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Issue 302 - 12 June 2015

Egypt: Bold sector reforms planned

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President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi is reviewing a new electricity law which, if approved in its present form, will introduce further substantial reforms to the sector. Sector experts consulted by African Energy did not expect him to pass the law until after the summer peak demand period, as officials are unlikely to have the capacity to deal with the proposed changes before then. Among the main reforms envisaged by the law are the unbundling of grid operator Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company (EETC) from its parent company Egyptian Electricity Holding Company, and making regulator EgyptERA responsible for setting electricity tariffs.

Egypt
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The formation of rival governments in eastern and western Libya threatens to drag the country into a full-blown civil conflict even as oil sector activity has reached levels not seen for more than 12 months. The official government appointed by the recently elected House of Representatives and led by interim prime minister Abdullah Al-Thinni appears to command National Oil Corporation (NOC) and the main oil terminals and fields. However, its authority over the Central Bank of Libya is less certain, and its control over military forces, even those that support it, is negligible.

Libya
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The beheading of local guards and the kidnapping of foreigners at the Ghani field by units allegedly part of Islamic State (IS), and their destruction of facilities at this and other fields, has obliged National Oil Corporation (NOC) to shut down and abandon most of the south-west Sirte Basin. Local oil workers are now reluctant to work at locations in the desert unless more Petroleum Facilities Guards (PFGs) with better equipment are deployed. If the attacks continue, there are two main ways that the situation could deteriorate.

Libya
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The Brazzaville government is flagging the launch of a major licensing round in Cape Town next month, despite the lower oil price, but parliament still needs to approve a new hydrocarbons code. The new code, which updates the existing 1994 law, was approved by the cabinet in March. Based on a model production-sharing contract, it stipulates that state oil company Société Nationale des Pétroles du Congo (SNPC) is the holder of the mining title in each case, with the right to bring in local and international partners.

Congo Brazzaville
Issue 327 - 08 July 2016

SEC finally issues disclosure rule

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The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has released a rule requiring oil and mining companies publicly traded on US stock exchanges to disclose payments to the US and foreign governments. The rule will finally enact Section 1504 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, passed by Congress and signed by President Barack Obama in 2010. The SEC introduced an implementing rule for Section 1504 in 2012, but this was set aside by a US district court in 2013 following a legal challenge by the American Petroleum Institute lobby group.

Issue 271 - 17 February 2014

Wider enforcement of the Bribery Act

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UK Serious Fraud Office director David Green has proposed an amendment to the Bribery Act that would expand the law’s coverage and lead to the possible blacklisting of companies. His proposal would widen the Bribery Act’s ‘failure to prevent bribery’ language to include a failure to prevent all acts of financial crime. Companies and banks could be barred from participating in public contracts across the European Union. International financial institutions have successfully used blacklisting for companies found guilty of corruption – the World Bank in the 12 months to August 2013 debarred 307 entities ranging from major multinationals (for example SNC-Lavalin in April 2013 for ten years) to smaller firms and individual consultants.

Issue 282 - 26 July 2014

DR Congo/Guinea: EITI compliant

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The Democratic Republic of Congo and Guinea have both been admitted as full members of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) at an EITI board meeting in Mexico City. “I congratulate the DRC for becoming a full member of the EITI family. Despite all the challenges facing the country, the Congolese people have been working together to bring transparency and accountability to the management of their natural resources,” said EITI board chair Clare Short. DRC’s candidate status was temporarily suspended on 18 April 2013, following the publication of the 2010 EITI Report, which was found to not meet the EITI requirements. The country has since addressed the issues that led to its suspension, an EITI statement said.

DR Congo | Guinea
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At the time of publishing it was unclear whether the United Nations would persuade delegates from Tobruk’s House of Representatives (HoR) and Tripoli’s General National Congress (GNC), meeting in the Moroccan town of Skhirat, to sign a deal on a unity government. They were ready to do so on 16 December, but at a separate meeting in Malta, HoR speaker Ageela Gwaider and GNC speaker Nuri Abu Sahmain – normally arch-rivals – jointly called for a postponement, making clear that the delegates in Morocco did not represent the will of either assembly.

Libya
Issue 343 - 31 March 2017

Doubts over US commitment to EITI

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As with numerous other policy areas, the incoming US administration has given out mixed messages about its commitment to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). The situation will become clearer next year, when the US comes up for assessment. US Democratic senator Ben Cardin and Republican senator Dick Lugar, responsible for the Cardin-Lugar rule requiring companies to disclose payments which was repealed by President Donald Trump in February issued a joint statement on 20 May regretting the US decision to “effectively leave” the EITI.

United States
Issue 366 - 06 April 2018

US imposes South Sudan oil sanctions

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The US government has imposed licensing restrictions on South Sudan’s Ministry of Petroleum, Ministry of Mining, state-owned Nile Petroleum Corporation (Nilepet) and 12 other oil-related organisations. The restrictions were issued on 21 March by the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) at the US Department of Commerce “as part of the US effort to end the ongoing conflict and resolve the humanitarian crisis in South Sudan”, a statement said.

South Sudan
Free

The Federal Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (FEACC) is drafting a new regulation that will enable it to investigate corruption claims involving the private sector, according to a late May report on Ethiopian news site capitalethiopia.com. Ethiopia’s decade-old corruption law does not allow FEACC to look into private sector corruption claims, limiting it to corruption in state-owned organisations. FEACC recently arrested several Ethiopian Revenue and Customs Authority officials and local businessmen.

Ethiopia
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National Oil Corporation (NOC) chairman Mustafa Sanalla has intensified his conflict with Presidency Council head Fayez Al-Sarraj, alleging that German oil company Wintershall has formed an alliance with the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) and succeeded in influencing the drafting of legislation for its commercial benefit. In a statement published on NOC’s website on 10 May, Sanalla said that, following the breakdown of negotiations over the renewal of its concessions, Wintershall had “shut in over 160,000 b/d of production, at a cost to the Libyan state of almost a quarter of a billion dollars per month”.

Libya
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Following a series of setbacks for the government this year in its attempt to declare CEC’s network common carrier, there had been hopes a negotiated settlement could be agreed. However, further legal action now looks a certainty, writes Chiwoyu Sinyangwe in Lusaka The Zambian government has made a fresh bid to seize control of Copperbelt Energy Corporation (CEC)’s transmission and distribution lines by issuing a new statutory instrument (SI) declaring the company’s network as common carrier.

Zambia
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 The Angolan government and General Electric have succeeded in having a court case against them dismissed by the US District Court for the Southern District of New York, after a judge ruled the dispute should be heard in courts in Angola.

Angola
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The Copperbelt Energy Corporation (CEC) has gone to the Lusaka High Court seeking a judicial review to halt the government’s latest attempts to seize its transmission line network, including those it jointly owns with Democratic Republic of Congo’s Société Nationale d’Electricité (Snel).

Zambia