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African Energy - Issue 405 - 05/12/2019

Libya’s NOC defies uncertainty with bold investment plan

National Oil Corporation (NOC) chairman Mustafa Sanalla has unveiled a $60bn five-year investment plan to increase crude oil production from 1.25m b/d now to 2.1m b/d by 2024 and gas output to 3.5 bcf/d. Speaking at the Libyan British Business Council in Tunis on 26 November, he said that LYD15bn ($10.5bn) would come from state budgets and the remaining 80% from strategic investors.

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Gulf States News - Issue 1093 - 28/11/2019

Kuwait political system gets a reboot following cabinet resignation

The resignation of the Kuwaiti cabinet on 14 November (GSN 1,092/4) looks ever less likely to signal the start of yet another crisis in local politics. Instead it has given Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah the chance to reshape a cabinet that had become dysfunctional amid allegations of corruption involving a senior member of the ruling family. Local sources tell GSN the removal of interior minister Sheikh Khaled Jarrah Al-Sabah in particular offers an opportunity for a long-term restructuring of power within government.

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African Energy - Issue 404 - 21/11/2019

Petroleum bill set for release as South Africa government mulls gas options

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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Gulf States News - Issue 1092 - 19/11/2019

Iran’s regional influence comes under scrutiny as protests in Iraq turn violent

Iraq scored a notable victory over Iran on 14 November, albeit only on the football pitch in Amman, Jordan, where Usood Al-Rafidain (the Lions of Mesopotamia) won a World Cup qualifier over the much higher ranked Team Melli by two goals to one. The game was played in a neutral location due to security concerns around the original venue in Basra, where anti-government protests have continued through early November, as they have across much of Iraq. Fans’ celebrations were informed as much by events at home as on the pitch in Jordanian capital, with Iran seen by a growing number of Iraqis as exercising an unwarranted degree of influence over their government. Large crowds watching the game on screens in Tahrir Square, Baghdad saw Iraqi players cover their faces after scoring, in reference to the teargas used against demonstrators.

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African Energy - Issue 403 - 07/11/2019

The United States’ Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) on 23 October withdrew $190m of grant funding to Ghana, the same day the government formally began the process of cancelling a concession agreement between the state-owned Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) and Power Distribution Services Ghana Ltd (PDS). The cancellation follows controversy over the validity of payment securities provided by PDS as part of the transaction (AE 402/10, 398/15).

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Gulf States News - Issue 1091 - 31/10/2019

Doubts about Crown Prince Nawaf’s health spur talk of change in Kuwaiti succession

The return of Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber AlSabah to Kuwait after an extended period of medical checks in New York appears to have settled some nerves about the immediate succession (GSN 1,090/7). Notwithstanding his health issues, the 90-year-old emir appears in relatively good shape for his age. However, succession is set to remain a live issue, particularly given fresh doubts about Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah’s future as heir apparent. GSN’s soundings suggest the succession to Sheikh Sabah may skip a generation, but keep power within the emir’s nuclear family. GSN understands that the emir’s halfbrother Sheikh Nawaf is highly unlikely to succeed given his own health issues. Sources suggest that the emir’s 71-year-old son, defence minister and deputy prime minister Sheikh Nasser Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah, is now most likely to step up to fill any potential vacancy, but formal decisions have yet to be made.

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African Energy - Issue 402 - 24/10/2019

Quiet spell in African generation growth continues into Q2

The second quarter of 2019 saw 1.8GW of generation capacity added to the grid in Africa. This was a notable increase on Q1, which saw the slowest growth this decade when compared with quarterly averages from previous years. However, 794MW resulted from a unit coming online at the long-delayed Medupi coal power plant in South Africa, which has been bringing online new units periodically since 2015 and has been under construction since 2007.

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Gulf States News - Issue 1090 - 17/10/2019

Abu Dhabi-Dubai ties under pressure from regional instability and economic doldrums

The relationship between Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and UAE Armed Forces deputy supreme commander Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan (MBZ) and Dubai Ruler, federal Vice President and prime minister Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum (MBR) is inevitably complex, with many of its working parts hidden from public view and shielded by a cloak of lèse-majesté. Ties that have bonded the two leaders in creating in the emirates a global pole of commercial achievement and influence have long played a positive role in the region.

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African Energy - Issue 401 - 10/10/2019

Ke nya has long been one of the most open markets in subSaharan Africa, but private investors in the country’s power sector are not having an easy ride. Power tariffs are being pushed downwards, with the most recent solar power purchase agreements (PPAs), signed earlier this year, reaching $0.075/kWh, despite government support for payments from the utilities it controls being steadily diluted. Companies frequently find policymaking opaque and must contend with unexpected rule changes and the endless renegotiation of documentation. Owners of thermal peaking plants have been threatened with tariff renegotiations, while the government has asked the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority to ensure the plants are not used unless absolutely necessary.

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Gulf States News - Issue 1089 - 03/10/2019

US President Donald Trump’s lack of enthusiasm for backing up his heated anti-Iranian rhetoric with meaningful military resources, even in the wake of last month’s attack on the Abqaiq oil facilities in Saudi Arabia, appears to be a key underlying factor in renewed efforts from within the region to de-escalate tensions. Trump has taken heed of trusted media voices that a Middle East war now would torpedo his re-election chances, while the two main regional protagonists, Iran and Saudi Arabia, are both in positions of relative weakness.

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