The Buzz: This Week in Africa

At the beginning of the week, Brent Crude is trading at $78.72 per barrel, WTI at $71.55 and natural gas at $2.81 per million BTU (at 11:19, 21 May 2018, South Africa). Here are AOP’s top five stories from the last seven days.

South Africa to move forward with shale gas

During the budget vote in Parliament last week, South African Minister of Mineral Resources, Gwede Mantashe said that the government would be pursuing the development of shale gas in order to transform the country’s energy sector.

“The southern Main Karoo Basin is considered the most prospective area for shale gas, with a possible estimation of 205 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of gas technically recoverable, as reported by Petroleum Agency SA,” he said.

According to Fin24, Minister Mantashe also said that the government plans to move with speed and finalize exploration rights applications.

Oil and gas majors bid for Petrobas’ African assets

The world’s largest oil and gas companies, Vitol, Glencore and Shell are in a bid to purchase the African division of Brazilian multinational corporation, Petrobas.

Petrobas Africa has stakes in two offshore oil and gas fields in West Africa; the Agbami field in OML 127 and the Akpo field in OML 130. Agbami produces about 240 000 bpd while the Akpo field in OML 130 produces nearly 130 000 bpd.

Petrobas is expected to make a decision by the end of May 2018.

SDX Energy makes natural gas discovery

Following its conventional natural gas discovery at the South Disouq in Egypt, North Africa focused oil and gas company, SDX Energy has announced its flow test results conducted on its Ibn Yunus 1X well.

The well was drilled to a total depth of 9.608 ft and encountered 100.8 ft of net conventional natural gas pay in the Abu Madi horizon, which had an average porosity in the pay section of 28.6 percent.

“We remain optimistic about further positive news flow as we move towards delivering first gas from the license before the end of 2018. We look forward to updating shareholders on our progress at the South Disouq over the coming months,” said Paul Welch, President and CEO of SDX in a statement.

Libya: Protesters demand better state services

Following a statement released on Sunday, Libyan unemployed youth are expected to shut down the oilfields in Marada town in demand of better state services. The group of Libyan youth have been protesting in Marada, which lies near the oil pipeline feeding the Es Sider port.

According to reports, the youth are protesting for better healthcare services, better road links in the Marada town and employment.

The Libyan government has not yet responded to the matter.

Shell and Eni trial adjourned to June 20

Last week Monday, Shell and Eni went on trial in Italy on bribery charges involving the purchase of the Nigerian OPL-245 offshore oilfield for a reported $1.3 billion in 2011.Eni and Shell have been accused of paying prosecutors bribes to secure the license to explore the offshore oilfield.

After a brief procedural hearing, the trial was re-adjourned to June 20. According to reports, the Milan court said it would assess requests from third parties, including a series of international non-profit organizations, to join the case at the next hearing.