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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 - Issue 392 - 16/05/2019

Zambia’s Zesco seeks to renegotiate power tariffs with IPPs

State power utility Zesco is seeking to renegotiate its power purchase agreements with independent power producers (IPPs) in an effort to curb its ballooning debt. At end-April 2019, Zesco owed IPPs about $680m, and the company says low power tariffs mean it has little hope of reducing the burden.

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African Energy - Issue 391 - 02/05/2019

Ould Kaddour sacked as Algerian regime seeks to show commitment to change

Abdelmoumen Ould Kaddour was dismissed as head of state energy giant Sonatrach on 23 April, to be replaced by head of production Rachid Hachichi. Respected as an industry professional but widely distrusted for his links to the now discredited Bouteflika clan, and especially his ties to the politically ambitious former energy minister Chakib Khelil, Ould Kaddour’s position was in doubt even before Abdelaziz Bouteflika departed the presidency (AE 390/18, 388/3). His removal was announced by the interim president, Abdelkader Bensalah, as the remaining leadership – in which deputy defence minister and army chief of staff Lieutenant General Ahmed Gaïd Salah continues to play a leading role (AE 388/1) – sought to show protesters that the regime is capable of change.

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African Energy - Issue 390 - 18/04/2019

Equatorial Guinea takes hard line on Zafiro extension

While minister of mines and hydrocarbons Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima is clearly in a hurry to bring more oil and gas resources into production and to raise the profile of his country within the global hydrocarbons industry, he is also holding out for the best deals he can get. Market speculation is focused on a prospective deal for London-based independent Trident Energy – which is led by former Perenco executives and describes itself as an expert in reviving mid-life oil and gas assets – to take over ExxonMobil’s Zafiro oil and gas field, which started production in 1996. Production levels are declining and Exxon’s contract expires in 2023.

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African Energy Gulf States Newsletter