The Buzz: This Week in Africa

At the beginning of the week, Brent Crude is trading at $75.33 per barrel, WTI at $66.75 and natural gas at $2.93 per million BTU (28 May 2018). Here are AOP’s top five stories from the last seven days.

Oil prices tumble, but could soon spike

Oil prices took a tumble in the last week, as Saudi Arabia and Russia announced last Friday that they were considering rising oil production by about 1 million barrels of oil per day. Brent Crude was down 1.4 percent Monday morning, and WTI was down 1.7 percent, according to CNBC.

However, some analysts predict that a total shutdown of Venezuelan oil production could send oil prices toward $100 per barrel.

“I think what they are concerned about is that they ideally would like to avoid a spike in the oil price, let’s say towards $100 a barrel, because they are very sensitive to the fact that a spike would then lead to a generalized global downturn,” said Bob Parker, investment committee member at Quilvest Wealth Management, to CNBC regarding Saudi Arabia and Russia’s plan to raise oil production.

Nuclear Could Soon Power Nigeria

Russia’s State Atomic Energy Corporation is urging Nigeria to move ahead with a proposed nuclear power plant, saying the plant — to come online mid-2020 — would offer the country a stable and cheap source of electricity, according to The Guardian. The Chief Executive Officer of the Nigeria Atomic Energy Commission (Nigatom), Simon Pesco Mallam, agrees.

“We have a roadmap and that is by the mid 2020s. We hope we can get a commercial plant and add three more in five to 10 years,” said Mallam to The Guardian.

Drought hits Southern Africa’s Electricity Capacity

Southern Africa’s power generation capacity is feeling the sting of drought, with much of the region’s current installed power capacity dependent on hydropower. The reduction in the capacity of regional damns has reduced power capacity, with the Kariba dam in Zambia/Zimbabwe reduced to 12.7 percent, the Kafue damn in Zambia to 42 percent and the Cahora Bassa dam in Mozambique to 15 percent, according to the Mozambique News Agency

“In 2015, we had an annual production of 15,000 gigawatt hours but last year we suffered a reduction to 13,000 gigawatt hours,” Nelson Beete, executive director of Hidroelectrica de Cahora Bassa, told the Mozambique News Agency.

He is urging for better rain forecasts and more cooperation across borders to better use water for electricity.

Kenya’s Early Oil Pilot Scheme Moves Ahead

Kenya has joined the League of Exporting Countries as the country moves ahead with an Early Oil Pilot Scheme that allows operators to produce 2,000 barrels of oil per day and truck the product from the inland area of Turkana to the coast for export, according to the Cameroon Tribune.

The early production scheme is an effort to kickstart Kenya’s oil production ahead of construction of an oil pipeline.  Total is planning to build an 820 km oil pipeline from Lkichar to Lamu Island, with an anticipated completion date of 2021.

Rosneft, Oranto Petroleum Sign MoU on Africa

Nigeria-based Oranto Petroleum and Russia’s Rosneft signed a memorandum of understanding to cooperate on the development of Oranto Petroleum’s portfolio in Africa, as well as the acquisition of new assets, gas monetization schemes and refining, commerce and logistics projects.

The deal, signed last week during the St. Petersburg International Economic forum, comes as Oranto Petroleum and its sister company Atlas Petroleum hunt for exploration and production partners on its existing acreage.