The Buzz: This Week in Africa

At the close of this week Brent Crude is trading at $56.53 per barrel, WTI at $54.42 per barrel and natural gas at $2.61 per million BTU (beginning of day 23 February 2017). Here are AOP’s top five stories from the last seven days.

Ghana president warns debt is hindering power

Ghana’s struggling power sector is overly burdened by $2.4 billion in debts, warned Ghana’s recently-elected president Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, according to ESI Africa. The country has wrestled with a power crisis for four years — it is prone to power outages that many say are keeping Ghana from reaching its economic and industrial potential.

Of the $2.4 billion debt, $800 million is owed to local banks, threatening the stability of the country’s financial sector, said Akufo-Addo. His administration plans to introduce a new tariff policy and the government is reviewing all power agreements in order to “prioritize, renegotiate, defer or cancel outright if necessary in the national interest.”

Libya boosts output

Libya has more than doubled its oil production from September 2016 to January 2017, from 300,000 barrels per day to 700,000 barrels per day, according to African Business. Previously Libya was one of the top oil and gas producers in Africa, producing 1.6 million barrels per day before the overthrow of President Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. The National Oil Company intends to reach 1.2 million barrels per day by the end of 2017.

The increase could impact oil prices, which have been steady since OPEC and several non-OPEC members agreed to cut production by 1.8 million barrels per day. Libya, an OPEC member, was excluded from production cuts.

Nigeria to end imports by 2019

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation has announced a plan to end the import of petroleum products into the country by 2019 through rehabilitating and upgrading all oil refineries, according to The Guardian.

According to Dr. Bello Rabiu, Chief Operating Officer for NNPC’s Upstream Unit, the goal is to balance the country’s high crude production with its refining capacities in order to reduce import costs and charges on refined products. Currently, Nigeria, the top oil and gas producer in Africa, imports about 50 percent of the country’s fuel needs.

GE looks to invest in Sudan

General Electric Corporation sent a high-level delegation to meet with The Minister of Oil and Gas for Sudan, Dr. Mohamed Zayid Awad, to discuss investments in energy, transportation, aviation, health and oil, according to the Sudan News Agency. Awad said Sudan represented promising opportunities in oil and gas exploration, as well as in the downstream sector with refineries and storage.

Tanzania’s Lake Oil to buy Kenyan petroleum retail firm

Lake Oil is to acquire Hashi Energy, a Kenyan petroleum retail business, according to The Citizen. The move will augment Lake Oil’s gas distribution business in Kenya. Lake Group already operates throughout the region, including in Zambia, Rwanda, Tanzania and Burundi.