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Issue 397 - 26 July 2019

South Africa IPP Office head ousted


News that respected Independent Power Producers Office head Karen Breytenbach has been asked to leave has been greeted with surprise in the South African power industry. The Joint Implementation Committee, made up of the Department of Energy (DoE), National Treasury and the Development Bank of Southern Africa said on 23 July it had asked Breytenbach to leave, citing “issues that were creating operational instability at the IPP Office”.

South Africa
Issue 429 - 17 December 2020

Niger: Nature reserve boundaries redrawn


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.


In the third year of his presidency, Félix Tshisekedi has outflanked Joseph Kabila to the extent that the former president is now lying low at his ranch near Lubumbashi amid fears his senator-for-life status may be insufficient to give immunity from eventual prosecution. The resignation on 29 January of prime minister Sylvestre Ilunga Ilunkamba was another victory over key Kabila allies in a war of attrition for control of Democratic Republic of Congo that has seen members of the ex-president’s Front Commun pour le Congo (FCC) flooding to join Tshisekedi’s Union Sacré́e pour la Nation (USN).

DR Congo

Total has defended itself against criticism of the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) project, publishing its social and environmental studies and action plans and pledging transparency. In the latest attack on the project, 263 organisations from 49 countries have banded together to campaign against the planned export pipeline to carry Uganda’s crude oil to the Tanzanian coast.

Uganda | Tanzania

A court in Milan on 17 March acquitted Eni and Royal Dutch Shell of corruption in the purchase of OPL 245. Campaigners said they were surprised and disappointed by the verdict, especially as two middlemen involved in the sale were found guilty in September 2018. The written ruling explaining the judge’s reasoning should be handed down 90 days after the verdict.

Issue 341 - 02 March 2017

Soma director named Somali PM


Soma Oil & Gas executive director for Africa Hassan Khaire has been named as prime minister in the government of new Somali president Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed. Soma said Khaire had resigned from the board and relinquished all his shares in the company. Khaire, 46, had worked with Soma since the company was founded in 2013, and before that as director for the Norwegian Refugee Council for Somalia and East Africa, having come to Norway in the late 1980s as a refugee.


French consultancy Sofreco has a new technical assistance contract to support the energy agency of the three-nation Great Lakes Economic Community (CEPGL), Energie des Grands Lacs. The 2015-16 contract is intended to build institutional, technical, human and other capacity; update the Regional Energy Master Plan; harmonise norms and standards, and environmental assessment practices; adopt funding, implementation and monitoring procedures for studies and projects; and consolidate the information and communication system.

Issue 405 - 05 December 2019

Tunisia: New boss for Steg ER


In a continuing reshuffle of parastatal heads and other senior posts by the outgoing prime minister, Youssef Chahed, his Tahya Tounès party ally Leila Ouled Ali Bahri is to become head of Steg Energies Renouvelables (ER), the renewables affiliate of state utility Société Tunisienne de l’Electricité et du Gaz. Created in 2010 to promote solar projects, Steg ER has public and a few private sector shareholders, not all of whom are said to be happy with Chahed’s last-minute ‘political’ appointment.


The UK’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has begun investigations into Rolls-Royce’s operations in Nigeria, following accusations that the London Stock Exchange-listed engineering group filtered payments through intermediaries such as Unaoil to win deals in Indonesia, China, India and Brazil. As with previous investigations, the deals under scrutiny were transacted by Rolls-Royce’s previous management, headed by Sir John Rose. The Times newspaper reported on 20 May that the Nigerian deals involved Rolls-Royce’s alleged use of an intermediary company, PSL Engineering and Control, to influence the sale of gas turbines.

Issue 254 - 16 May 2013

Equatorial Guinea: Libel ruling


A French court in late April ruled that NGO the Catholic Committee Against Hunger and for Development did not libel President Teodoro Obiang Nguema in a 2009 report. The report, entitled ‘Biens mal acquis, à qui profite le crime?’ said that Obiang and ten family members had laundered about $26.5m in property deals via an account at Santander bank Madrid between 2000 and 2003. The latest court ruling follows a lower court decision that the report’s allegations were covered by the right to free speech.

Equatorial Guinea
Issue 265 - 11 November 2013

Weatherford: $250m settlement


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.


President Filipe Nyusi has been working to raise Mozambique’s attractiveness to investors during a period when growth rates have dipped, and currency and political risks have risen. Promising signs have included a welcome easing of visa procedures and a more sympathetic ear given to major investors. The macroeconomic picture is improving: growth, which halved from its strong performance of recent years to 3.5% in 2016, will rise to 4.5% in 2017, with further improvement after that, Electricidade de Moçambique (EDM) chairman and chief executive Mateus Magala told the Africa Energy Forum (AEF) in Copenhagen.


Wide-ranging reform of Angola’s power sector is making progress, but with the economy heavily dependent on oil revenues, investment plans could be significantly slowed. Angola-watchers suggest the effects on the domestic economy of sharply lower global oil prices, coupled with the continued uncertainty over veteran President José Eduardo dos Santos’ succession plans, may create a ‘perfect storm’ that could hasten the long-awaited regime change.


With the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (Pida) framework endorsed by African leaders in 2012 returning the development focus to big dams, there is an increasing amount of research into how climate change may affect future water supply. Pida includes a Priority Action Plan which calls for an expansion of hydroelectric power generation capacity by more than 54GW. The listed priority projects, currently being designed on the basis of the historical climate, will jump to the head of the queue for donor funds and government approvals.


The trial at the International Criminal Court (ICC) of Kenyan deputy president William Ruto was adjourned for a week on 23 September after Ruto asked for a suspension to enable him to return to Nairobi to handle the aftermath of an attack on the city’s Westgate shopping mall. Ruto went on trial on 10 September along with radio presenter Joshua arap Sang, charged with crimes against humanity in relation to their alleged role in co-ordinating the violence that swept Kenya in the aftermath of the country’s contested 2007 elections.