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African Energy - Issue 359 - 07/12/2017

Peter Hain: more evidence to come in UK Gupta investigations

More evidence is expected from UK authorities and South African sources as part of the investigation into the use of the UK’s banking system by the Gupta brothers, Lord Hain of Neath – Peter Hain – told African Energy. Letters from Hain to the chancellor, Phillip Hammond, last month instigated investigations by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), National Crime Agency, and the Serious Fraud Office (AE 356/22). The Federal Bureau of Investigation has begun investigating in the United States and evidence has been submitted to the European Union, although an investigation has not yet begun.

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Gulf States News - Issue 1049 - 01/12/2017

Kuwait searches for political stability after court defeat for opposition

One month after the previous executive resigned on 30 October, Kuwait was still waiting for a new cabinet to be appointed as GSN went to press, amid intensifying tensions between opposition groups and a government which is only in place in an acting capacity (GSN 1,047/4). There appears to be little prospect of things simmering down soon, particularly given the conviction on 27 November by the Courts of Appeal of 67 people for their role in the storming of the National Assembly in November 2011 (GSN 913/1).

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African Energy - Issue 358 - 23/11/2017

Geothermal development picks up steam in East Africa

Delays in finalising Corbetti Geothermal Company’s plans to sell up to 500MW of geothermal power to Ethiopia Electric Power’s grid and hold-ups in major Kenyan schemes that seek to harness the Rift Valley’s huge resources have underlined the slow pace of projects harnessing energy from the earth’s core in eastern Africa. For all the efforts to develop independent power projects and the support of leading multilaterals and initiatives such as the Geothermal Risk Mitigation Facility (GRMF), only the Olkaria complex in Kenya has been exploited so far on a large scale.

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Gulf States News - Issue 1048 - 20/11/2017

Uncertainty follows after Al-Salman purge establishes a new model Saudi autocracy

Saudi Arabia is still struggling to digest the implications of the shock purge of the kingdom’s political and business elite ordered by an ever-more dominant Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS) on 4-5 November (see GSN 1,048 Special Report,published on 7 November). It is too soon to say whether these dramatic moves will turn out to be brave or reckless, but a number of long-held assumptions about political, economic and social stability have been demolished. The chances of a significant backlash against the emerging Al-Salman autocracy cannot be ruled out; risk assessments of the kingdom must be reviewed and rebased.

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African Energy - Issue 357 - 09/11/2017

West African states highlight open blocks as costs fall

This year’s Africa Oil Week in Cape Town saw a rash of promotional events by West African states highlighting their exploration opportunities. With oil touching $60, and costs sharply lower following the 2014 price crash, governments are hoping to attract new interest from companies inspired by recent success offshore Senegal and Mauritania, while a ruling by the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea (Itlos) means exploration and development drilling can go ahead in promising areas offshore Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire.

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Gulf States News - Issue 1047 - 02/11/2017

Regional crises test bonds between Dubai and Abu Dhabi

Strains are building up between Abu Dhabi and Dubai, with the commercial hub increasingly irked about the damage being caused to its economy by the Qatar crisis, now entering its fifth month. In public, Dubai has remained noticeably silent about the diplomatic and economic boycott of Qatar by Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, which began on 5 June. However, Dubai Ruler Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum (MBR), who is also federal vice president and prime minister – is said by sources in the UAE to be irritated by Abu Dhabi’s hawkish approach to regional security. With the Qatar crisis about to enter its fifth month, there is a widespread view in Dubai that the situation cannot be allowed to go on forever and a resolution needs to be found.

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African Energy - Issue 356 - 26/10/2017

Shift to oversupply drives PPA price pressure in Egypt

The questions facing electricity sector strategists and their international and local partners have changed dramatically as Egypt has shifted from severe undersupply to oversupply. However, analysis of installed plants and the project pipeline to 2022 and beyond captured by African Energy Live Data suggests the underlying structure of power generation – dominated by state-owned gas-fired plants – will change only slowly, despite the huge amount of extra capacity being added to the system.

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Gulf States News - Issue 1046 - 19/10/2017

Trump’s revised US policy on Iran divides allies and threatens instability

Donald Trump’s decision to turn his harsh rhetoric into a confrontational policy on Iran’s Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear deal was widely expected – in the process undermining another legacy of his predecessor Barack Obama. The US president has gone as far as he could to call the JCPOA into question, but this is still not as far as candidate Trump promised during last year’s election campaign to trash “the worst ever deal”. The US ball is in Congress’s court, leaving the world wondering what his next step might be. Only Iran’s most concerted enemies – who include the staunchest of US allies in the Middle East: the ‘GCC-3’ of Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi and Bahrain, and Israeli prime minister Benyamin Netanyahu – believe they have won out in Trump’s most antagonistic line.

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African Energy - Issue 355 - 12/10/2017

Ethiopia aligns with donors to deliver renewables ambitions

Progress towards drilling for steam by Corbetti Geothermal Company, the launch of tenders for the 100MW Metehara solar photovoltaic (PV) independent power project (IPP) and the World Bank Scaling Solar programme’s requests for developers to prequalify to install 250MW at two sites suggest that Ethiopia is accelerating efforts to diversify its hydro-dominated energy mix and move a key strategic sector onto a market footing.

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Gulf States News - Issue 1045 - 05/10/2017

Kurdish push for statehood throws up fresh quandaries for region

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) is not expected to formally declare independence any time soon, following President Masoud Barzani’s referendum on 25 September – the result is technically non-binding and is the subject of a federal Supreme Court action on its constitutionality. Close observers further told GSN that in any case they believed the KRG had given private assurances to the United States, Iran and other major players that it will not issue a formal declaration of nationhood.

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