The Buzz: This Week in Africa

At the close of this week Brent Crude is trading at $55.66 per barrel, WTI at $52.53 per barrel and natural gas at $3.32 per million BTU (beginning of day 07 April 2017). Here are AOP’s top five stories from the last seven days.

Gunvor, Vitol post profits for 2016

Gunvor Group and Vitol, two of the world’s largest independent traders active in Africa, posted strong profits in 2016, following record profit years in 2015.

Vitol, the largest independent trader, saw a profit jump in 2016, posting a net income of $2 billion for 2016, up from $1.6 billion in 2015. The company, however, noted that the results were unaudited, according to the Financial Times.

Gunvor Group reported a net profit of $315 million for 2016, down 75 percent from the net profit of $1.25 billion recorded in 2015. The company saw its oil, natural gas and coal volumes grow to 187 million metric tonnes in 2016, as compared to 180 million metric tonnes in 2015.

Traders took advantage of the oil price volatility starting in 2014 and raked in record profits. But as the oil price stablizes, these record profits are coming to a close. New data released this week shows that crude oil stored on supertankers to wait out low oil prices is down 16 percent this year.

Tanzania launches energy platform to boost development

Tanzania’s Minister for Energy and Minerals Sospeter Muhongo launched a platform this week aimed at developing renewable and gas-powered energy through investment in research and training of professionals.

The Tanzania Energy Platform will provide trainings to locals among other initiatives, with a goal to have all Tanzanians connected to electricity by 2030.

Nigeria’s oil production down

Nigeria, Africa’s top oil and gas producer, has struggled to maintain its top spot since 2016, when militants in the Niger Delta began an aggressive campaign to attack oil and gas installations. However, negotiations between the government and the militants have been progressing and the attacks have lessened, according to The Guardian.

Still, the country’s oil production fell from 2 million barrels per day in February to 1.6 million barrels per day in March. The Ministry of Petroleum Resources said the fall was due to repair work on the Bonga Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO), which has a capacity of 250,000 bpd.

The government is still short of its 2.2 million barrels per day goal, with the instability in the Niger Delta region undermining efforts to boost production.

Kenya pushes for oil, gas transparency

Civil organizations in Kenya are pushing the Kenyan government to make public oil, gas and mining contracts signed with private companies, citing a need for increased public scrutiny and transparency, according to The East African.

The Kenya Civil Society Platform on Oil and Gas made the request to Charles Keter, the Energy Cabinet Secretary, and Dan Kazungu, the Mining Cabinet Secretary.

Lekoil signs MoU with GE Oil & Gas for Nigeria project

Nigeria-based Lekoil Limited has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with GE Oil & Gas to develop the Ogo field, located in offshore Nigeria, according to Rigzone.

The MoU stipulates that Lekoil will use the expertise and equipment from GE Oil & Gas. Lekoil is also still seeking partners to finance the appraisal program. After appraisal and in the event of positive well results, GE Oil & Gas, Lekoil and funding partners plan to invest in the development of the capital project.

Drilling is expected by the end of 2017.