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The controversial marketing company Congolaise de Trading was the product of what officials call “a past phase” in Congo-B politics. In 1998, soon after returning to power, President Denis Sassou Nguesso discovered that French oil company Elf (since merged into Total) was fraudulently representing its Congo-B production operations.

Congo Brazzaville
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On 5 October, General Electric Company of Libya (Gecol) deputy executive manager Dr Mahmoud Al-Warfalli told a news conference at the headquarters of the Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli that the board had “met with company officials to ascertain the status of the network and to identify the main problems and tasks”. He said the result of this was an “integrated plan to resolve the crisis in three stages”. The first and most urgent of these is to overcome technical and financial blockages to bring out-of-service plants back into production.

Libya
Issue 329 - 01 September 2016

Ghana parliament approves Early Power deal

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Parliamentary approval for a deal to install up to 400MW at Tema opens the way for a power purchase agreement to be signed by the Early Power Ltd consortium of Endeavor Energy, the local Sage Petroleum and GE. Local advocacy groups have raised concerns about pricing, but the Bridge Power project is the only new scheme currently working its way through the system, where other independent power projects have been stalled by World Bank and other donors’ concerns over financing.

Ghana
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US developer Symbion Power has sharply criticised Tanzania Electricity Supply Company (Tanesco) for what it says is its continued failure to pay for power supplied by the Ubungo plant. Despite losing a separate arbitration case brought by Standard Chartered Bank, the utility remains intransigent in its dealings with Symbion. But Ubungo has been shut down for several months and another big arbitration case could be on the cards, with all the accompanying bad press for President John Magufuli’s clean-up campaign.

Tanzania
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President Nana Akufo-Addo has described energy supply as the most difficult problem facing Ghana, and has announced a review of existing power purchase agreements (PPAs). In his first state of the nation address on 21 February, Akufo-Addo told parliament the sector’s key problem was the cost of energy, and highlighted the growing debt burden of the various state companies. He said that, while power from the Akosombo dam cost $0.03/kWh to produce, the business tariff of $0.42/kWh was more than ten times the average in West Africa.

Ghana
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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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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

ZETDC has been taken to arbitration by developer NRE in a dispute over US dollar payments, in a case with significant implications for the country’s struggling power sector and which also highlights the macroeconomic problems weighing on the Mnangagwa administration, writes Marc Howard

Zimbabwe
Issue 429 - 17 December 2020

Niger: Nature reserve boundaries redrawn

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The government is set to pass a decree revising the boundaries of a 97,000km2 nature reserve in eastern Niger to address the concerns of environmentalists, oil companies and donors. French NGO Noé, which manages the Termit and Tin-Toumma National Nature Reserve (RNNTT) hopes the decree will be adopted before the first round of the presidential election on 27 December.

Niger
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Copperbelt Energy Corporation (CEC) says energy minister Matthew Nkhuwa acted beyond his authority by declaring its transmission network common carrier to allow government-controlled Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) to continue receiving power supply despite a year of failing to pay its bills. CEC is seeking to overturn the statutory instrument (SI) issued by Nkhuwa on 29 May declaring CEC’s network common carrier.

Free

The government was dealt a blow on 15 June when the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council ruled in favour of Betamax, after the Mauritian-Singaporean petroleum products supply joint venture had appealed to the arbiter in London against a Supreme Court of Mauritius (SCM) decision against it.

Mauritius
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The Commercial Court in London has ruled that the Ghanaian government could not challenge an arbitration award made against it as its appeal had come too late. The arbitration was brought by Ghana Power Generation Company (GPGC), which procured two GE LM 6000 combined cycle power plants in Italy to be installed in Aboadze under an emergency purchase agreement.

Ghana
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A string of UAE companies – some with links to national security adviser Sheikh Tahnoon Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan – are said to be involved in a plan to develop a new Red Sea port, working with Sudanese businessman Osama Daoud Abdellatif. In a complex political situation, this might also be of interest to regime number two Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo (aka Hemedti)’s friends in Russia.

Sudan
Free

The proliferation of coups d’état across West Africa and the wider region over the past 18 months points to the return of chronic instability to one of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable (not least to climate change) regions. Many parts of the post-colonial continent, and especially its emerging West African nations, were defined by the speedy demise of civilian government as military rulers took over in the 1960s.

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.