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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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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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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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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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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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African Energy - Issue 354 - 28/09/2017

Algeria plans hydrocarbons law revisions but opposition to shale remains

Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia’s government is expected to revise the hydrocarbons law, which was passed in 2005 (Law 05-07) as a liberal document drawn up by then energy minister Chakib Khelil, but was then revised to take on a much more nationalist tone. Another revision, in 2013, disappointed international oil companies (IOCs) looking for more reasons to invest in Algeria, where IOC participation is restricted to 49% of a project’s equity and other terms are seen to strongly favour the government. While radical changes are not anticipated – the ‘51/49 rule’ is expected to remain in place – the government is expected to take a more pragmatic approach to attract upstream investment.

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African Energy - Issue 353 - 14/09/2017

Symbion revives Mandroseza plant as Madagascar woos investors

The government is looking to revitalise bedraggled utility Jiro sy Rany Malagasy (Jirama) and attract investment to help reach its goal of generating 85% of power from renewables by 2030. But some of the signals given out by President Hery Rajaonarimampianina ahead of the 2018 elections have political analysts concerned.

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African Energy - Issue 352 - 10/08/2017

As dos Santos retires, Angola sticks with mega-projects to promise brighter future

Critics abroad and poorer Angolans may question where billions of dollars of oil revenues have gone in past decades, but the ruling Movimento Popular de Libertação de Angola (MPLA) prefers to trumpet its successes in the run-up to parliamentary elections on 23 August that will surely consecrate defence minister João Manuel Gonçalves Lourenço as successor to President José Eduardo dos Santos. The government, forced to cut spending and borrow heavily as oil prices slumped to levels far below its budget calculations, is telling voters a better future beckons, with the announcement of progress on a string of new large hydroelectric power schemes (HEPs) and other infrastructure.

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African Energy - Issue 351 - 27/07/2017

Nigeria updates gas policy, but ability to deliver is key

With cabinet approval for a comprehensive new National Gas Policy (NGP) and ministers proposing other initiatives to drive the economy out of recession and improve living standards for the majority of Nigeria’s 186m population, President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration promises to implement genuine reforms that could eventually confirm Nigeria’s claim to become a major emerging market. Properly implemented, the NGP and associated policies could open the way for a functioning electricity supply industry to emerge. This would be driven by gas-fired generation plants and privately owned distributors who would benefit from a more transparent, efficient gas industry. As ever, everything depends on whether policy commitments can be implemented.

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African Energy - Issue 350 - 13/07/2017

Tanzania legislates for resources firms to pay more or face the consequences

Aperennial issue in Tanzanian politics and business – the extent to which the East African state is exploited by international capital and should reap bigger yields from its natural resources – returned with a vengeance when, on 4 July, the National Assembly unanimously passed three laws covering natural resources investment. Tabled on 29 June, the ‘urgent status’ legislation will support President John Pombe Magufuli’s efforts to force energy and mining companies to give Tanzania a better deal – a cornerstone of his government’s populist appeal.

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African Energy Gulf States Newsletter