The Buzz: This Week in Africa

At the beginning of this week Brent Crude is trading at $48.97 per barrel, WTI at $46.52 per barrel and natural gas at $3.01 per million BTU (beginning of day 17 July 2017). Here are AOP’s top five stories from the last seven days.

Ghana Increases Oil Production

Ghana’s oil production is expected to average 123,416 barrels per day this year, up from 88,487 in 2016. Production from Eni’s Sankofa field, which came online in May, should see production climb at the end of 2017.

Despite the increase in Ghana’s oil production this year, the country is still expected to face fiscal strains on the budget with Brent crude averaging $52 per barrel instead of the $56 per barrel forecast in the state budget, according to Bloomberg. The increased production will do little to decrease Ghana’s deficit as previously hoped.

Nigeria Not Onboard with OPEC Production Cuts

Nigeria’s Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, has hinted that Nigeria is not onboard with the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) production cuts initially agreed to in December 2016 and extended this year to last into 2018, according to The Guardian.

Nigeria was initially exempt from the production cap because of the country’s already-dwindling oil production in the face of militant attacks. With production now increasing, however, reaching about 1.7 million barrels per day in May, there will be pressure on Nigeria to cap production at 1.8 million barrels per day.

World Bank Backs Rwanda Renewables

The World Bank has issued a $50 million credit to back off-grid renewable projects in Rwanda, seeking to boost private sector investment in the sector, according to ESI Africa.

The Rwanda Renewable Energy Fund Project will address key issues faced by residents and businesses in an off-grid market, including financial barriers and creating mini-grids. The initiative seeks to create 445,500 off-grid connections.

Rosneft to Sign Contracts with Mozambique

Russia’s Rosneft is planning to open an office in Mozambique, and hopes to sign a deal before the close of the year on blocks the company was awarded with ExxonMobil in 2015, according to Reuters.

The two companies were awarded Blocks A5-B, Z5-C and Z5-D, and have been negotiating with the Mozambican government on development and contract terms. These agreements are expected to be signed this year.

Reuters reports Rosneft is seeking to increase its gas output.

US Seizes Assets of Former Nigerian Oil Minister

The United States Department of Justice have seized $144 million in assets from Nigeria’s former petroleum minister and former OPEC president, Diezani Alison-Madueke, in a bribery complaint. Prosecutors accuse Alison-Madueke of accepting lavish gifts, such as a 200-foot yacht, by two Nigerian oil men, Kolawole Aluko and Olajide Omokore, according to the Financial Times.

The move by the United States comes after Nigeria’s courts charged her earlier in 2017 with money laundering.