The Buzz – This Week in Africa

At the beginning of the week, Brent Crude is trading at $66.65 per barrel, WTI at $58.29 and natural gas at $2.81 per million BTU (at 17:09, 15 March 2019, South Africa). Here are AOP’s top  stories from the last seven days.


Algeria dominated headlines this week with various developments within the oil and gas industry, leading with national oil company Sonatrach’s landmark drilling announcement.

Algeria to launch first ever offshore drilling

Last week Algeria’s national oil company, Sonatrach, announced that it would commence offshore drilling on the eastern coast between Bejaia and Skikda for the first time in its history.
Initial results from the on-going 2D seismic campaign suggest geological similarities between the east coast and Egypt’s Zohr field. Located in the Mediterranean Sea, the Zohr gas field is said to contain 30 trillion cubic meters of natural gas.

Last October, Sonatrach signed its first ever contracts for offshore exploration, marking a new stage in its bid to increase hydrocarbon production.

Algeria to develop Ain Tsila gas field

An engineering, procurement and construction contract was signed on Wednesday by an operating joint venture between Groupement Isarene and UAE-based Petrofac International LLC for the development of the Ain Tsila gas field, located in the Illizi basin, Algeria. The deal will see the joint venture build a natural gas processing plant and a 125-megawatt power plant.
Located around 1,100 km south-east of Algiers, Ain Tsila will produce dry gas, liquid petroleum gas and condensate for both the local market and to export. Abdelkrim Berrachiche, Project Manager for Algeria’s national oil company Sonatrach, stated that the Ain Tsila field was discovered in the Isarene licensed blocks 228 and 229a in 2007.


Ministers of petroleum discuss upstream in Africa

This week during a panel session at CERAWeek, the key African ministers of petroleum and government officials debated that Africa is emerging from the downturn and is ready to play ball — offering licensing rounds, opening up regulations, addressing security issues and focusing on transparency. The overarching response from the panel was that African governments are in the right position to compete for a more limited pool of upstream capital.

U.S. energy exports see steady growth

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA) annual oil markets report, released Monday during CERAWeek, the United States (U.S.) accounts for 70 percent of the total increase in global capacity of oil and gas through 2024 – an unprecedented growth from a nation that was just 10 years ago a net importer of oil and gas.

Fatih Birol, the Executive Director of the IEA, said that the U.S. has not only transformed nearly overnight from a net importer of oil and gas to achieving energy independence but is also about to be a leading exporter.


Baker Hughes, McDermott secure Greater Tortue Ahmeyim contracts

At the beginning of the week McDermott International and Baker Hughes, a GE company (BHGE) announced that they would collaborate on ensuring efficiencies, synergies and enhanced delivery times on the Greater Tortue Ahmeyim project, offshore Mauritania and Senegal. The announcement was made after oil and gas major, BP, awarded McDermott and BHGE the subsea equipment contracts for the natural gas project.


ENI makes Angola’s largest offshore discovery

The Italian oil and gas major ENI announced on Wednesday that the largest discovery in years has been made at Block 15/06 offshore Angola, after drilling the Agogo-1 NFW well.
This new Agogo prospect in Angola’s deep waters – comprised of 450 million to 650 million barrels of light oil – has the potential to improve the country’s position within the industry, with data from the exploration well pointing to a production capacity of more than 20,000 barrels of oil per day.


Exceed hired for Guinea Bissau’s first deepwater well

A $4 million contract to drill the first deepwater well off the Coast of Guinea Bissau, West Africa has been secured by well management specialist, Exceed.

Swedish operator, Svenska Petroleum Exploration, awarded the year-long contract after Exceed assisted Svenska with its first well project offshore the Republic of the Gambia in 2018. Svenska operates three offshore blocks in Guinea Bissau, with total prospective resources estimated at 954 million barrels of oil equivalent.


Burkina Faso to increase electricity coverage

The European Union and French Development Agency signed a $51 million deal with Burkina Faso last week to support the construction of power transmission lines from Nigeria to Burkina Faso. The Dorsale Nord project will allow Burkina Faso to import 150 megawatts of power to be added to local production, which is estimated to be 50 percent cheaper than the current production cost.

The project features 880km of high-voltage transmission lines from Birnin Kebi in Nigeria to Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso. The project is part of Burkina Faso’s National Economic and Social Development Plan, launched in 2016. The plan aims to diversify the country’s energy mix by increasing power imports and promoting the use of renewable energy in the country.


World Bank to boost offshore wind energy

Plans to launch a new program aimed at fast-tracking offshore wind energy in developing countries – like South Africa – was announced by the World Bank on Monday.
The $5 million program, led by the World Bank’s Energy Sector Management Assistance Program, was initiated after a $26 million grant from the UK government to help low- and middle-income countries implement environmentally sustainable energy solutions.

The International Finance Corporation will join the group in helping emerging markets assess their offshore wind potential, providing technical assistance to develop projects that are ready for investment by renewable energy investors.


Fuel consumption drops by over 20 percent in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe fuel consumption has declined by 35 million liters as a result of President Emmerson Mnangagwa announcing a fuel price increase of 150 percent according to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor, John Mangudya. Fuel consumption dropped from 165 million liters of fuel per month to 130 million liters per month.


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