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Subscriber

Algeria’s new anti-corruption body has received a boost with news that agents from the defence and interior ministries’ judicial police forces will be seconded to the Office Central de Répression de la Corruption (OCRC), which is attached to the Ministry of Finance. The OCRC was created by presidential decree in 2011, but only started to operate in March this year. The decision to empower this new body comes three years after the first allegations of corruption in the energy sector led to the dismissal of Sonatrach’s entire senior management and the resignation of energy and mines minister Chakib Khelil. However, new allegations continue to emerge.

Algeria
Free

The Egyptian government implemented encouraging energy sector reforms over the summer months including a further round of tariff increases and an electricity law setting out the first steps in the unbundling of the sector. Egypt’s reliance on gas-fired power generation as a short-term way of closing the gap between supply and demand looked foolhardy and expensive in June when this policy seemed destined to commit the country to much higher levels of imports.

Egypt
Issue 227 - 15 March 2012

World Bank debars Alstom

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Alstom Hydro France and Alstom Network Schweiz will be banned from receiving World Bank-funded contracts for up to three years after Alstom admitted misconduct in a Zambian hydro project

Zambia
Issue 342 - 16 March 2017

Cameroon: Bowleven board ousted

Subscriber

Activist shareholder Crown Ocean Capital has ousted most of Bowleven’s board of directors, casting doubt on a farmout agreement for Victoria Oil & Gas (VOG) to take 80% in the onshore Bomono permit.Crown Ocean has said the deal announced on 6 March, which would enable gas from Bomono to be sold within VOG’s distribution network, “will not remotely recover for shareholders the more than $100m so far spent on the Bomono project”.

Cameroon
Issue 276 - 01 May 2014

ENI: Scaroni to step down

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The Italian government has named exploration and production head Claudio Descalzi to succeed Paolo Scaroni as Eni chief executive. Scaroni is stepping down after serving three terms. Descalzi is credited with heading the E&P division when it discovered huge gas resources offshore Mozambique, as well as avoiding risky ventures in unconventional resources such as shale and oil sands.

Subscriber

Oxfam America filed a new lawsuit against the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on 18 September over delays to the implementation of a law requiring US-listed oil companies to disclose their payments to foreign governments. Oxfam accuses the SEC of unlawfully withholding a final rule implementing Section 1504 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. When Congress enacted Section 1504 on 21 July 2010, it gave the SEC a 270-day deadline to promulgate rules. After Oxfam America sued a first time for undue delay, the SEC issued a rule in August 2012, which was challenged in court by the American Petroleum Institute and vacated on procedural grounds by the US District Court on 2 July 2013.

Subscriber

President Cyril Ramaphosa said in his State of the Nation address on 7 February that “Eskom is in crisis and the risks it poses to South Africa are great”, a point emphasised when stage 4 load-shedding – meaning that more than 4GW was cut from the grid – was implemented a few days later. Ramaphosa said that unless a new business model was found for the utility, South Africa would face the same problem again and again.

South Africa
Free

While the $2bn-plus ‘tuna bonds’ scandal rumbles on in international courts, Mozambique’s reputation has generally been boosted on President Filipe Nyusi’s watch. The authorities have coped relatively effectively with crises like Cyclone Idai and in ending armed conflict with Renamo, while the Rovuma Basin gas developments could transform the economy by the mid-2020s. An impressive upturn in internationally financed solar and other projects underlines Mozambique’s emergence as a hub in the global energy transition, aided by the hard work of committed local officials.

Mozambique
Subscriber

The annual Transparency International (TI) Corruption Perceptions Index presents a largely gloomy picture for sub-Saharan Africa, with only eight of 49 countries scoring more than 43 out of 100 on the 2018 index published on 29 January. With an average score of just 32, it is the lowest scoring region on the index, followed closely by Eastern Europe and Central Asia, with an average score of 35.

Subscriber

Oilfield services company Snamprogetti Netherlands has accepted a charge from the African Development Bank (AfDB) of corrupt practices by affiliated companies related to the Bonny Island liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in Nigeria between 1995 and 2004. Under the terms of the negotiated resolution agreement, Snamprogetti will pay $5.7m in fines, to be used to support AfDB anti-corruption projects. Snamprogetti Netherlands was owned at the time by Milan-based Snamprogetti SpA, which was owned by oil major Eni. The company is now owned by Saipem, whose shares are 43% held by Eni. However, Saipem was indemnified by Eni for losses relating to these charges as part of the 2006 deal which transferred Snamprogetti.

Nigeria
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Afren has sacked chief executive officer Osman Shahenshah and chief operating officer Shahid Ullah for gross misconduct following a review into the receipt of unauthorised payments by members of management and senior employees. In a 13 October statement, Afren said it had also sacked directors Iain Wright and Galib Virani for receiving payments in breach of the company’s approved remuneration policy. The review by Willkie Farr & Gallagher (WFG) found that Shahenshah and Ullah had paid themselves $17.1m in extraordinary bonuses out of funds transferred to a British Virgin Islands special purpose vehicle.

Subscriber

The Algerian authorities are maintaining their business-as-usual approach, with more appointments to senior roles in the hydrocarbons industry and agreements in principle to undertake cooperation with IOCs, including ExxonMobil. But the outlook remains difficult, with state energy giant Sonatrach already barely able to produce the much lower amount of crude expected under its new Opec+ quota, of 816,000 b/d for May and June delivery.

Algeria
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The Federal Republic of Nigeria (FRN) and British Virgin Islands-listed Process & Industrial Developments Ltd (P&ID) presented their cases at the Queen’s Bench Division of the High Court in London, United Kingdom, on 13-14 July in the latest milestone of their long-running dispute. Nigeria is challenging an arbitration ruling against it, now worth nearly $10bn, over P&ID’s claim that the government’s failure to meet its obligations caused its gas-processing project to fail.

Nigeria
Subscriber

Canada will require extractives companies listed on its stock exchanges or based in the country to disclose their payments under the Extractive Sector Transparency Measures Act, which came into force on 1 June. The act was passed into law on 16 December 2014 and, after 1 June, all extractives companies subject to the act will be required to report payments including taxes, royalties, fees and production entitlements of $100,000 or more to all levels of government in Canada and abroad.

Subscriber

Israeli diamond magnate Beny Steinmetz and three fellow directors of his Guernsey-registered BSG Resources (BSGR) have filed a damages claim against London-based Global Witness at London’s High Court over violations of the Data Protection Act (DPA), following a decision by the UK Information Commissioner. They say that the NGO’s refusal to disclose personal information obtained during a long-running investigation of BSGR’s acquisition of mining rights in Guinea breaches their human and data protection rights. The dispute centres on BSGR’s controversial 2008 acquisition of the Simandou iron ore deposit in south-eastern Guinea, the largest undeveloped reserve in the world.

Guinea