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African Energy - Issue 348 - 15/06/2017

Zambia overhauls electricity regime as sector heats up

Acombination of drought, national utility Zesco’s balance sheet, and an alarming bill for electricity sector subsidies has persuaded the Zambian government to push ahead with a radical overhaul of its power sector. Pressure from drought is easing gradually. Energy minister David Mabumba told the National Assembly on 28 March that generation from hydropower had improved, in particular at Kafue Gorge, where available capacity had increased from 630MW to 900MW , of an installed 990MW . He put total available capacity in the country at 1,901MW , plus around 75MW imported from Karpower in Mozambique.

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African Energy - Issue 347 - 01/06/2017

South Africa’s IPP Office to move in institutional reshuffle

Asignificant reshuffle of energy sector institutions is under way in South Africa, centring on the Central Energy Fund (CEF). Among other moves, the Independent Power Producer (IPP) Office will be transferred from the Department of Energy to the CEF , while the Petroleum Agency of South Africa (Pasa) and African Exploration and Mining Corporation will move from the CEF to the Department of Mineral Resources. New energy minister Mmamoloko Kubayi made the announcement during her first budget speech on 19 May.

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African Energy - Issue 346 - 18/05/2017

NOC alleges Wintershall interference in Libyan politics

National Oil Corporation (NOC) chairman Mustafa Sanalla has intensified his conflict with Presidency Council head Fayez Al-Sarraj, alleging that German oil company Wintershall has formed an alliance with the UNbacked Government of National Accord (GNA) and succeeded in influencing the drafting of legislation for its commercial benefit.

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African Energy - Issue 345 - 04/05/2017

South Africa’s High Court rules key nuclear decisions unconstitutional

The South African government suffered a major setback in its efforts to procure nuclear power when the High Court in Cape Town ruled on 26 April that three intergovernmental agreements, two ministerial determinations and all subsequent procurement activity was unlawful and unconstitutional. The decision means that two ministerial determinations – announcements by the energy minister that a certain amount of capacity will be procured from a particular technology – from 2013 and 2016 underpinning the government’s ambitious, and controversial, efforts to procure 9,600MW of nuclear power have been set aside. As a consequence, the request for information which was scheduled to close at the end of April was also ruled unlawful (AE 338/8, 305/6). The role assumed by the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) was again challenged, striking, for the second time since early 2016, at the uncomfortable balancing act the regulator has attempted since it was established in 2004 between political considerations and quasi-independence.

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African Energy - Issue 344 - 20/04/2017

On the night of 30-31 March, President Jacob Zuma announced the momentous decision that he was firing respected finance minister Pravin Gordhan, along with nine others from the 35-member cabinet, among them energy minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson. Gordhan was replaced by Malusi Gigaba, an experienced politician considered to be a Zuma supporter.

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African Energy - Issue 343 - 30/03/2017

Controversial outsider brought in to galvanise Algeria’s Sonatrach

On 20 March, Noureddine Bouterfa announced that he had dismissed Sonatrach chairman and chief executive (PDG) Amine Mazouzi following a meeting of the company’s board. In his place he appointed Abdelmoumen Ould Kaddour, the former PDG of Brown & Root Condor (BRC) who almost exactly a decade ago was being held under court supervision pending further inquiries into a major corruption scandal at BRC, then a joint venture between Sonatrach and Halliburton. Sonatrach squashed the controversy by buying out its US partner as part of a damage limitation exercise. It appears that Kaddour was never tried for any crime.

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African Energy - Issue 342 - 16/03/2017

Power Africa architects confident despite US policy uncertainty

Both Putting America First and Making America Great again were mentioned by US speakers at the Powering Africa Summit in Washington on 9-10 March. Congressman Ed Royce, who is chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and a central force behind the Electrify Africa Act alongside former Republican staffer Nilmini Rubin, now vice-president for investment at engineering services company Tetra Tech, said that Africa had “great potential” to be a trade partner and to create jobs in Africa and the United States. Power Africa head Andrew Herscowitz said Power Africa was “the model of development” because it was market-led and had a very limited cost to the taxpayer.

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African Energy - Issue 341 - 02/03/2017

Commercial risks overshadow Rosneft’s new North Africa gambit

National Oil Corporation (NOC) chairman Mustafa Sanalla and Rosneft chairman Igor Sechin met in London on 20 February. An NOC statement said the agreement they signed “envisages the establishment of a joint working committee… to evaluate opportunities in a variety of sectors, including exploration and production”. The companies also signed a crude oil offtake agreement.

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African Energy - Issue 340 - 16/02/2017

Norway’s BW Offshore takes on Namibia’s Kudu gas scheme

Norway’s BW Offshore has formalised an agreement to take a 56% stake in the Kudu licence and develop the project to a final investment decision (FID) expected in Q4 2017. Past operators, including Tullow Oil and Royal Dutch Shell, have failed to develop the gas field, but BW says falling development and contractor costs now make the project more feasible. However, questions remain over the size of the reserves, and the development’s ability to compete with low-cost US shale gas imports.

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African Energy - Issue 339 - 02/02/2017

Tunisia legislates to stimulate upstream investment and retain bigger players

As Tunisia’s new administration beds in, Entreprise Tunisienne d’Activités Pétrolières (Etap) is looking beyond its traditional status as an under-resourced department of government to take a more hands-on role in oil and gas development, underpinned by revisions to the hydrocarbons code that are calculated to stimulate an upsurge in foreign investment. The revised law is scheduled for National Assembly approval later this year, and officials are confident the amendments will pass following two years of work to overcome resistance from parliament and civil society activists. However, there is little certainty in Tunisia’s young democracy.

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African Energy Gulf States Newsletter