The Buzz: This Week in Africa

Brent Crude is trading at $61.80, WTI at $52.56 and natural gas at $2.57 per million BTU (at 17:14 in South Africa). Here are AOPs top news stories from the last seven days.

SOUTH AFRICA

South Africa was in the energy spotlight this week, with a major offshore hydrocarbon discovery confirmed by Total on Thursday, ENGIE starting operations at Kathu’s 100MW solar plant and the country’s state-owned utility locking down a $1.1 billion loan which will form part of its capital expenditure program.

Total makes significant gas discovery offshore South Africa

French oil and gas major Total has made an important gas condensate discovery on its Brulpadda prospects on Block 11B/12B in the Outeniqua Basin, offshore South Africa.
The super major’s drilling campaign, which started in the Brulpadda-1AX re-entry well on Block 11B/12B in December 2018, has yielded 57m of net gas condensate pay in Lower Cretaceous reservoirs.

South Africa: ENGIE begins operations at 100MW solar power plant

French multinational electric utility company, ENGIE has begun operations the 100MW Kathu Solar Park located in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa.

Considered one of the largest renewable energy projects in the country, the solar park will supply clean energy to 179,000 homes in the province and prevent six million tons of CO2 emissions over the next 20 years, the company said on Wednesday. 

Eskom secures $1.1 bn loan

South Africa’s power utility company, Eskom, has secured a $1.1 billion credit facility with a consortium of local and international banks, it said in a statement released on Friday.
With a reported $30 billion debt still to be serviced, the company said the loan would form part of the financing of its current expenditure program.

ANGOLA

Seadrill enters into JV with Sonangol

Deepwater drilling contractor Seadrill on Wednesday announced that it has entered into a 50/50 joint venture (JV) with Sonangol’s Empresa de Serviços e Sondagens de Angola.
The JV, which will function under the name Sonadrill, will operate drillships in Angola’s important deepwater basin for an initial period of five years.

Sonangol to sell major assets

Angola’s national oil company Sonangol is reportedly close to privatizing its share in block 32 offshore Angola.

According to the Mozambique Resources Post, Sonangol is close to selling its 30 percent stake in block 32 in efforts order to reduce debts and invest elsewhere in the oil sector. As the largest offshore development in Angola, Block 32 will require an estimated investment of $16 billion in the coming years.

Angola’s national oil and gas agency is now official

Angola’s National Oil, Gas and Biofuel’s Agency (ANPG) has officially launched through the Presidential decree 49/19 of February 6, and has been gazetted in Angola’s national journal.

The ANPG’s principal responsibility is to act as the national concessionaire of hydrocarbons in Angola, a role previously held by the country’s national oil company Sonangol.

Equatorial Guinea

Equatorial Guinea to offer 13 blocks in licensing round

Equatorial Guinea will offer up to 13 deepwater and ultra deepwater blocks in its upcoming April licensing round, said the Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons in a statement on Tuesday.
H.E. Gabriel Obiang Lima said that the licensing round will offer at least seven blocks, with six additional blocks to be offered if they are reclaimed from concession holders before April 1. The offer will also include an invitation for companies to establish joint ventures for operating a block and related gas development.

Morocco

Morocco showcases hydrocarbon potential

Office National des Hydrocarbures et des Mines (ONHYM), Morocco’s national oil company, on Thursday launched its second oil and gas national summit. Set up in line with the country’s objectives of becoming an energy hub in the coming years, the summit brings together ministers and representatives from several African countries, as well as the private sector, and aims to promote Morocco’s petroleum sector.

Although it neighbors oil and gas giant, Algeria; Morocco boasts strong, relatively untouched potential. Amina Benkhadra, Director-General of ONHYM, expressed during her opening statement: “With total exploration acreage close to 737,850.4km2 and a diversified portfolio of prospects which have not undergone drilling, Morocco displays a wide array of opportunities offshore Mediterranean and Atlantic and onshore, in the Paleozoic and the Cenozoic.”

Nigeria, Morocco rig up west Africa pipeline project

The Front End Engineering and Design for the West African Gas Pipeline (WAGP) will be finished by the end of the first quarter this year, according to Dr Ibe Kachikwu, Nigeria’s Minister of Petroleum Resources.

The WAGP was the core focus of one of three cooperation agreements Nigeria signed with Morocco in 2018. The pre-existing pipeline takes its source in Nigeria and provides natural gas to Togo, Benin and Ghana through a 678km network. Initially proposed in 1982, it took over 25 years to be put in service. WAGP’s extension could take up to 25 years to build over several phases, as indicated by both countries concerned.