The Buzz: This Week in Africa

At the beginning of this week Brent Crude is trading at $62.59 per barrel, WTI at $56.03 per barrel and natural gas at $3.06 per million BTU (beginning of day 06 November 2017). Here are AOP’s top five stories from the last seven days.

Nigeria Explores Onshore Basins

Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has resumed exploration for oil and gas in the country’s interior basins, including Chad and Benue Trough, according to Leadership. The state-owned oil and gas company has also sited two biofuel projects in Benue State, with the possibility of bringing more than one million direct and in-direct jobs to the region.

The news comes as the Niger Delta Avengers, the militant group plaguing Nigeria’s long-established oil and gas production in the Niger Delta region, issued a “bloody” new warning for oil and gas companies. While in negotiations with the militant group, Nigeria has also been keen to launch new exploration projects in order to boost overall oil and gas production.

Sudan in talks with American Investors

The end of sanctions against of Sudan has opened the door to business, and Sudanese-American talks on the oil industry have already kicked off, according to the Sudan News Agency.

An American private sector delegation held talks with the Ministry of Oil last week, with the two sides discussing potential energy investment. According to state media, the “Minister of Oil and Gas Dr. Abdul-Rahman Osman urged the American companies to engage into investment in the Red Sea area and a number of empty blocks.”

Eco (Atlantic) Takes Key Step to Drilling Offshore Namibia

Eco (Atlantic) Oil & Gas Ltd, based in Ontario, has secured the approval to release its Public Notice for Environmental Clearance Certificate (ECC) for drilling, an important hurdle to overcome ahead of its plans to drill offshore Namibia, according to Rigzone.

The company aims to drill in the Cooper block in the Walvis Oil Basin.

“We are confident in the detailed and conservative work carried out thus far on the osprey lead on Cooper by our own team, and that of our partners, and we continue to advance our learnings in the region,” said Colin Kinley, Eco’s CEO, in a company statement.

Dangote Refinery Attracts Regional Customers

Nigeria’s $12 billion Dangote Refinery — which is set for completion in 2019 and has an expected production capacity of 650,000 barrels of refined crude per day — is already attracting potential customers from the West African region, according to Vangaurd.

Potentially interested countries could include Ghana and the Benin Republic, attracted by the proximity of the products, as opposed to importing refined products from Europe or elsewhere.

The refinery is expected to be enough to meet local needs, according to Nigeria’s Minister of State for Petroleum Ibe Kachikwu.

Botswana’s Newly-Launched Energy Regulator Takes Charge

Botswana, eager to improve its power generation sector and increase access to electricity, launched its first energy regulator in June 2017. Now, the Botswana Energy Regulatory Authority (BERA) is hard at work setting up a tariffs system to attract international investment in the power sector and encouraging fair competition for the private sector.

The country’s electricity sector has been dominated by the state, but the country’s first Independent Power Producer project — a 300 MW expansion of the Morupule B Power Plant — could change that if it overcomes funding hurdles.