The Buzz: This Week in Africa

At the beginning of the week, Brent Crude is trading at $77.00 per barrel, WTI at $70.56 and natural gas at $2.81 per million BTU (at 12:32, 14 May 2018, South Africa). Here are AOP’s top five stories from the last seven days.

Iran nuclear deal maintains support, oil prices take a hit

With some U.S. allies likely to push maintaining the nuclear deal with Iran, oil prices took a hit on Friday.

Having been at $78 per barrel on Thursday – the highest it had been since November 2014 – Brent Crude oil dropped to $77.12 a barrel on Friday and today is trading at $77.00 per barrel.

As the U.S. plans to introduce new sanctions against Iran, Iranian crude oil exports are expected to decline in coming months.

Ophir Energy and Kosmos Energy enter farm-out agreement

Ophir Energy has announced that it has entered a farm-out agreement with Kosmos Energy covering the EG-24 exploration license in Equatorial Guinea.

Under the agreement, Kosmos Energy will acquire a 40 percent non-operated interest in the block. Seismic operations are to begin on 14 May 2018, with completion of the transaction conditional upon the approval of the Equatoguinean government.

The national oil company of Equatorial Guinea GEPetrol has a carried interest of 20 percent in the EG-24 license.

Algeria: Total and Sonatrach to launch engineering studies for petrochemical project

French oil company Total and Algerian state-owned company Sonatrach have signed an agreement to launch the engineering studies for a petrochemical project in Arzew, Algeria.

The project will include a propane dehydrogenation unit and a polypropylene production unit with an output capacity of 550,000 tons per year.

“This project in Algeria illustrates our petrochemical growth strategy which consists of expanding our activities from competitively advantaged feedstock, especially derived from gas, to take advantage of the growing global plastics demand,” said Chairman and CEO of Total Patrick Pouyanné in a statement released on Friday. “It is also an opportunity to strenghten our cooperation with Sonatrach,” he added.

Cameroon: Drilling at Etinde Permit to begin

Africa-focused British oil and gas company Bowleven announced that a two-well appraisal drilling campaign on its Etinde permit offshore Cameroon would begin at the end of May.

In a statement released on 11 May, the company said the Topaz-Driller rig will be used to drill the wells and they are expected to be spudded over the next 150 days.

Bowleven holds a 25 percent interest in the Etinde asset.

Equatorial Guinea to develop Gas Megahub project

Equatorial Guinea’s Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons H.E. Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima announced plans to develop a gas megahub at the Africa Oil & Power Investor Forum held in London last week.

A gas supply agreement has been signed between the ministry and Noble Energy to backfill supply of the EG LNG plant. Gas will be supplied to the Punta Europa gas complex, which incorporates the AMPCO methanol plant, the Malabo power station and EGLNG. This will later be combined with new subsea pipelines to connect the Aseng, Aleng and Alba fields.

“There is a lot of gas in the neighborhood and we will have the perfect infrastructure to receive gas and for drilling for more gas. The incentive there is to make gas more important than oil,” Minister Obiang Lima told Oil Review Africa.