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After reaching a preliminary agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) over a $1.4bn bailout, President Hichilema’s government faces a stern test trying to convince the public that a hike in energy prices is needed to restore economic fitness, writes Chiwoyu Sinyangwe in Lusaka

Zambia
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The newly elected government of President Hakainde Hichilema is hoping to agree an International Monetary Fund (IMF) package to stabilise foreign exchange reserves and enhance Zambia’s credibility as it seeks to renegotiate with lenders.

Zambia
Issue 433 - 25 February 2021

Attar out in Algerian reshuffle

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Abdelmadjid Attar has been sacked just eight months after being appointed energy minister, in a 21 February government reshuffle ordered by President Abdelmajid Tebboune. Attar has been outspoken in criticising Sonatrach’s performance and management, and delays to implementing the new hydrocarbons law.

Algeria
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With an over-abundance of natural gas, policy-makers are turning their attention to oil, with an effort to clean up EGPC’s balance sheet and push ahead with major downstream projects, writes John Hamilton.

Egypt
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 In the wake of a diplomatic crisis involving migrant flows and the disputed Western Sahara, a recent report from Madrid suggested Morocco’s King Mohammed VI had called an end to negotiations on the extension of gas supply contracts via the 11.5 bcm/yr capacity Maghreb-Europe gas pipeline (GME).

Algeria | Morocco
Issue 352 - 11 August 2017

Promises of mega-projects

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While commercial lenders and multilaterals fret about rising indebtedness and poor rates of return, African leaders are again seeking refuge in infrastructure mega-schemes they believe will pull the continent towards Chinese levels of growth. President John Pembe Magufuli of Tanzania and his Ugandan counterpart, Yoweri Museveni, have launched an oil pipeline with an ambitious 2020 completion date, though details of the $3.5bn scheme’s financing remain elusive. The African Union Commission and partners continue to hype the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (Pida)’s transformative value, despite projects’ lack of real progress.

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Finance minister Felix Mutati has said the government will pull out of the procurement of finished petroleum products next year. In his budget address to parliament on 11 November, Mutati announced that, to improve the efficiency of fuel imports and rein in the surging fiscal deficit, procurement of finished petroleum products will be undertaken solely by private companies from March 2017. “The government’s role will be limited to regulation… regarding pricing, the government will adjust prices in line with changes in market conditions,” Mutati said.

Zambia
Free

A suspension of supply by bulk distribution companies in protest over unpaid government debt caused severe fuel shortages in late June. The crisis took almost two weeks to resolve in the south, particularly in Accra, where shortages were described as the worst since 2006. Several local bodies have vehemently criticised what they see as another government failure to meet basic needs. The downstream regulator, the National Petroleum Authority (NPA), called for an end to government fuel subsidies, and Accra-based think-tanks also called for pump prices to rise.

Ghana
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International oil trading and refining companies that supply Libya with much of its diesel and gasoline continue to deal with delayed payments and increasing levels of financial risk caused by the failure of the Central Bank of Libya (CBL) to transfer enough money to National Oil Corporation (NOC) to enable it to pay for imports. This situation has lasted for several months and appears to be a side effect of the dysfunction which has paralysed the administration following the fall of prime minister Ali Zeidan’s government in early March and the failure to establish a credible replacement.

Libya
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Former rebels of the Resistência Nacional Moçambicana (Renamo) have dealt a blow to Mozambique’s efforts to position itself as a major investment success story and future gas exporter, abandoning their 1992 peace deal with the ruling Frente de Libertação Moçambicana (Frelimo) with a series of attacks on government troops. Few commentators expect a return to all-out civil conflict but investors are jumpy, not least because Renamo’s rejection of peace coincides with a spate of kidnappings –15 in October alone –with some in the capital, Maputo. In early November, British-Australian mining giant Rio Tinto, which has extensive coal operations in north-western Tete Province, withdrew expatriate employees’ families from the country.

Mozambique
Free

On 27 July, Sudan’s oil ministry informed oil companies that it had put back the scheduled date for shutting down the oil export pipelines from 7 August to 22 August. The decision followed a request from African Union (AU) mediator Thabo Mbeki and the Chinese government to allow more time for negotiations between Juba and Khartoum. South Sudan only resumed oil production in April after a 15-month closure of the pipeline network, and the extension is the latest in a series of twists and turns that have made the outcome of negotiations difficult to read.

South Sudan | Sudan
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Post-Qadhafi Libya is forming itself even before the old dictator departs, with a leadership that can avoid the country splitting up, while new institutions are created and Libyans get back to work. Much of the oil industry is shut in but all sides are anxious to turn on the taps, provided a full civil war can be avoided.

Libya
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Energy and mines minister Youcef Yousfi has defended Algeria’s position on gas prices, an issue of major concern for European utilities, who have been calling for a better pricing structure, and are now tying the issue to their willingness to invest in new exploration opportunities. However, state giant Sonatrach, which is embroiled in international arbitration with Electricité de France’s Italian subsidiary Edison, insists its clients must pay their fair share of the huge investments required to bring new Algerian gas on-stream.

Algeria
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The revelations and opinions included in leaked US cables suggest it is business as usual in the Nigerian oil industry, where IOCs and indigenous players are looking to trade more acreage, speculation surrounds a proposed marginal fields round and decisions on new natural gas schemes are being pushed ahead of next April’s elections

Nigeria
Issue 181 - 26 February 2010

Bankers predict upturn in oil lending

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Oil sector financiers are anticipating another busy year, led by the need for new money in the hydrocarbons sectors in East and West Africa, writes Kevin Godier

Ghana | Egypt | Nigeria | Uganda | Gabon