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Monday, 30 June 2014

Ghana confident it can reach 5,000 MW by 2016

Ghana’s current installed electricity generation capacity is 2,845 MW and the country’s government is confident this can reach 5,000 MW by 2016. The West African country, like many emerging economies, struggles to produce enough power to satisfy growing demand from business and consumers.
Within weeks, Ghana may resolve a court order to halt building at a gas facility for a pipeline designed to process gas from the offshore Jubilee oilfield and make the pipeline functional by the end of the year, deputy energy minister John Jinapor said to Reuters at the African Energy Forum held this year in Turkey. The US$650 million project has been delayed repeatedly, curbing the country’s oil production capacity.
“We are confident that by the end of the year, the gas pipeline will be functional,” Jinapor said, extending a previous timetable for completion recently set for September.
A high court in Ghana’s western region had ordered the state-run Ghana National Gas Company (Ghana Gas) to stop construction at the plant until the government pays compensation for land to local chiefs.
The government hopes that the gas project’s completion will boost power supply and help reduce spending on light crude imports for thermal power generation.

Friday, 27 June 2014

Power ships to be built for Ghana

Turkish power-ship maker Karadeniz Holding is to provide two electricity-generating vessels to Ghana in a 10 year supply deal. Karadeniz builds what are effectively floating power stations which plug into electricity grids after berthing. They run on fuel oil but can use natural gas as an alternative.
The Ghana investment is Karadeniz Holding’s first in Africa. It already produces electricity for Iraq and Lebanon, through part of its fleet of seven power ships with a combined capacity of 1,100 MW.
“There is an electricity shortage of around 100,000 MW in Africa that needs to be fulfilled urgently. This investment needs to be done,” Karadeniz chairman Orhan Karadeniz says.
Home to some of the leading mineral and oil producers, the African continent is chronically short of electricity and is heavily reliant on diesel imports for power generation. “In addition, the countries in that region have plenty of oil and gas reserves. As these reserves come into production, and the countries get richer, the demand for electricity would rise rapidly.”
The power ships, which are typically converted freighters or other vessels, are aimed at serving mainly developing countries with inadequate onshore infrastructure to cover shortfalls in their electricity supply. The agreement between Karadeniz and the state-run Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) includes the direct supply of 450 MW of electricity to Ghana’s grid every year.
“We can extend this 10 year deal by another 10 years. We can even sell electricity to neighbouring countries through Ghana,” Karadeniz says.
The first ship is scheduled to be delivered to Ghana early in 2015, while the second vessel was planned to be shipped within a year. Karadeniz says the company is building two more ships which would bring total capacity to over 1,500 MW within a year.

Thursday, 26 June 2014

KIVA Loan Facilitates Growth of POWERGEN Micro-grids in Off-Grid Communities around Kenya

PowerGen, is a renewable energy company operating in Kenya to facilitate access to energy for off-grid communities. Originally through solar and wind solutions and now micro-grids, they are allowing communities to benefit from energy access as well as assisting to secure finance for its installation.

Working with GVEP’s advisory services team has enabled PowerGen to source and secure project-level capital and win a $47,000 grant from the KCIC ( Kenya Climate Innovation Centre). This capital will be pivotal to the expansion of PowerGen’s pilot micro-grid sites across Kenya, allowing for the creation of two additional micro-grids. PowerGen has been utilising KIVA, an online lending platform operating in over 70 countries to connect lenders with entrepreneurs in need of capital, to raise funding for their growing pipeline of micro-grid sites. The Advisory Services team supported PowerGen to raise their first loan on KIVA, for the construction of a micro-grid in Ololailumitia village.

Raising capital for micro-grids in Kenya is a challenging process and often presents many barriers and constraints due to government restrictions and rigid policies. Most projects of this nature require a significant up-front payment, which is rarely feasible for many communities wishing to install clean technologies or equally for young enterprises with limited capital.

Through a KIVA loan, PowerGen have turned their concept into a reality; a functioning micro-grid, providing power for lighting, TV, refrigeration and also a medical clinic. They raised $9,700 in just 48 hours, indicating both the high level of interest in the concept and also the influence this type of lending platform has.

The Ololailumitia community, located on the edge of the Maasai Mara has a representative; Sammy, whose land houses the micro-grid, he liaises with the PowerGen team and the customers wanting to buy and use electricity from the micro-grid. A connection contract is signed between PowerGen and their customers explaining that they will be able to use the electricity produced from the micro-grid by paying for their energy consumption. The fee will be used to pay back the KIVA loan and also includes the cost of regular services and maintenance for the micro-grid.

One resident in the village, Elizabeth, has used the new energy source to improve her hairdressing business which she had previously run using an old, noisy and expensive diesel generator. Elizabeth now invites customers to enjoy her generator-free salon, saving customer’s long and expensive journeys to neighbouring towns, and herself money on fuel to power the generator. The micro-grid has been so successful that after being installed in March 2014 it was extended to generate more energy and meet demand in April. Furthermore, a second KIVA loan has enabled PowerGen to install a third micro-grid in the neighbouring village of Nkoilal, they have plans for a fourth in July.

‘It’s great to see PowerGen capitalising on a fantastic lending platform like KIVA. Having a successful set of pilots will attract more investment in the future and enable micro-grids to be deployed in off-grid communities throughout East Africa’ explains Davinia Cogan, SME Advisor.

PowerGen has designed a seven year loan plan with KIVA, on behalf of community members. The Advisory Services team has been providing advice on structuring the loan, and carried out site visits to ensure that future micro-grid installations are utilised to optimum levels and that there is enough demand. Furthermore they are working with PowerGen to boost their visibility in the mini-grid sector.

GVEP’s Advisory Services team provides technical, financial, and operational support to small and growing businesses. The team was established through a grant from Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), and comprises of experienced professionals who bring experience in energy, impact, and project finance, entrepreneurship, engineering, project development, and management consulting.

Posted by Meghan Smith

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

The 3rd East Africa Oil and Gas Summit and Exhibition

Event Title: The 3rd East Africa Oil and Gas Summit and Exhibition

Date: 15 – 17 October 2013

Event Venue: KICC, Nairobi, Kenya


Tweeter: @EAOGS, #EAOGS

Linkedin: East Africa Oil & Gas Investment

The 3rd East Africa Oil and Gas Summit and Exhibition (EAOGS) is taking place on the 15-17 October in Nairobi at the KICC in Nairobi. EAOGS was launched in 2012 as an official initiative of the Ministry of Energy & Petroleum and more than 300 companies from 42 countries have participated in the event since its inception. 
EAOGS annually provides a platform for East African Ministries and the National Oil companies to engage with international and local investors to examine the vast opportunities across East Africa. At the request of the Kenyan government, the 3rd EAOGS has been expanded to include a large trade exhibition where companies can display their latest products and services to their key target audience of oil and gas decision makers from around the world.

The EAOGS exhibition is set to welcome over 2000 visitors from across the oil and gas supply chain and an unprecedented number of new enquiries have been received from companies keen to exhibit and take advantage of the networking opportunities on offer to secure new business across East Africa. Companies who have already reserved their stands include; Afren , NOC Kenya, Simba Energy, Astral Aviation, SMTS, Tullow, Barclays, Fortuna Drilling, DNV-GL, Afex Group, National Oilwell Varco, ITT Bornemann, Merrick, Spica Inspections, Dangerous Good Management, A2E, KPM and the Chinese Pavilion among many others. The latest exhibitor list and floor plan can be found on the event website  

2014 Sponsors include ABS, Africa Oil Corp, CFC Stanbic Bank, MRDC, Zakhem, AECOM and Halliburton with new sponsors being announced every week.

The Exhibition will feature exhibition showcases and an opening tour on October 15th with VIP guests from the Ministry of Energy & Petroleum. The networking programme will include a welcome drinks reception and exhibition tour, a cocktail drinks reception and gala dinner as well as providing networking opportunities throughout the summit during the conference lunches and coffee breaks. 

The programme will feature a 2 day strategic conference with senior government and industry speakers from across East Africa and internationally. On the final day conference delegates will have the opportunity to take part in round table country focus sessions where delegates can engage directly with the countries that are of specific interest to them. Participating countries will be represented by ministry and national oil company officials who are best placed to brief delegates on the status of projects and opportunities available. Countries represented include Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda.

The conference is a paid entry event and the price is $2350 per delegate. The Exhibition is free to visit for industry professionals and all visitors need to pre-register on the event website

For more enquiries contact:
Rosie Topp 

Direct Line: + 44 20 3488 1193

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Botswana may mimic Sasol’s synfuels

Botswana will consider setting up a coal-to-liquid fuels industry to exploit the southern African country’s resources and cut its annual import bill by about 3 billion pula ($338 million), the chamber of mines said.
“It’s not rocket science,” Charles Siwawa, chief executive officer of the Botswana Chamber of Mines, said yesterday in an interview in Gaborone, where he is attending a conference on resources.
The chamber, along with the Ministry of Minerals and Botswana Investment and Trade Centre, will conduct a feasibility study over the next two years for the project, which would boost industries from fertilisers to plastics, Siwawa said.
He cited South Africa’s Sasol, the world’s biggest maker of motor fuels from coal, as the benchmark for any initiative.
“We’ve taken a strategic decision not to pursue any new coal-to-liquids opportunities,” Alex Anderson, a spokesman for Johannesburg-based Sasol, said by phone.
“Our focus is purely on gas liquids.”
Sasol, which produces more than 40 percent of South Africa’s motor fuel, uses coal-to-fuel technology first employed by Nazi scientists and refined by apartheid-era engineers.
Botswana has an estimated coal resources of more than 200 billion metric tons and plans to ship 115 million tons of the fuel per year within a decade to meet growing demand in China and India.
Siwawa said the chamber is pushing the governments of Botswana and Namibia to expedite the construction of the 1,500-kilometre (932-mile) Trans-Kalahari railway linking the landlocked country’s biggest coal-mining region with the port of Walvis Bay in Namibia.
 Copper Smelter
 A March agreement between Botswana and Namibia established a jointly owned company to administer the development of the $15 billion railway line by private investors.
Botswana also plans to study the potential for adding value to its copper and iron-ore mining operations as it tries to lure foreign investors, Siwawa said.
With five copper producers in the country, there is the potential for a combined smelter that would produce copper rods for export, he said.
Botswana’s iron-ore mines may be capable of supporting a steel industry, Siwawa said. - Bloomberg News

Tullow & Africa Oil announce fresh oil and gas finds in Northern Kenya

British exploration firm Tullow Oil has discovered fresh oil and natural gas deposits even as its Canadian partner Africa Oil also announced that it had discovered gas at another site in northern Kenya.

Tullow has discovered 39 metres of net oil pay and 11 metres of net gas pay Ngamia-2 well which is 1.7 kilometres away from the Ngamia-1, the site of the country’s maiden find in early 2012.
Africa Oil, on the other hand, has discovered gas deposits in a 1,000 metre range at the Sala-1 site, adding that it will commence tests to ascertain the exact deposit amount and its viability.
The two discoveries, which come just a week after Australia’s Pancontinental Oil and Gas NL discovered oil in the Lamu Basin, collectively inch Kenya close to commercial production of both oil and gas.
“The success of the Ngamia-2 exploratory appraisal well builds on our major basin opening discovery well, Ngamia-1,” said Angus McCoss, the exploration director for Tullow Oil plc.
“The reservoirs were of similar quality and the well will be suspended for testing. With five rigs drilling in Kenya and Ethiopia, there is much to look forward to in the second half of the year."
Mr McCoss added that the rig has now been moved to continue drilling up to four more appraisal wells in the Ngamia area.
Tullow Oil is enjoying admirable success with its drilling program in northern Kenya, having already discovered oil at six other sites before the latest one at Ngamia-2.
In January this year, Tullow announced that it had discovered net oil pay of between 160 and 200 meters in Amosing-1 and of between 20 and 80 meters in Ewoi-1, both located in Block 10BB. Net pay is a measure of the thickness of an economically viable oil reservoir.
Tullow Oil has discovered a total of 600 million barrels of oil reserves at Block 10BB in the Lokichar Basin in Turkana County but recent discoveries has seen its raise the potential of the area to one billion barrels.
Tullow and Africa Oil each hold 50 per cent shareholding in Block 10BB, a resource-rich area.
Africa Oil, which has also in the past announced oil finds, Tuesday announced that, after drilling to a total of 3,030 metres in the Sala-1 site, it had discovered an area of interest of 1,000 metres.
The company revealed that the total area with potentially commercial viable gas deposits is 75 metres.
The Sala-1 site is in Block 9 which Africa Oil operates with Marathon Oil Kenya Limited BV, each owning a 50 per cent interest.
“An appraisal plan to follow up this discovery is currently being evaluated by the partnership in consultation with the Kenyan government,” said Keith Hill, the Africa Oil chief executive.
“Not only is there a great need for power in Kenya, there is also the potential for oil and for additional prospects on trend.”
The oil Mr Keith is referring to are deposits that the company found alongside those of natural gas during the exploration of Sala-1.
Africa Oil says “small amounts of oil were recovered during drilling and testing which indicates there may be potential for oil down-dip on the structure” which is proven true, would be a double score for the company.
Last week, Pancontinental Oil and Gas NL announced that it had discovered an oil column at one of its recently completed wells in the Lamu Basin, about 100 kilometres off the Mombasa coastline.
The find at the Sunbird well is said to be the first of its kind along the western Indian Ocean coast between South Africa and Somalia.
The exploration firm added that there were high prospect of finding commercial quantities in the area and that the implications of the find for regional oil exploration were “outstanding”.
Source Business Daily

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Upgrading dam infrastructure in Angola

As part of the Angolan government’s ongoing efforts to provide improved basic services, such as water to residents, global engineering, management and specialist technical services provider Aurecon is increasingly becoming involved in projects focused on the reconstruction, rehabilitation and upgrading of Angola’s infrastructure.
Aurecon has drawn on its extensive experience in water engineering and infrastructure to assist the Angolan government in the rehabilitation and upgrading of dams as part of its existing water infrastructure, including the Calueque and Quiminha dams.
Aurecon says that a major challenge is a lack of access to water required for urban and rural human settlement and businesses, as well as for miningindustrial and agricultural development.
Calueque dam is located on the Cunene river, in southern AngolaConstruction of the dam started before the country gained independence from Portugal and was not completed by the time the Angolan civil war started in 1975, which significantly devastated the dam.
Quiminha dam, which is in the Bengo province, about 80 km from Angola’s capital city Luanda, is a 41-m-high zoned earth-fill embankment dam with a storage capacity of around 1 560-million cubic meters and was initially constructed to regulate the Bengo river.

A source of water for southern Angola and northern Namibia, through the 1964 Cunene River Scheme Agreement, the dam supplies water for a variety of uses such as domestic,industrial, agricultural and hydropower.
Angolan authority Gabinete para a Administração da Bacia Hidrográfica do Rio Cunene(Gabhic) is responsible for the Kunene River basin and manages this resource together withNamibia. Gabhic appointed Aurecon, in a joint venture with global provider of professional technical and management support services Aecom and engineering services providerViaponte, in 2012, to provide project management services for the rehabilitation of the Calueque dam, including technical assistance for the design review and construction supervision.
Aurecon’s previous work on the Calueque dam includes its appointment by Gabhic to provide rehabilitation design andtender documentation services for the dam and infrastructure. Additional services included tender evaluations and contract negotiations with the successful contractors for this 2005 project.
The current Calueque dam rehabilitation project is expected to be completed by July 2015.
Engineering laboratories Laboratório de Engenharia de Angola appointed Aurecon in September 2013 to carry out a condition assessment and compile tender documentation for the rehabilitation and upgrading of the hydro-mechanical and electrical equipment for the outlet works of the dam.
Quiminha dam was constructed in the period between 1964 and 1975. The dam was well planned, well designed, constructed to the highest standards and configured with long-term foresight, including provisions being made in one of the 4.5 m diameter outlet tunnels for a future 16 MW hydropower station,” says Aurecon Angola business development leader José Cordeiro.
“We are pleased with our appointments on these two dams. Aurecon is committed to leading the developing world, which means that investing in key areas of opportunity is vital for producing lasting growth. We are committed to Angola and to engineering a better future for its citizens,” says Aurecon West Africa regional manager José Miranda.

Senegal to receive $150m in damages from ArcelorMittal

Arcelormittal has agreed to pay Senegal $150-million in cash as damages to settle a dispute with the West African nation over the failed Faleme iron-ore mine deal, Senegal's government spokesman said on Friday.
Senegal had been seeking $750-million in damages after winning a case at the International Chamber of Commerce's arbitration court in Paris. The court ruled in September that Senegal was within its rights to cancel the 2007 deal due to long delays.
Abdoul Latif Coulibaly, Senegal's minister for good governance and government spokesman, told Reuters ArcelorMittal would also hand over the equivalent of $50-million worth of research on the site to its next operator.
"ArcelorMittal and the government of Senegal have agreed to negotiate in order to end the conflict,' Coulibaly said.
A spokesperson for ArcelorMittal in London declined to comment.
ArcelorMittal had initially planned to invest $2.2-billion in the project, including the construction of a new port near the capital Dakar and a 750 km railway line. The mine, in the country's far east, is estimated to contain 750-million tonnes of reserves.
However, the project was suspended after the global economic crisis struck. The government has said it has received several bids from firms interested in taking over the project.
Source Reuters

Monday, 23 June 2014

UN warns delays in major projects will raise power costs

As East African countries launch massive projects in the power sector, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (Uneca) is warning that delays in implementing them could push the region towards expensive alternatives.
Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda and Tanzania are in various stages of ambitious energy expansion projects that could add some 10,000MW — or three times the current EAC installed capacity — to the power grid, offering a cheaper alternative to thermal power.
Kenya plans to add some 5,000MW to the national grid, Tanzania 3,000MW and Rwanda 500MW.
It is now feared delays could have far-reaching effects.
“Delayed energy planning and investment in the face of growing demand for electricity is likely to drive the energy portfolio to thermal technology, choices that have lower gestation period but higher per unit costs of generation, undermining the ability to supply affordable, available and reliable electricity,” said Uneca in a report titled “Energy Access and Security in Eastern Africa.”
The region is especially keen to diversify from thermal power, with the four countries banking on renewable power sources such as hydro, geothermal, wind and natural gas.
In April, the World Bank approved a $100 million loan to partly finance two hydropower plants in Rwanda that will jointly generate 48MW. Currently the country faces a daily shortage of 20-25MW of power.
In Tanzania, the country plans to add about 1,800MW of gas-fired electricity into the grid over the next three years, while Uganda has begun construction work on the Karuma dam.
Over the past two years, the region has been on an energy project upgrading drive, spending billions of dollars on infrastructure as it tries to reverse years of underinvestment that, coupled with the region’s low income levels, have kept millions of the region’s citizens out of the national grid.
For example, 80 per cent of the population in South Sudan and Burundi have no access to electricity compared with 70 per cent in Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. In Tanzania, Rwanda and Ethiopia, the figure stands at 65 per cent.
Experts blame this on underinvestment in transmission lines as well as expensive connection fees.
For example, in the past five years, Kenya has raised the number of households connected to the national grid from about 700,000 in 2005 to an estimated 2.4 million, partly due to the construction of transmission lines in rural areas by the government through the Rural Electrification Authority.
But still, the high connection costs in the country — recently adjusted from Ksh35,000 to Ksh75,000 for households living 600 metres from a transformer — is still high for a country with a per capita income of about $1,000 where 46 per cent of the population lives below the poverty line.
The increased investment is expected to lower the cost of power with the Kenyan government, for example, estimating that in 2018 the retail price of a kilowatt of electricity will drop from Ksh19 to about Ksh9.
According to the Uneca report, while most countries in the region aim to make a transition to middle income status, this transformation will require rapid expansion of energy capacity to sustain economic growth to the middle income post.
For instance, while middle income countries on average have an electricity access rate of 82 per cent, with the exception of Seychelles (up to 17.8 per cent), all other member states have significant access deficit from middle income level.
“Energy insecurity is a major threat to sustaining economic growth and transformation in the region. Rapid deterioration in biomass energy resources, except in Rwanda — the only country in the region that registered a gain in forest cover — require immediate attention,” said Yohannes G. Hailu, energy expert and economic affairs officer at Uneca sub-regional office for Eastern Africa based in Kigali.
Mr Hailu, who is the lead author of the report, said regional energy market integration will need to be fast-tracked to avert a gradual slip towards greater integration of imported energy sources to generate electricity in the region.
The report shows that petroleum consumption is also surging in East Africa with all member states importing petroleum, which exposes the region to global energy markets shocks.
“Energy planners need to balance the urgent need to meet expanded energy demand with energy security,” he said, adding that a regional and country level energy security strategy and action plan are urgently needed to address the deficit.
Energy demand is growing amid rapid economic growth. In Uganda, for example, demand is growing fast at 7 to 9 per cent per annum while in Tanzania it is increasing at 12 to 15 per cent per annum.
Comparison of absolute consumption levels of petroleum from 2000-2011 shows that while consumption at the continental level increased by slightly more than 40 per cent, the rise in East Africa was 67 per cent. This constitutes a significant increase in exposure to global energy markets.
Price swings
For instance, disruption in the supply of imported energy, particularly hydrocarbons, and sharp swings in their price will introduce macroeconomic impacts that can undermine the momentum of the economic development taking place in the East African region.
“Dependence on imported energy poses a serious risk as many of the factors that determine its supply and price are outside the control of importing states,” the report says.
Disruption can also hamper proper functioning of the socioeconomic system just as unaffordability can hold back economic activities, particularly in energy intensive industries. Energy security is, therefore, a component of economic stability, the report notes.
“The most direct impact of dependence on imported oil is price hikes in global markets. Increases in oil prices in recent years (post 2008) have led to a drift in the current account balance of sub regional member states,” says the report.
By Berna Namata 0f The EastAfrican
Additional reporting by Peterson Thiong’o

Smaller firms to lead E African oil and gas

Smaller oil explorers willing to take financial and operational risks will lead the development of East Africa's oil and gas industry as majors ditch riskier projects as margins fall, executives from several oil and gas firms said on Tuesday.

The region has emerged as a significant prospect for the export of liquefied natural gas (LNG) because of the size of natural gas discoveries there and its proximity to Asia's major LNG consumers.

The US Geological Survey has estimated that more gas lies off the shores of Kenya, Tanzania and Mozambique than off Nigeria, Africa's biggest energy producer.
However, high development costs and low profit margins in the gas sector worldwide have made large oil and gas companies more hesitant to commit to risky and expensive investments.

This reluctance paves the way for smaller explorers, such as Tullow Oil and Ophir Energy, who typically focus their efforts on one region or country in the hope of maximising any returns.
"The oil and gas industry is worried about costs. Oil companies are reducing their investments and putting projects on hold," Willy Olsen, former advisor to Statoil, said at the East Africa Oil and Gas conference in London.

"If they make oil and gas discoveries in East Africa it will be 10 to 15 years before they see revenues ... so the focus will be on small and medium-sized companies and few big players," he added.

Race for gas

Mozambique and Tanzania are racing to be first to export gas from Africa's eastern seaboard to transform their economies but have substantial challenges to overcome.

Both countries lack infrastructure and technical know-how. Both lack clear oil and gas policies and legislation of the sector is uncertain. Debate continues over how much gas should be sold to foreign investors and how much should be kept for domestic use.

Around 180 trillion cubic feet of gas has been found in Mozambique's Rovuma Basin, according to Jose Branquinho, resource assessment director at Mozambique's National Petroleum Institute. This would be enough to supply, Germany, Britain, France and Italy for some 18 years.

"The Mozambique discoveries have changed the world - that's why people are still interested in East Africa," Miles Donnelly, commercial director at oil and gas exploration firm Bahari Resources, said on the sidelines of the conference.
"They are on a scale which could be comparable to Qatar," he said, referring to the world's top LNG exporter.

Companies currently exploring for gas in the region include a mix of smaller and larger players. In Mozambique Anadarko, Buzi Hydrocarbon, Eni, Petronas and Sasol are active. In Tanzania, Britain's BG Group and Ophir Energy, have been at the forefront of exploration, while Exxon Mobil and Statoil have also found gas.

But it will be the smaller companies that get production off the ground in earnest in places such as Mozambique, executives said.

Taipan Resources, an oil exploration company focused on Africa with a $50m market capitalisation, hopes to start drilling for oil in northeast Kenya next year.
"Smaller companies get on with things and have a big role to play. We bring in the medium companies, who draw in the large companies" said Max Birley, chief executive of Taipan Resources, which is based in Kenya and listed in Canada.

"We may not have big pockets but we employ bright people who are aggressive about exploration and we drill wells which some of the majors won't drill," he added.

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Congo State miner ditches plan to sell stake in Glencore project

The Democratic Republic of Congo's State mining firm Gecamines has shelved a plan to sell its 20% stake in the Kamoto Copper Company (KCC) mining project, which is controlled by Glencore, Gecamines said on Tuesday.
Gecamines had considered selling its stake to Fleurette Group, a company controlled by Israeli billionaire Dan Gertler, which already holds shares in KCC and has snapped up a number of other major Congolese mining assets.
The proposed sale was to raise funds for other projects, Gecamines had said. However, in August, Congo's mining minister wrote a letter warning Gecamines against selling the country's assets without government approval.
Gecamines MD Ahmed Kalej said it was not selling the stake.
"It is a strategic decision. We are reevaluating the value of our share in the project. Future decisions will be made on a basis of the need for financing at that time," he added.
KCC is situated in Congo's copper-rich Katanga province. Last year Congo produced a record 942 000 metric tons of copper, helping to drive economic growth of 8.5% in 2013.
Gecamines has been trying to raise cash for new infrastructure and plants in order to ramp up its own production to about 100 000 t by 2016.
Congo possesses enormous mineral wealth and has deposits of diamonds, gold, copper, tin and coltan, but decades of mismanagement, corruption and violence mean that the vast majority of its 65-million people live in poverty.
Gecamines has been criticised in the past by the International Monetary Fund for a lack of transparency in the sale of its mining assets following concerns that stakes in projects had been sold for considerably less than their market value.
Source: Reuters

Thursday, 19 June 2014

UK firm bags Niger oil contract

Niger has awarded a production-sharing contract to a UK-based firm called Savannah Petroleum as it seeks to attract a broader range of investors into its nascent oil industry.

Niger, one of Africa's newest oil producers, began pumping oil in 2011 as part of a $5bn deal with China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) [CNPET.UL] to develop the Agadem block.
The country is expected to export around 80 000 barrels per day via a pipeline through neighbouring Chad and Cameroon from 2016.

"In a cabinet meeting on Friday, a decree was adopted approving the production-sharing contract between Niger and Savannah Petroleum for blocks R1 and R2," said a government statement issued late on Friday.

"These two blocks represent 50% of the Agadem block, for which CNPC was given exclusive oil exploration rights in 2007," it added. It did not say if the award of the production contract would affect the earlier exploration deal.

Sources close to the oil ministry said the new contract was part of a broader policy to promote the sector and denied there were any problems with CNPC.

In 2012, Niger awarded nine production-sharing contracts to five firms based in Nigeria, Australia and Bermuda.

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

US Firms in $1bn push for off-grid Africa power

US companies have promised $1bn for off-grid power projects in Africa, putting a growing focus on small-scale and renewable energy in the push to ease the continent's chronic electricity shortages.
President Barack Obama's administration announced commitments by 27 investors as it moves forward on a goal of doubling electricity access in sub-Saharan Africa, where a lack of power has been a key impediment to improving education and public health.
"With close to 600 million people without access to modern-day electricity, it is clear that centralized grid access is not a comprehensive solution for these countries in one of the world's least urban continents," energy secretary Ernest Moniz said Tuesday on a visit to Ethiopia, according to a statement.
"But through solutions including off-grid and small scale energy projects, we can bring electricity to these rural areas," he said.
The commitments, which will total more than $1bn over five years, will include investments in solar and small-scale hydro power stations, training of African specialists and crowdsourcing of funds to support local power providers.
John Podesta, a counselor to Obama, said that falling costs of renewable energy as well as advances in power storage and other technologies had made off-grid options increasingly attractive.
"While the market is still young, it holds great promise to follow the mobile phone in leapfrogging centralized infrastructure across Africa," Podesta wrote on a White House blog.
Obama, on a trip to Africa a year ago, announced that the United States would mobilize $7bn in mostly private funds over five years to bring electricity to at least 20 million more homes and businesses. It is the latest major US initiative for sub-Saharan Africa after former president George W. Bush championed action against AIDS and other diseases.
The electricity effort enjoys broad US support, with the Republican-led House of Representatives approving legislation last month with an even more ambitious goal of bringing electricity to 50 million Africans.
But corporations have pushed for US-backed financial institutions to ease restrictions against funding of carbon-intense projects that contribute to climate change, saying it is unrealistic to ramp up generation in Africa without significant investments in gas and power grids.
Environmentalists have countered that the initiative offers a chance to try a new approach amid predictions that Africa's poorest will be hit hard by climate change.
Justin Guay of the Sierra Club environmental group hailed the administration announcement as a "big shift," as off-grid energy was initially a small part of Obama's Power Africa initiative. But he said the investment was just a first step and called for further funding of off-grid projects.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Four firms submit bids for Sh210bn Uganda oil refinery

The setting up of the planned Uganda oil refinery, in which Kenya has invested Sh6.5 billion, has moved closer to fruition after four firms submitted proposals at the end of last week.
According to a statement from Uganda’s Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, the firms, which are vying for the role of lead investor, presented proposals for the development of the Sh210 billion refinery.

The four companies are China Petroleum Pipeline Bureau (CPPB), Marubeni Corporation from Japan, RT–Global Resources from Russia and SK Group from South Korea.
“Four of the six shortlisted firms/ consortia have submitted detailed proposals to the Government of Uganda for the role of lead investor/operator for the development of the 60,000 barrels per day oil refinery and related downstream infrastructure in the country,” said the Ugandan Ministry in a statement.
Uganda’s Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development permanent secretary, Mr Fred Kabagambe-Kaliisa said the government was looking for a credible, experienced and financially capable partner to work with Uganda to develop a refinery.
Negotiations to start development are expected to be concluded by the end of September this year.