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Mozambique has emerged from an election year with a record of improving the regulatory environment for its oil and gas sector. President Armando Guebuza’s outgoing government – to be replaced by a probably similar Frente de Libertação de Moçambique (Frelimo) administration led by Filipe Nyusi – has passed several key items of legislation, geared towards encouraging Eni and Anadarko Petroleum Corporation to reach their final investment decisions in 2016. In August, passage of a new Petroleum Law, to replace 2001 legislation, brought increased clarity and coherence to the sector, while in October, the state Instituto Nacional de Petróleo offered 15 blocks to interested investors.

Mozambique
Issue 271 - 17 February 2014

Malawi: Trial under way

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The trial of those accused in the ‘cashgate’ corruption affair started in late January with the first three of 70 defendants appearing in court. Some $100m was allegedly stolen from government funds, leading to the suspension of aid to Malawi by several donors. In October, President Joyce Banda sacked and replaced her cabinet. The first defendants, Caroline Savala, Agnes Katengeza and Leonard Kalonga, were charged with theft and money laundering for receiving payment from the government for services that their construction company did not provide.

Malawi
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US developer Endeavor Energy has gone public in its dispute with Starenergie 2073 over the local partner’s decision to drop it from the 372MW Songon gas-to-power project, and sign up a Chinese contractor to develop the scheme. How the stand-off might be resolved is not yet clear, but legal action is likely. Its statement, issued on 3 October, said: “Endeavor is fully committed to enforcing its rights under the JDA and will seek redress against Starenergie and anyone tortuously interfering with its contractual rights.”

Côte d'Ivoire
Free

The AAA-rated African Development Bank (AfDB) is the continent’s biggest financial institution, with a well-defined role that is growing as it leverages its capital and know-how to support essential public and private sector projects and support economies mired in the coronavirus pandemic. The re-election of AfDB president Akinwumi Adesina is an important development that should end a period of corrosive doubt about the bank’s governance, while promoting the bank’s multiple positive roles.

Issue 423 - 24 September 2020

Gambia: PetroNor settles arbitration

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Oslo-listed PetroNor has reached an out-of-court settlement with the government of Gambia on its dispute over the licences for blocks A1 and A4. African Petroleum, which merged with PetroNor in 2019, filed an arbitration case at the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes after the government cancelled the licences and awarded A1, which lies immediately to the south of Cairn Energy’s SNE and Fan discoveries offshore Senegal, to BP.

Gambia
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Ghana’s Ministry of Finance announced in late September that Cenit Energy Ltd has agreed new terms for its 126MW dual fuel power plant. The government has been attempting to drive down the cost of power by renegotiating power purchase agreements (PPAs) with IPPs. After fact-finding consultations earlier in the year, talks with operating or near-operating IPPs have moved on to more substantive negotiations, and Cenit is the first to reach agreement.

Ghana
Issue 425 - 22 October 2020

Algeria: Naturgy settlement

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Sonatrach has settled its dispute with Spain’s Naturgy Energy Group by agreeing to revise their gas contracts while avoiding the arbitration proceedings threatened by Algeria. The Spanish utility initiated negotiations in May, and three separate contracts were renegotiated in a review of pricing, volume and duration provisions, the two companies said on 7 October. The contracts were signed by Naturgy executive chairman Francisco Reynes and Sonatrach president director- general Toufik Hakkar, during a visit to Algiers by Spanish prime minister Pedro Sánchez.

Algeria
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After a difficult decade during which operations have been interrupted by conflict, disputes over debts and gas supply and allegations of corruption, Norway’s Yara has sold its half-share in the Libyan Norwegian Fertilizer Company (Lifeco) to National Oil Corporation (NOC). On 31 December, NOC announced that it had bought out its partner, meaning that the Marsa Al-Brega-based ammonia and urea production facilities are now owned 75% by the corporation and 25% by the Libyan Investment Authority sovereign wealth fund.

Libya
Free

President Muhammadu Buhari finally responded to popular concerns over security by replacing his military top team on 26 January. With the economy hobbled by low oil prices and coronavirus, he has allowed a little more economic flexibility, although it remains to be seen whether his costly defence of the naira’s inflated value will be replaced by the foreign exchange market unification favoured by the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.

Nigeria
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IOCs and business lobbies continue to contest the 2019 decision to impose stricter rules on currency transfers and payments across the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (Cemac). The regulations were promoted by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to improve governance and economic management, but companies complain they have been starved of cash for operations in the Central African franc zone .

Issue 435 - 25 March 2021

Arbitration goes badly for Ghana

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The Government of Ghana (GoG) is under fire as details emerge of a costly arbitral ruling over an emergency purchase agreement (EPA) signed with Ghana Power Generation Company (GPGC), which in 2015 procured two GE LM 6000 combined cycle power plants in Italy to supply 107MW at Aboadze.

Ghana
Issue 262 - 02 October 2013

Senegal: EITI application

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Senegal has submitted a candidature application to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). The application will be considered by the EITI board at its next meeting in October. “As part of the EITI process, Senegal will publish all mining contracts, as well as revenue to be derived from these contracts,” said President Macky Sall. Senegal’s mining industry accounts for some 20% of export earnings and 20% of GDP. The country has a small amount of onshore gas production, but exploration is under way offshore, where Tullow Oil hopes to replicate the success of its West African Cretaceous play, and ConocoPhillips and Cairn Energy farmed into three blocks held by Australia’s FAR earlier this year.

Senegal
Issue 411 - 12 March 2020

AfDB names new energy VP

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The African Development Bank Group has named Kenya’s Kevin Kanina Kariuki as the new vice-president for power, energy, climate and green growth with effect from 16 April. He replaces Amadou Hott, now Senegal’s minister of economy, planning and international cooperation. Described by one industry commentator as “smart in all senses with a real knowledge of the sector and the investor community”, Kariuki was previously head of infrastructure at Industrial Promotion Services (IPS) Kenya Ltd.

Free

One region seems above all others to stubbornly buck the positive political and economic trends recorded over two decades by African Energy: it comprises the six Communauté Economique et Monétaire de l’Afrique Centrale (Cemac) countries and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Events in the last month, including a failed coup in Gabon and contested elections in DRC, underline Central Africa’s chronic crisis of leadership. Such political behaviours are increasingly seen as an anachronism in a world structured by social media, as well as by older social bonds and traditional patterns of coercion by elites.

Issue 259 - 26 July 2013

Liberia: Anti-corruption court


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President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has renewed calls for a fast-track court on corruption. Speaking during the dedication of projects undertaken for independence celebrations on 26 July, she said that the three branches of government – executive, legislative (consisting of the Senate and House of Representatives) and judiciary – would work together for the country’s prosperity. “We have been calling for a fast-track court on corruption; so we are emphasising that call on the legislature because the executive cannot do it alone. We need to address some problems,” she said.

Liberia