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Subscriber

Reports that Moroccan Agency for Sustainable Energy (Masen) head Mustapha Bakkoury has fallen from grace and is under investigation for alleged management abuses have underlined the perception that the kingdom’s ambitious renewable energy (RE) programme is in trouble, confronted by delays, cost over-runs and high prices for electricity generated by the agency’s ground-breaking Noor Ouarzazate scheme.

Morocco
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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
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Energy minister Matthew Opoku Prempeh is resisting calls for electricity tariffs to rise, despite Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) recording an annual loss of at least $400m. 

Ghana
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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
Issue 297 - 27 March 2015

Afren calls in Serious Fraud Office

Subscriber

Afren says it has passed information to the UK’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) after an investigation uncovered new concerns over expenses payments. In a statement released late on Friday 20 March, Afren said reporting the concerns was a condition for the provision of interim funding from bondholders to keep the indebted company afloat. The concerns arise from an investigation by Willkie, Farr & Gallagher (WFG) regarding the hire of an individual in 2012, and the payment of travel and accommodation expenses connected to Afren’s activities, the company said.

Issue 272 - 03 March 2014

Tullow to report more payments detail

Subscriber

Tullow Oil has announced that it plans to report payments for individual projects, not just on a country by country basis. “Tullow took an industry leading position in 2012 by declaring all of our payments to government and in 2013 when we bring out, we’re going to enhance that disclosure further by reporting on a project by project basis,” Tullow chairman Simon Thompson told a discussion entitled East Africa’s Oil and Gas Boom: Promise and Peril, organised by the Brookings Institution and Oxfam America on 20 February.

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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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South Sudan’s oil income has been slashed by lower output, falling global prices, and an increasing production share taken by the government’s upstream joint venture partners. The treasury has fallen behind with payments due to Sudan for the use of its export infrastructure and is paying its debt by diverting greater quantities of oil to its neighbour. In 20 months the conflict has claimed tens of thousands of lives, displaced 4.6m people, and reduced oil production by up to a third and the burden of the war effort is exerting further pressure on the treasury, which is consistently overspending its military budget.

South Sudan
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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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Royal Dutch Shell, Eni, and several senior Eni executives including chief executive Claudio Descalzi will face a preliminary court hearing in Italy on 20 April. The Milan prosecutor is seeking that they be tried for alleged international corruption offences over the 2011 purchase of Nigerian OPL 245. The companies paid $1.3bn to the Nigerian government, which then transferred $1.1bn to Malabu Oil & Gas, owned by former oil minister Dan Etete, to which he granted rights to the block in 1998.

Nigeria
Free

The 13-16 July third International Conference on Financing for Development (FfD3) in Addis Ababa was a critical step towards ending poverty and achieving universal food security, UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon said, while European Investment Bank president Werner Hoyer said it contributed toward a renewed architecture for sustainable development.FfD3 committed to a social compact to protect vulnerable populations, with national targets for spending on education, health and other essential services. It recommitted developed economies to spend 0.7% of GNP on aid.

Free

The suspension by President Goodluck Jonathan of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi led the naira to fall sharply and investors to rue the volatility of Nigerian politics. But it was hardly a surprise, following years of controversy surrounding the highly talented and combative governor, and months of Sanusi’s increasingly public criticism of the management of the oil sector and government finances by Jonathan and his close ally petroleum minister Diezani Allison-Madueke. By naming names in the Senate, Sanusi was more or less directly implicating the ruling clique on Aso Rock in gross malfeasance.

Nigeria
Free

President José Eduardo dos Santos and his Movimento Popular de Libertação de Angola (MPLA) party mobilised the apparel of state (along with Brazilian election experts and a massive birthday bash for the 70-year-old leader) to secure a landslide in the 31 August general election. The MPLA may not win as much as the 82% it won in 2008, but it will have gained enough votes to legitimise dos Santos’ 33-year rule – at least in the eyes of Angolan power-brokers – and open the way for peaceful political transition.

Angola
Free

A senior team leader at the Ethiopian Revenue & Customs Authority (ERCA) was jailed for five-and-a-half years in late July for receiving bribes and abuse of power. The Federal Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission arrested several ERCA officials on suspicion of corruption in May 2013 and charges were made later that month. Kumlachew Yeshambel was charged with taking 200,000 birr ($10,600) in bribes.

Ethiopia
Issue 277 - 20 May 2014

Nigeria: PwC to audit NNPC

Subscriber

Accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has started work with the federal auditor-general to carry out an audit on the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) over an alleged missing $20bn in oil revenues. Speaking at the World Economic Forum on Africa in Abuja on 8 May, finance minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said the work, which began the previous week, should be completed within 16 weeks. “Our feeling is that the only way is to have a forensic audit that would let Nigerians know the truth about the issue,” she said.

Nigeria