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Drilling next year will test whether north-west Africa’s previously unfashionable deep offshore could produce an equivalent of Ghana’s Jubilee field. A declaration of commerciality for the Banda gas field off Mauritania could add to the industry’s interest in lesser-known Atlantic Margin plays, write John Hamilton and Thalia Griffiths

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The end of a crippling drought, appointment of a new management team and a $235m syndication to clean up its debts may help Tanesco make a fresh start, with the Tanzanian state still playing a leading role in the countrys economic recovery, writes Thalia Griffiths in Dar es Salaam.

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Civil war has done nothing to dent Cte dIvoires long-held ambition to be the Rotterdam of Africa, with an offshore licensing round promising to reverse a negative investment trend, write Paul Melly and Thalia Grifths.

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Nigeria and So Tom & Prncipe are sparring over their joint development zone as the stakes rise in a region that is becoming ever more interesting to US lobby groups and strategic planners. Martin Clark and Jon Marks examine the storm in the JDZ, while on page 3 defence analyst Michael Knights asks whether the US military really plans to set up shop in the Gulf of Guinea.

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The South African government suffered a major setback in its efforts to procure nuclear power when the High Court in Cape Town ruled on 26 April that three intergovernmental agreements, two ministerial determinations and all subsequent procurement activity was unlawful and unconstitutional. The decision means that two ministerial determinations – announcements by the energy minister that a certain amount of capacity will be procured from a particular technology – from 2013 and 2016 underpinning the government’s ambitious, and controversial, efforts to procure 9,600MW of nuclear power have been set aside. As a consequence, the request for information which was scheduled to close at the end of April was also ruled unlawful (AE 338/8, 305/6). The role assumed by the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) was again challenged, striking, for the second time since early 2016, at the uncomfortable balancing act the regulator has attempted since it was established in 2004 between political considerations and quasi-independence.

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Hyperdynamics Corporation said on 12 March that Tullow Oil had declared force majeure over its Guinea acreage. The announcement followed a guilty plea by French national Frédéric Cilins to obstructing a US criminal investigation in connection with a bribery probe into how Beny Steinmetz’s BSG Resources (BSGR) acquired mining rights in Guinea. On 30 September, the US Department of Justice (DoJ) issued a subpoena asking Hyperdynamics, the original licence holder, to produce documents relating to its business in Guinea.The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued a similar subpoena in January this year. Guinea’s resource contracts have been under scrutiny since President Alpha Condé took office in December 2011, but investigations moved to the US last year with the arrest of Cilins in April.

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ExxonMobil provided some grounds for optimism for an upstream industry under pressure when it announced the Owowo discovery offshore Nigeria, as international oil companies (IOCs) gathered in Cape Town for the 23rd annual Africa Oil Week. The US supermajor rarely announces exploration results but needs some positive news to offset an expected reserves restatement. Announcing its Q3 earnings on 28 October, ExxonMobil said that, if the low crude prices persisted until year-end, it would have to “de-book” about 4.6bn boe from its proven reserves, which were 24.8bn boe at end-2015.

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Lower oil prices and production cuts put Angolas astronomic growth forecasts into question, but OPECs newest member remains bullish about its business prospects, with a range of reforms planned for implementation, writes Jon Marks in Luanda.

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Officials in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are making bullish noises about the much-anticipated Inga 3 hydroelectric power project, with the bidding whittled down to two consortia, which officials say are expected to present their final offers by 31 July, for contracts to be signed by year-end.

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With BP set to drill even deeper than the ill-fated Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico, scientists fear ancient Greek and Roman remains and coastal ecology could be damaged, writes John Hamilton

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As first gas arrived in South Africa, a complex financing package for field development in Mozambique and a pipeline to Secunda was finally put in place. The structure, fusing project finance with corporate lending, might be applied elsewhere: it’s a question of appetite for risk, writes Kevin Godier.

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There was considerable surprise, even in Luanda, at the announcement that Samsung would build a $2.7bn oil refinery, and participate in a $1.7bn oil and gas project in Cabinda. Nicholas Shaxson investigates a deal that seems to have short-circuited normal decision-making procedures and economic analysis.

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New funds are flowing into Angola’s power sector as the country’s infrastructure planning reassures donors that the government is serious about development. Brazil has approved a lending package of up to $2bn for the Lauca dam being built by Odebrecht, and the African Development Bank (AfDB) board has approved a $1bn loan for the Angola Power Sector Reform Support Programme. The World Bank has also promised support.While aspects of Angola’s financial management continue to attract scrutiny from governance watchdogs, recent development, have won the trust of donors. The World Bank Country Partnership Strategy document for 2014-16, published in 2013, observes that, after emerging from a devastating 27-year civil war in 2002, Angola has achieved a period of remarkable reconstruction and recovery and fast economic growth. As a

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There is new life in Kudu, as increasingly alarming forecasts for the power supply situation in southern Africa haveencouraged the Namibian government to throw its weight behind the long-mooted gas-to-power scheme, write Thalia Griffiths, Dan Marks and Our Windhoek Correspondent

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A second attack in the Algerian ‘hydrocarbons fortress’ and an emerging narrative in which western governments see an ‘arc of instability’ spanning the Sahara/Sahel region means IOCs must reassess their attitudes to regional risk following the traumatic In Aménas gas plant siege, write Jon Marks and John Hamilton