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National Oil Corporation (NOC) successfully used a temporary declaration of force majeure at the Marsa el-Hariga export terminal to secure payment of budget arrears from the Government of National Unity (GNU). The suspension of exports for just over a week was an indication of the scratchy relationship between NOC and the new Ministry of Oil and Gas, with each side yet to test the limits of its role in the new administration.

Libya
Issue 440 - 10 June 2021

Tanzania-Symbion arbitration is off

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The World Bank Group’s International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) said on 31 May that a case brought by Symbion Power Tanzania Ltd (SPTL) and its owners Lord Richard Westbury and Paul Hinks against the Tanzanian government had been dropped. The end of the arbitration, which was registered on 31 May 2019, is another indication that the Tanzanian government is moving to settle high-profile disputes with international companies.

Tanzania
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Zambia’s incoming administration is well aware of the urgent need to address the dire financial position of the vertically integrated state utility Zesco. The restructuring of Zesco to improve the utility’s operations, and increase its autonomy and efficiency to ensure long-term financial sustainability was high on the United Party for National Development (UPND)’s campaign agenda.

Zambia
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Trials of leading figures linked to the now disgraced ‘Bouteflika clan’ continue, along with former senior military and civilian officials close to the ousted regime. Prominent among them are the Kouninef brothers, Réda and Tarek, who – like many others held since Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s 2019 removal from the presidency – are in prison but continue to be summoned over other cases proceeding through the justice system.

Algeria
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The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) on 29 November said it had debarred Brussels-based Tractebel Engineering (TE Belgium) for 46 months for fraudulent and corrupt practices related to a project in Haiti in 2015-16. The decision qualifies TE Belgium for cross-debarment by the World Bank Group, African Development Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and other multilaterals.

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Kenya has been a significant bellwether for international investors and an example of the increasing need to invest in community engagement and avoid short cuts in environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) procedures. As one Kenyan specialist told the October 2019 AIX: Nairobi conference, a power developer could be greeted initially with a welcome dance or by herders carrying Kalashnikovs – investors needed to be suitably prepared .

Kenya
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As presidential and congressional elections approach in Brazil, observers say the potential for a change in leadership is raising the possibility of a return by Brazilian industrial giants to Africa after a difficult period of governance crises and restructuring.

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An early September judgement confirming the Eastern Cape High Court’s rejection of Shell’s attempt to conduct seismic surveys along South Africa’s eastern coast will leave the government – and oil companies – with plenty of food for thought, as South Africa and many other countries look to produce more hydrocarbons in sensitive environments, James Gavin writes.

South Africa
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Energy and power development minister Zhemu Soda has removed the board of directors of state petroleum company PetroTrade for alleged malpractice, including recruiting senior staff without following company procedures.

Zimbabwe
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Mali’s economy and finance minister Aloussény Sanou has told other government departments their expected funding has been blocked. The move comes after the World Bank suspended its International Development Association (IDA) credits and other facilities to the country.

Mali
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Nigerian politicians’ focus in the year ahead will be on the 2019 elections and the chances of President Muhammadu Buhari serving a second term. Buhari seems to have returned home from medical treatment in London last August reinvigorated to an extent many doubters thought impossible, but if politics is a results business – rather than merely a question of the volume of resources at power-brokers’ disposal – the president and his All Progressives Congress (APC) have much to do.

Nigeria
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After years of futile exploration, President Muhammadu Buhari has announced the discovery of oil in Bauchi and Gombe states in north-eastern Nigeria, just as his administration enters its final period in office. However, there is considerable scepticism about an announcement that could allow fragile northern states to tap into additional federal funding, writes Adaora Elemide in Abuja.

Nigeria
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The National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) has approved a regulatory clearing account (RCA) balance for Eskom of R13.27bn ($763m).The RCA is a mechanism for recouping prudently incurred costs that were not foreseen in previous tariff determinations, as well as making adjustments where assumptions such as inflation and tariff income have varied. The balance will be recouped from standard tariff customers, special pricing arrangement customers and international customers. Eskom and Nersa have frequently found themselves at odds over the RCA as well as tariff determinations.

South Africa
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Too often ignored except in times of extreme crisis, Lesotho is looking to emerge from years of political instability and economic malaise under previous coalition governments, as the Basotho population counts on newly-elected tycoon Prime Minister Sam Matekane to usher in transformative change.

Lesotho
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The reshuffle and apparent downgrade of oil minister Gabriel Obiang Lima has brought a close aide of President Teodoro Obiang, former national company GEPetrol head Antonio Oburu Ondo, into the Ministry of Mines and Hydrocarbons. The controversial new minister is also close to Obiang’s favoured son Teodorin, who is ever more strongly placed to eventually replace the octogenarian president in Equatorial Guinea’s most critical succession battle.

Equatorial Guinea