The Buzz: This Week in Africa

At the beginning of this week Brent Crude is trading at $65.25 per barrel, WTI at $58.47 per barrel and natural gas at $2.67 per million BTU (beginning of day 25 December 2017). Here are AOP’s top five stories from the last seven days.

Ethiopia Signs $4 billion Deal to Build 1GW Electricity

Ethiopia plans to build two geothermal power plans in a $4 billion power purchase agreement signed with Reykjavik Geothermal. Reykjavik Geothermal, an American-Icelandic development company, will fund three-fourths of the development of the projects, and the remainder of the financing will be debt finance in order to complete the Tulu Moye and the Corbetti geothermal plants within the next eight years, according to Clean Technology Business Review.

Shell, Eni Stand Trial in Italy for Nigerian Corruption Allegations

An Italian court has ruled that Shell and Eni will stand trial in that country over alleged corruption in Nigeria, with the trial due to start on March 5, according to the Financial Times.

Prosecutors claim bribes totaling about US $1.3 billion were paid to the two international oil companies over their OPL-245 offshore oilfield. There are also still inquiries progressing in the Netherlands and Nigeria on the case.

Sonangol, Cobalt Resolve Dispute

Angola’s state-owned oil company and Texas-based Cobalt International Energy reached a resolution on Cobalt’s arbitration claim of over $2 billion, which alleged that Sonangol refused to allow extension talks on the company’s efforts to sell its offshore blocks 20 and 21, according to Angola Press.

The deal signed last week sees Sonangol paying Cobalt USD $500 million for the blocks, though the deal is subject to approval from the United States Bankruptcy Court.

BP, Kosmos Parnter on Ivory Coast Blocks

Oil major BP and independent Kosmos Energy will partner on five new offshore oil blocks after the Ivory Coast announced it was awarding Blocks CI-526, CI-602, CI-603, CI-707 and CI-708 to the companies, according to Reuters. BP and Kosmos already partner on offshore blocks in Senegal and Mauritania.

Nigeria: Oil Union Completes Strike

The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, the country’s largest oil union working in the upstream industry, began a nationwide strike last week, which threatened production cuts from Africa’s largest oil and gas exporter, according to Oilprice.com.

However, the strike only lasted a few hours, after intervention from government officials resolved the dispute, with the union claiming the strike was due to workers being laid off. A meeting has been scheduled for the second week of January to resolve the disputes.