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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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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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African Energy - Issue 400 - 27/09/2019

Angola launches Namibe Basin bid round as new agency pursues sector reform

Angola has announced details of a forthcoming licensing round offering blocks in the Namibe and Benguela basins. The round is the first outing for the new Agência Nacional de Petróleo, Gás e Biocombustíveis (ANPG), created from splitting Sonangol’s roles as concessionaire and equity holder, and a first test for whether last year’s reforms to the country’s oil and gas laws can attract new licensing interest.

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African Energy - Issue 399 - 12/09/2019

Currency shifts begin to affect business in Côte d’Ivoire and beyond

The postponement of an infill drilling programme to expand production from the offshore Espoir field on Block CI-26 raised concerns in the industry when Canadian Natural Resources (CNR) announced the move in early August. In its Q2 2019 results statement, the Calgary-based operator said the postponement was “due to ongoing discussions with the government” and that the drilling programme would be “cancelled until such time as foreign exchange practices can be clarified”.

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African Energy - Issue 398 - 29/08/2019

Electricity supply boost will light up power struggle in Guinea

As generators hum into action and power cuts intensify during the dry season, it seems hard to believe that providing electricity to the population in Conakry and other urban centres will be a major selling point when, as is widely expected, President Alpha Condé launches his campaign to win a third term in 2020. But the pace of recent generation and transmission projects supports the view of many Conakry residents that ‘power is coming’. This is reflected in an upturn in business for the local agent of Turkish company Arçelik’s Beko brand and other white goods suppliers, offering fridges and other goods to consumers who do not yet have stable electricity supply but expect it to come very soon.

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African Energy - Issue 397 - 25/07/2019

Cautious optimism as Angola brings in wide-ranging energy reforms

There has been material progress reforming Angola’s opaque and nepotistic energy sector over the past year. Considerable work has gone into crafting new power sector regulations, and there have been notable changes to upstream licensing and the role of state oil and gas giant Sonangol, as well as important reforms to the downstream hydrocarbons sector. Investors and analysts canvassed by African Energy were impressed by the extent of the changes, although plenty of problems remain to be resolved.

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African Energy - Issue 396 - 11/07/2019

Pace of generation expansion slows in Q1

Th e first quarter of 2019 saw a net addition of 1,097MW of on-grid capacity in Africa, the lowest increase – calculated on an annualised basis – since 2011, the first set of quarterly figures to be produced by African Energy Live Data show. If the captive plants and mini-grids that Live Data is aware of are included, the net addition of 1,123MW was the lowest since 2008. Quarterly averages were used for comparison due to uncertainty about the exact commercial operations dates of some historic power plants.

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African Energy - Issue 395 - 27/06/2019

Instability in Ethiopia could undermine power sector reform

Ef forts to encourage private investment in power were under way in Ethiopia before Abiy Ahmed became prime minister in April 2018, but it is only since he assumed office and launched wide-ranging political and economic reform that a credible programme has emerged.

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African Energy - Issue 394 - 13/06/2019

Management of Algeria’s economy under populist/nationalist pressure

The announcement by interim President Abdelkader Bensalah that Algeria will not, after all, hold a presidential election on 4 July points to many more months of political unpredictability. Protests remain largely peaceful, but there is a growing prospect of turmoil as a ruling elite led by deputy defence minister and army chief of staff Lieutenant General Ahmed Gaïd Salah seeks to outflank a popular protest movement whose leadership remains defined by its anonymity (AE 391/1, 388/1).

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African Energy - Issue 393 - 30/05/2019

Mobisol and Solarkiosk insolvencies highlight risk in off-grid

Solar home systems (SHS) pioneer Mobisol has entered self-administered insolvency proceedings at the District Court of Charlottenburg in Berlin. The move announced on 18 April gives the management three months to turn the company around and conclude negotiations with prospective investors that began at the start of the year. Mobisol has been operating since 2011.

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African Energy Gulf States Newsletter