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Libyas new gas round showed just how keen IOCs are to explore despite the Jamahiriyas opaque and sometimes difficult business environment. Algeria has a more established gas industry but its leaders seem more cautious still about encouraging major new E&P initiatives. Jon Marks in Algiers and John Hamilton in Tripoli ask whether gas-hungry Europe will secure reserves from major Maghrebi producers as quickly as EU leaders would like.

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to the global economy. This will test to the limit Tripoli’s belief that it can renegotiate ever tougher terms with its partners, writes John Hamilton, who edited this African Energy special report

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It was all going so well, and could still do so, but Morocco’s hoped-for offshore boom is under pressure from the slump in crude prices, which has already altered the economics of many international oil companies (IOCs). Under the benevolent eye of Office National des Hydrocarbures et des Mines (Onhym) head Amina Benkhadra, IOCs entered the underexplored Moroccan offshore and onshore in considerable numbers in 2013-14. Many of the entrants were the majors (including BP, Chevron, Repsol and Total) and ‘super-indies’ that Onhym and political leaders in Rabat had long sought to entice into the hydrocarbons-poor kingdom, which for Moroccans includes the disputed Western Sahara. As African Energy wrote in May 2014, this year will be crunch time for Onhym and its 30-plus IOC partners (AE 277/1).

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The path of policy implementation often moves slow in South Africa but when the crunch arrives everyone must adapt as the electricity supply industry is about to nd out, writes Jon Marks in Cape Town.

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Minister of mineral and energy resources Gwede Mantashe said on 7 November the new draft Petroleum Amendment Bill, which is currently before cabinet, would be released for public comment within the next three weeks. The bill was drawn up following criticism of the previous government’s efforts to lump oil and gas with mining in the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA) Amendment Bill (AE 379/12).

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A tumultuous few months in Nigerian electricity distribution that included the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) threatening to withdraw the licences of eight of the country’s 11 distribution companies (discos) in October has forced progress on some of the many intractable problems preventing investment in the sector. A clearer and more balanced regulatory framework has been put in place and, with a regulatory order on electricity distribution franchising expected later this month, discos have some options for attracting investment and improving service quality (AE 367/6, 363/7).

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On 21 August, the leader of the UN-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) Presidency Council Fayez Al-Sarraj and eastern-based House of Representatives president Aguila Saleh each announced their own ceasefire. Saleh suggested that a new presidency council could be temporarily established in the demilitarised city of Sirte. His statement was promising in that it echoed parts of US national security adviser Robert O’Brien’s 4 August call for the implementation of a demilitarised solution for Sirte and Jufra – the front line between the GNA and the Libyan Arab Armed Forces (LAAF) – and the resumption of National Oil Corporation (NOC) operations. 

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The breakdown of talks on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (Gerd) on 18 June – after nine days of discussions held remotely over video because of Covid-19 restrictions – left both Ethiopia and Egypt holding on firmly to mutually incompatible maximalist positions. On 19 June, Ethiopian foreign minister Gedu Andargachew told Associated Press that filling the dam would advance whatever happened. “For us it is not mandatory to reach an agreement before starting filling the dam, hence we will commence the filling process in the coming rainy season,” he said. “We are working hard to reach a deal, but still we will go ahead with our schedule whatever the outcome is. If we have to wait for others’ blessing, then the dam may remain idle for years, which we won’t allow to happen.”

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Senior officials have kept their counsel during a difficult period when coronavirus and the oil price slump have laid low the Nigerian economy, but there are signs that reformists in Abuja are trying to use the crisis to their advantage – reflected in action to end fuel subsidies and accelerate power sector reforms. But despite some potentially important steps forward, the outlook is extremely difficult in a humanitarian crisis where social distancing is all but impossible for the majority of the population.

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West Africa oil exporters are scrambling to deal with a sharp drop in Chinese import demand caused by the coronavirus. China imported around 1.3m b/d of West African crude before the economic jolt caused by the virus. Imports fell to 1.1m b/d in February, causing major disruption to the key market for many sub-Saharan African oil exporters, according to tanker data and crude-loading programmes.

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Guinea’s ruling party confirmed on 31 August that President Alpha Condé would stand for a third term in elections on 18 October.That the 82-year-old president made no personal announcement may reflect the controversial nature of his decision amid rising political tensions.There is an economic logic behind efforts in recent months to drive forward the country’s biggest project, to develop the huge iron ore reserves at Simandou with an associated 650km transport corridor scheme, and to finally overcome chronic power shortages. But government decisions are also being driven by a political imperative: to get Condé re-elected for what many argue is an unconstitutional third term.

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A €115m loan for the New & Renewable Energy Authority (NREA) is under appraisal at the European Investment Bank (EIB) to finance a 200MW wind farm in the Gulf of Suez.The loan represents 31.9% of the total cost of the plant, estimated at €360m. The government aims to increase wind energy’s share of total generation capacity to 12% by 2020, and the NREA prequalified 28 wind power projects in January.

Egypt
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There are some reassuringly familiar international names among the successful bidders for generation plants in Nigeria’s privatisation process, but the successful consortia also contain a number of less-known local companies whose beneficial ownership has not been revealed; some firms are linked to powerful former military leaders.

Nigeria
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Total has announced an oil discovery with the Ivoire-1X exploration well in block CI-100 close to the disputed maritime border with Ghana. The well was drilled to a total depth of 5,044 metres and encountered 28 metres of net oil pay in a series of about 100 metres of Cretaceous reservoirs. Ivoire-1X is Total’s first well in the block and reveals that the Tano Basin petroleum system extends into CI-100.

Côte d'Ivoire
Issue 181 - 26 February 2010

Algeria’s solar development strategy

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Algeria’s plans for developing more solar capacity for domestic use are advanced. Although the impact of proposed projects on total installed capacity will be slight, the targets are substantial.

Algeria