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Italian state utility Enel Green Power on 6 February announced the start of commercial operations at the 82.5MW Adams – sometimes called Aurora – and Pulida solar photovoltaic (PV) power plants in Northern Cape and Free State provinces. The two solar plants were selected in the third round of the renewable energy independent power producer programme in 2014 and have a 20-year power supply agreement with Eskom.

South Africa
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EDP: Still mooting Angolan generation investments; MASDAR/MDC: Seychelles wind project

Angola | Seychelles
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Wärtsilä has signed an engineering, procurement and construction contract to build a 48MW gas power plant supplying Bua Group’s Sokoto cement plant in northern Nigeria. The plant will run primarily on liquefied natural gas (LNG) with low pour fuel oil as a back-up. Wärtsilä has been targeting the thermal market in Africa with its integrated gas power and LNG regasification technology in recent years.The power plant will supply a new cement line at the Sokoto facility using five Wärtsilä 34DF dual-fuel engines, complementing two heavy fuel oil (HFO) plants already operating at the site, which is entirely off-grid.

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The World Bank board has agreed a Country Assistance Strategy (CAS) for 2008-11, deciding that despite the continued conflict in eastern Congo it is time to move from a post-conflict emergency phase (Transitional Support Strategy) to a strategic, long-term approach.

DR Congo
Free

Kosmos Energy has appointed Andrew Inglis as board chairman and chief executive with effect from 1 March, enabling current chief executive Brian Maxted to focus on his exploration role. Maxted, a founding partner of Kosmos, will serve as chief exploration officer and remain on the board, while current board chairman John Kemp will retire. Inglis joined Petrofac in January 2011 after 30 years with BP, most recently as chief executive of its exploration and production business.

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Tullow Oil has indicated it could bring in more partners to develop the planned pipeline and refinery components of its Ugandan oil project.

Uganda
Issue 245 - 13 December 2012

UK launches renewables fund

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Securing early-stage project development financing is a major hurdle to getting renewable projects off the ground in many African countries, and a new facility aims to address this. On 4 December, the UK Department for International Development (DfID) and the Department of Energy and Climate Change approved the Green Africa Power (GAP) fund, a new facility housed under the Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG) umbrella.

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CITYVIEW: Share suspension; SONATRACH: Cherouati opens his account; TULLOW OIL: New deep-water licence in Suriname

Cameroon | Angola | Algeria
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Houston-based Vaalco Energy plans a well on the Kindele prospect on Block 5 in Q4. Vice-president exploration David Cameron told Global Pacific & Partners’ Africa Independents’ Forum in London on 3 June that the block was on trend with Cobalt Energy International’s pre-salt discoveries, but exploration had been in limbo for some time following the departure of the previous block partner, Norway’s Interoil, which ran out of money. Sonangol P&P was named in 2012 or 2013 as 40% working interest partner in the block, in which it held 30% alongside BP and StatoilHydro before the block was licensed to Vaalco and Interoil in 2006.

Angola
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London-based private equity firm Helios Investment Partners led a $55m funding round in January for Off Grid Electric, a solar home system provider with Silicon Valley origins. The round, supported by General Electric Ventures and existing investors, is believed to be the biggest equity investment to date in the off-grid power sector. “As the largest private equity firm exclusively focused on Africa, energy access is a priority theme for Helios,” Helios co-founder and managing partner Tope Lawani said.

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Having weathered many storms as head of Office National de l’Electricité et de l’Eau Potable (ONEE), Ali Fassi-Fihri was sacked as head of the state utility on 24 October. He was dismissed along with four prominent ministers and another parastatal boss by King Mohammed VI in response to a report by the Cour des Comptes (public accounts court) on the failures of a multi-faceted project to revive the economy of the northern Al-Hoceima region.

Morocco
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In a series of bold and politically risky moves, the Egyptian government has attempted to stabilise its economy and reduce its dependence on financial support from the Gulf by devaluing its currency, reducing subsidies and turning to Iran as an alternative source of imported fuel. President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi’s administration appears to be banking on the assumption that it can contain any public unrest provoked by domestic price rises and shortages of essential goods. It believes it can weather a geopolitical storm with its former patron, and that in the long term the economy will rest on firmer ground.

Egypt
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Canada’s Griffiths Energy International plans to change its name to Caracal Energy and list its shares on the London Stock Exchange’s main market. The company planned an initial public offering last year, but the plans were shelved when the company discovered that its late founder, Brad Griffiths, had bribed Chadian officials to obtain exploration acreage. Griffiths Energy was fined C$10.35m by a Calgary court in January.

Chad
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The shape of policy towards unconventional gas is becoming clearer, as the government and Sonatrach see potentially vast shale reserves as a game-changer that will assure Algeria’s status as a strategically important gas exporter for decades to come, write Jon Marks and Oualid Khelifi

Algeria
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President Macky Sall looked at his confident best on 12 June as he hosted a day of dialogue over the future shape of the oil and gas industry and the expected revenue boost to the Senegalese economy. The event sought to bring together politicians, business and civil society, but significant elements of the opposition boycotted the event in Dakar’s new conference centre. Sall’s opponents demand that the government should publish all the natural resources contracts it has signed to date.

Senegal