The appointment of outspoken former central bank governor Lamido Sanusi as emir of Kano has been widely welcomed as good news for Nigeria in general and the north in particular, although President Goodluck Jonathan may be less thrilled. Sanusi was suspended in February after highlighting the disappearance of $20bn from the country’s oil funds. While the emir has no constitutional power, he is in a position to be a serious thorn in the side of the government ahead of elections next year.

Nigeria