The Buzz: This Week in Africa

At the close of this week Brent Crude is trading at $56.68 per barrel, WTI at $53.67 per barrel and natural gas at $3.72 per million BTU (beginning of day, December 30, 2016). Here are AOP’s top five stories from the last seven days.

For 2016, Angola overtakes Nigeria in oil production

Oil production in Angola reached an average of 1.775 million barrels per day, leapfrogging ahead of the continent’s largest producer, Nigeria, which produced an average of 1.468 million barrels per day in 2016, according to Nigeria’s production was severely impacted by the militancy in the Niger Delta over the last year, with production declining by about 700,000 barrels per day for the OPEC country. Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari is hoping to increase oil production to 2.2. million bpd in 2017, the country’s volume before the militant attacks started in early 2016. Meanwhile, Angola increased production by about 8,800 barrels per day.

BP acquires 62 percent interest in Kosmos’ Mauritania blocks

BP has signed an agreement to acquire a 62 percent working interest in Kosmos’ exploration blocks in Mauritania and a 32.49 percent working interest in Kosmos’ Senegal exploration blocks, according to a Rigzone report. According to a BP announcement on Dec. 19, the company plans to invest about $1 billion in the form of a multi-year exploration and development carry, to acquire its stake in offshore Blocks C-6, C-8, C-12 and C-13 in Mauritania and interest in the Saint-Louis Profond and Cayar Profond blocks in Senegal. Kosmos will still be the technical operator for the exploration phase of the project, according to the agreement.

Sonagol to be split into three units

Sonagol, the state-owned oil company of Angola, will be divided into three separate units — exploration and production, logistics and a division to manage concessions to international oil companies — in an effort to reshape the oil company, according to the Financial Times. Oil output for the state-owned company is set to decline to 1.5 million barrels per day from 1.7 million barrels per day by 2021 without new investment, according to the FT. The company suspended all talks related to the sale of assets in July, and it also stripped its internal legal department of most of its powers.

Tanzania eyes power expansions

The Tanzania Electric Supply Company (Tanesco) is planning power transmission projects that would connect the southern regions of Lindi and Mtwara into the national power grid, according to The Citizen. The network would also allow Tanzania to tap into Southern Africa and Eastern Africa Power Pools, which would provide the country with more reliability and availability of power, according to Khalid James, the National Power Backbone project coordinator for Tanesco. After development of the 400KV project, would would run from from Iringa to Shinyanga through Dodoma and Singida, Tanesco would then seek to develop the North West grid.

Africa Oil Corp. drills in Kenya

Africa Oil Corp. has spudded the Erut-1 well in Kenya’s Block 13T, the first of a four well program, as a follow-up to the Etom-well, which discovered 334 feet of net pay, according to Rigzone. “We are excited to get back to drilling and particularly interested in the first two wells in the program which will test exploration prospects in the northern portion of the Lokichar Basin opened up by the Etom discovery,” said Keith Hill, Africa Oil CEO, in a statement.