The Buzz: This Week in Africa

At the close of this week Brent Crude is trading at $56.83 per barrel, WTI at $53.88 per barrel and natural gas at $3.14 per million BTU (beginning of day 03 February 2017). Here are AOP’s top five stories from the last seven days.

South Sudan extends oil contracts

South Sudan, on a mission to boost its production for 2017 despite continued conflict, extended oil exploration and production contracts for Malaysia’s Petronas, the China National Petroleum Corporation and India’s Oil and Natural Gas Corporation by five years, according to The East African. The country also extended its agreement with Sudan to transport oil to Port Sudan for export.

Oil production in South Sudan has declined from about 350,000 barrels per day in 2011 to about 130,000 barrels per day, because of civil war and internal conflicts.

Mozambique gas projects make headway

The National Petroleum Institute (INP) of Mozambique awarded three contracts to develop gas reserves in the offshore Rovuma Basin for a range of projects including power plants and fertilizers. The government, which wanted a portion of the gas to be used domestically, opened the tender in August 2016 and 14 companies submitted proposals for domestic uses of the gas, according to ESI Africa.

Shell Mozambique is set to develop a power project of 50-80 MW; Yara plans to develop fertilizers and a 30-50 MW power plant and GL Energy Africa will commission a 250 MW power plant.

Explosion shuts Ghana’s sole refinery

Ghana’s Teme Oil Refinery shut down Friday after an explosion at the crude distillation unit, according to News Ghana. No one was reported to be killed in the incident. The €5.8-million crude oil heating unit had been newly installed, and the plant will restart after reconfiguration through a second furnace. Capacity is expected to drop from 45,000 barrels per day to 30,000 barrels per day when the plant is reopened.

Nigeria to make payments to ex-militants in Niger Delta

Plagued by attacks on its oil and gas infrastructure in the Niger Delta since 2016, the Nigerian government announced this week it will pay all overdue cash stipends to former militants. Some militants were granted amnesty in 2009, but have threatened to resume attacks if the cash payments are not made. Nigerian officials are seeking a solution to the violence, which brought production down by around 700,000 barrels per day in mid 2016.

Rwanda creates new natural resources agencies

The Rwanda Natural Resources Authority will be scrapped and replaced by three independent government agencies focused on oil and gas; minerals; and land, water and forestry, according to The New Times. The bill authorizing the changes was passed this week, and is part of an overall government effort to maximize exploration and production of minerals, oil and gas. The new agencies are expected to be more focused on their respective missions, officials said.