The Buzz: This Week in Africa

At the beginning of this week Brent Crude is trading at $63.43 per barrel, WTI at $57.98 per barrel and natural gas at $2.91 per million BTU (beginning of day 27 November 2017). Here are AOP’s top five stories from the last seven days.

Equatorial Guinea Pursues Refinery

Equatorial Guinea is in talks with Venezuela’s state-owned oil company, Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A., to build a $2 billion refinery, according to Bloomberg.

The refinery would be operated by PDVSA and financed by Equatorial Guinea.

“We are studying the project and we have the financing — we just need an operator,” said  H.E. Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, the Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons of Equatorial Guinea, to Bloomberg. “PDVSA has a large number of trained workers, and a shared language is very important. We can bring their people here to work in one of the plants.”

Funding Expected for Fortuna FLNG

Ophir Energy announced last week that discussions with Chinese banks on the funding of the Fortuna FLNG in Equatorial Guinea have been “taking longer than expected” and that Ophir is developing other funding sources.

“These alternative options are now at an advanced stage. Ophir expects to be in a positon to select one of these options and to finalize the financing arrangements for the Project by mid-December 2017,” according to the update.

Ophir Energy has agreed to a 12-month extension of the Block R license to the end of December 2018.

BP Plans to Acquire Cairn’s Senegal Stake

BP is in talks with Cairn Energy to acquire a 30 percent interest in Cairn’s SNE Field offshore Senegal, according to Nasdaq. The acquisition is reportedly valued at $800 million, though detailed have not been disclosed.

The SNE Field, which is expected to come online in 2021, comprises one of the largest oil discoveries offshore West Africa, with reserves estimated at 650 million barrels. Woddisde and FAR Ltd. also hold interests in the block.

Tullow Oil to Drill in Namibia, Partners with ONGC Videsh

Tullow Oil sold a 15 percent stake in its offshore Block 2012A to ONGC Videsh in an attempt to expedite drilling, according to the Business Standard.

The announcement comes on the heels of another agreement with ONVC Videsh made last month, in which ONGC Videsh bought a 30 percent stake in Namibia’s PEL 0037 from Tullow. Today, it was announced that the partners of PEL 0037 approved a drilling program for the block, with a targeted spud date in September 2018. Tullow Oil has begun the procurement process for drilling, according to a news release.

Sudan Pursues Nuclear Power Options

Sudan and Russia have signed an agreement to cooperate on the use of nuclear for peaceful purposes, including power generation, according to ESI Africa. Rosatom, Russia’s state-owned Atomic Energy Cooperation, made the announcement after a visit by Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir to Russia.

The agreement lays the framework for the countries to cooperate on creating a legal framework for the use of nuclear in Sudan and assistance in creating the country’s nuclear infrastructure.