The Buzz: This Week in Africa

At the beginning of the week, Brent Crude is trading at $64.25 per barrel, WTI at $61.21 and natural gas at per million BTU (at 15:11, 5 March 2018, South Africa). Here are AOP’s top five stories from the last seven days.

Kenya to Decide on Oil Pipeline in 2018

Africa Oil, one of the partners in Kenya’s first oilfield project has said the agreement on construction of an export pipeline project is expected to reach conclusion by the middle of this year.

After discovering oil in Kenya six years ago, Tullow Oil and its partners proposed to transport oil from the Amosing and Ngamia fields via pipeline to the port of Lamu. Oil will make a significant difference in the Kenyan governments revenue, competing with the tea, the country’s biggest export.

The pipeline project is expected to reach final investment decision in the second half of 2019.

Petronas Makes Discovery in Gabon

Petronas, Malaysia’s state-owned oil company, has announced its latest oil and gas discovery at its Boudji-1 exploration well in Block F14 in Gabon.

In a statement, Petronas said the ultra-deepwater exploration well, drilled in water depths of around 2,800 meters, had encountered 90 meters of gross high quality hydrocarbon bearing pre-salt sands. The discovery was made by PC Gabon Upstream S.A, a subsidiary of Petronas, and signifies a milestone for the oil company as it expands its upstream growth in West Africa.

Petronas recently signed a farm-out agreement with FAR Ltd for an interest in Block A2 and A5 offshore Gambia

Egypt’s Zohr to Increase Production

The Minister of Petroleum of Egypt, Tarek El-Molla, told Reuters that the country is aiming to increase production at its Zohr gas field from 350 million cubic feet per day to 700 million cubic feet per day in May this year.

The Zohr field was discovered in 2015 by Eni. The company anticipates that the field will produce 2.7 billion cubic feet per day by 2019, providing the Egypt with a significant economic boost. The field contains approximately 30 trillion cubic feet of gas.

Pollution Protests Shut Down Libya Field

Libyan oilfield El Sharara was shutdown after a landowner closed a valve in protest against pollution from a pipeline crossing his land. The landowner experienced the same situation last year, where he would only reopen the valve following the intervention of mediators.

The closure of this oilfield will heavily affect the country’s oil economy after just last week the National Oil Company declared force majeure on El-Feel oilfield, following protests by Petroleum Facilities Guards personnel.

U.S. Shale Output Holds Steady

The International Energy Agency (IEA) revised U.S. oil forecasts and said that the country would produce approximately 17 million barrels per day in 2023, which is significantly higher than the 13.2 million barrels per day produced in 2017.

The IEA is also expecting oil demand growth to average at 1.1 percent a year until 2023.

Brent Crude is at $64.24 despite starting the week last week at $67.18. U.S West Texas Intermediate (WTI) is at $61.21, having been at $63.47 last week Monday.

Join the conversation on Capital Raising and the Gas Industry at the AOP Investor Forum in London, May 10, 2018