Chevron's E. Guinea, Cameroon Entry Could Be Turning Point for Central Africa's Gas Industry

The recently-announced acquisition of Noble Energy by Chevron for $13bn gives the American major entry into Equatorial Guinea's oil & gas sector, where Noble Energy has interests in the Alba Field (33% non-operated WI and 32% revenue interest), Block O (Alen Field 51% operated WI and 45% revenue interest) and Block I (Aseng Field, 40% operated WI and 38% revenue interest).

These assets in Equatorial Guinea represent 94 million barrels of oil equivalent of proved developed reserves and 38 million barrels of oil equivalent of proved undeveloped reserves. In addition, Noble Energy was also the operator Block YoYo in Cameroon and of the deepwater Block Doujou Dak (60% WI) in Gabon, where it was in the process of evaluating recently acquired 3D seismic data.

The acquisition has raised several concerns and questions, mostly because these assets are currently subject the CEMAC region's most ambitious gas development project. While the Alba Field has been feeding gas into Equatorial Guinea's Punta Europa complex for decades, including the EG LNG Plant, the AMPCO methanol plant and the Alba LPG plant, its declining reserves have led to the development of the Alen and Aseng fields as alternative sources of gas. In 2019, Noble Energy was at the heart of a groundbreaking agreement to launch the Alen Monetization Project, expected to ensure continued and stable gas supply to Equatorial Guinea's LNG and downstream revenue-generating infrastructure.

The project is still on track for delivery in 2021 and is the first step of the development of a much broader offshore gas mega-hub in the Gulf of Guinea. This regional gas hub would ultimately include the development of the Yolanda and YoYo discoveries located in Equatorial Guinea's Block I and Cameroon's YoYo Block, both operated by Noble.

The scheme is one of the most ambitious cross-border gas venture in Africa, and Noble's acquisition by Chevron has the industry worried about the future of the project under new operatorship. However, the African Energy Chamber believes that the entry of Chevron as operator for the offshore gas mega-hub could be transformational for the future of gas in Central Africa, especially at a time when Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon, Gabon and Congo are all multiplying efforts to monetize their domestic gas reserves.

Chevron is indeed a true gas player in the African market. In Nigeria, it has been leading natural gas commercialization efforts for decades through its Escravos projects targeting the monetization of 18Tcf of gas. These have resulted in the Escravos Gas-to-Liquids facility and the Escravos Gas Plant, both cornerstones of Nigeria's gas development strategy.

In Angola's Block 0 and Block 14, Chevron has demonstrated a remarkable ability to invest in cutting flaring and monetizing gas. In block 0, it still operates what is the world's largest LPG FPSO vessel, turning previously flared gas into cleaner fuels for Africans and the for the world.

"What we need now is a pragmatic commonsense approach that welcomes credible investors and see gas taking the lead in economic development and industrialization, therefore the entry of Chevron is extremely welcomed and should be accepted by all stakeholders," said NJ Ayuk, Executive Chairman at the African Energy Chamber.

"Transaction and projects approvals should not be unnecessarily delayed, ensuring a quick and efficient takeover in the region so ongoing gas projects are not affected. This acquisition gives the region a very experienced and credible gas player with tried, true and tested solutions to support our gas ambitions. The Chamber believes that fast tracking approvals and driving commonsense measures around this deal will make the industry work," added Ayuk.

"From its Nigerian and Angolan presence, Chevron understands the issues and opportunities of developing African content. We expect its entry to be beneficial from a local content and capacity building perspective," said Leoncio Amada NZE, President for the CEMAC region at the African Energy Chamber.

"We hope that the authorities in Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea can do an efficient and fast track due diligence process, and ensure that Noble meets all its obligations to exit and create a seamless transition for Chevron. This is an opportunity for our public authorities to demonstrate their commitment to empowering investment and move away from an era of uncertainty to give confidence to future investors and stay competitive," concluded Amada NZE.

South Sudan Promotes Energy Investment, Economic Prosperity Showcase

South Sudan has set 2020 as a year of peace and growth, underlined by the formation of the unity government as well as its active oil and gas sector and sizeable exploration opportunities.

Before COVID-19 sent the global energy sector into turmoil, the swearing in of the new transitional government on February 22, 2020 sealed the 2018 peace deal and united South Sudan's opposition parties, leading the country to elections in three years. In the oil and gas sector, Hon. Puot Kang Chol was appointed as the new Petroleum Minister and a licensing round was about to be launched.

Although the pandemic has delayed these initiatives, South Sudan's commitment to energy prosperity has not weakened. A key part of this effort is the South Sudan Oil & Power (SSOP) Conference & Exhibition 2021, the country's official energy event, which will take place on June 29-30, 2021, following a rescheduling due to COVID-19.

SSOP's 2021 theme is #InCountryValue and the conference aims to highlight South Sudan's ambitious plan to implement a solid local content framework and to create an enabling environment for partnership and investment from international firms.

The conference will bring together top executives from the local as well as regional and international markets. As a proven oil producing region, the country aims to attract more foreign investment while building its local capabilities, thanks to regained peace and an improved business environment.

In previous years SSOP has welcomed ministerial and high level commercial missions, and official representation, from the US, Norway, Egypt, Sudan, Kenya, Ethiopia, Equatorial Guinea and South Africa.

In order to showcase its drive to increase oil production, electricity coverage and build local capacity, AOP and the African Energy Chamber are hosting a special webinar on July 27 under the theme Preserving Economic Progress in the Face of COVID-19.

Bringing together top executives from the country's energy and finance sectors, the webinar will touch on COVID-19's impact on South Sudan's exploration opportunities, including an upcoming licensing round to be launched in 2020. The resumption of production slowed by COVID-19, foreign investment, as well the long-term local capacity building and power projects will be key areas of discussion.

AfDB Joins $20bn Mozambique LNG Financing

The African Development Bank has concluded its bid to co-finance the construction of Mozambique's integrated Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) plant by signing a senior loan of $400 million for the transformational project.

The Mozambique LNG Area 1 Project, estimated to cost over $20 billion, is ranked Africa's single largest foreign direct investment to date. It comprises a global team of energy developers and operators, led by Total alongside Mitsui, Oil India, ONGC Videsh Limited, Bharat Petroleum, PTT Exploration, as well as Mozambique's national oil and gas company, ENH.

With the signing on 15 July, the Bank joins a global syndicate of commercial banks, development finance institutions and export credit agencies to provide the requisite financing for the project. Financial close is expected later in 2020.

The project, which benefits from one of the world's largest natural gas reserves off the coast of northern Mozambique, will be the country's first liquefied natural gas development. It will initially consist of two LNG trains with a total capacity of around 13 million tons per annum.

As well as being transformational for the energy sector in Mozambique, the project is expected to have broader socio-economic benefits for the country.

"Signing the Mozambique LNG Area 1 agreement heralds a new age of industrialization for Mozambique," said Abdu Mukhtar, the Director of the Bank's Industrial & Trade Development Department. He noted that gas purchasers, such as fertilizer plants, had the potential for improving regional and global competitiveness.

The project comprises both onshore and offshore components, which will be funded by a combination of equity, pre-completion cashflows and over $14 billion in senior debt facilities. The senior debt consists of a mix of Export Credit Agency (ECA) direct loans, commercial bank loans and the facility from the Bank, the only multilateral development institution involved in the project's first phase.

Wale Shonibare, the Bank's Director for Energy Financial Solutions, Policy and Regulation, said the project would create a new energy model in Mozambique and help to electrify Southern Africa." Through the availability of domestic gas, the project stands to facilitate the development of gas-fired electricity in Mozambique. This will play a key role in providing reliable and affordable energy for the country and the wider region," said Shonibare.

The Bank played a crucial role in requiring compliance with strict environmental and social standards, in addition to working on SME and gender-development in Mozambique and promoting adherence to international best practices. The Bank's involvement is consistent with its country strategy in Mozambique, which aims to leverage natural resource development and investment in sustainable infrastructure.

Overall, the project will improve livelihoods, spur economic growth and boost universal electricity access, in line with one of the Bank's High 5 strategic priorities, Light Up and Power Africa, Bank officials said.

The Bank's Acting General Counsel, Souley Amadou, commented: "This is a first in class transaction that sets a new standard for mega-projects on the African continent. The collaboration and unity of purpose between the sponsors, Government of Mozambique, the financing parties and advisors were truly remarkable."

Natural Gas To Change Africa, Says African Energy Chamber Committee

In continuation of recent announcements on the African Energy Chamber's Advisory Board (2020 – 2021), the Chamber is delighted to announce the nominations on its Natural Gas Committee.

The committee will be instrumental in advising the Chamber on several projects and initiatives to boost investments into gas infrastructure across the continent, and develop gas awareness campaigns to drive up demand and consumption. The Natural Gas Committee of the Chamber's Advisory Board is made up of:

Nosizwe Nokwe-Macamo, Executive Chairman & Founder, Raise Africa Investments

Jorg Kohnert, Managing Director, Jagal Energy

Eric Williams, President, Royal Triangle Energy Solutions

Ann Norman, General Manager – Africa, Pioneer Energy

Pierre Raillard, Head of Business Development, Orca Exploration

Jeff Goodrich, former CEO, OneLNG and former COO, Perenco

Committee members gather decades of experience in the public and private sector all across Africa, and share a common belief in the power of natural gas to propel Africa's economic development.

From Senegal to South Africa, natural gas is taking an increasingly important place within the continent's energy mix. Africa is home to the world's largest recent gas discoveries, especially in Senegal and Mozambique, and governments across the continent are increasingly recognizing the benefits of using African gas to drive economic growth.

However, most of Africa's gas had remained undeveloped or exported, and its potential to generate local value has remained underexploited. The African Energy Chamber is on a mission to support and expand several gas monetization and valorization initiatives such as: increasing the use of CNG in transport, expanding PNG networks for households and industries, developing small-scale LNG infrastructure, supporting deals on gas-to-power, petrochemicals and fertilizers, and improving access to data on gas supply and demand in the continent.

"Natural gas has been good as an export commodity for African economies such as Nigeria or Equatorial Guinea. But good is not enough anymore as we recover from the most severe industry and economic crisis in recent history. The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the massive potential of natural gas to support Africa's energy transition, create jobs and generate business opportunities for African equipment and services providers.

The African Energy Chamber has put the development of strong African gas markets to the forefront of its priorities and we are honoured to be supported in this mission by such esteemed committee members," declared Nj Ayuk, Executive Chairman at the African Energy Chamber.

Kenya Power Appoints Eng. Elizabeth Rogo To Its Board

Eng. Elizabeth Rogo, Founder & CEO of TSAVO Oilfield Services and President for East Africa at the African Energy Chamber has been appointed Non-Executive Director on the Board of Kenya Power and Lighting Plc, Kenya's state utility company.

Kenya Power has been making steady progress towards providing safe, secure and reliable electricity to Kenyan households and industries for several years. The company is a key pillar of the country's Vision 2030, which aims to transform Kenya into a newly industrializing, middle-income nation. By handling most of Kenya's power transmission and distribution, Kenya Power is the most crucial fighter against energy poverty in the country.

"Elizabeth is solidly pro-energy for all and for economic expansion. Elizabeth understands that having sustainable power is key for creating jobs and spreading economic prosperity across Kenya. We have no doubt that she will bring the highest ethical standards to executing her job," stated NJ Ayuk, Executive Chairman at the African Energy Chamber.

"I am equally thankful to H.E. President Uhuru Kenyatta for his leadership in the energy industry, and to shareholders for appointing someone who has become a role model for many in our industry, especially for young women entrepreneurs. We sincerely congratulate her on this appointment," added Ayuk.

Eng. Elizabeth Rogo's appointment is yet another demonstration of her ability to build consensus around key energy issues in Kenya and East Africa.  Elizabeth is the Founder & Chief Executive Officer of TSAVO Oilfield Services, and has over 19 years of international experience in oil & gas engineering, operations, project management, consultancy and business development.

She has worked for the sector's most renowned global companies including BJ Services, Baker Hughes and Weatherford International in Canada, the USA, Europe and Africa.

Mozambique, African Energy Chamber Agree On Local Content Development

The African Energy Chamber and the Mozambican Oil & Gas Chamber (CPGM) have signed a cooperation agreement to support the development of local content in Mozambique and the attraction of investments into key segments of the country’s energy industry.

With multi-billion dollar LNG projects under-construction, including Coral South FLNG and Mozambique LNG, the country is on its way to become a global gas market and competitive African energy frontier. Ongoing developments, and potential future ones such as Rovuma LNG, have the potential to transform the Mozambican economy not only through the generation of revenues for the state, but also through the monetization of domestic gas across industries.

As it is the case with other upcoming African producers such as Senegal or Uganda, Mozambique has a unique opportunity to propel its economic growth via the sound development of its natural resources. However, such a journey will be successful only if beneficial to the local economy, local goods and services, and local jobs creation. Only by building domestic capacity, promoting an enabling environment for investors, and adopting best industry practices can Mozambique succeed in becoming the energy frontier the continent is hoping for.

In order to assist Mozambique’s nascent hydrocarbons industry to build capacity, develop sustainable business models and attract investment, the African Energy Chamber has signed a cooperation agreement with the newly-established Mozambican Oil & Gas Chamber. Both institutions have agreed to join their resources and efforts in order to support technology transfers, attract investments across the value-chain and promote joint-venture and partnerships between local companies and regional and international firms.

“Mozambique has already set an example of sound policy and governance, which is why key FIDs have been successfully taken and major infrastructure projects are currently under-construction. However, true sustainability will come from the local value generated by such developments.

The African Energy Chamber applauds the Government of Mozambique for taking all initiatives to build domestic capacity, and intends to work closely with the private sector via its partnership with the Mozambican Oil & Gas Chamber to offer all possible support to the development of the Mozambican gas industry,” declared Nj Ayuk, Executive Chairman at the African Energy Chamber.

“The Mozambican Oil & Gas Chamber is growing rapidly in order to represent Mozambique’s private sector and advocate for the sustainable development of our hydrocarbons reserves. We believe that partnerships and a strong public-private dialogue are what will make the development of our industry a successful one and create jobs for Mozambican women and men. We look forward to our cooperation with the African Energy Chamber and to leverage on their global network to promote Mozambique as an energy investment destination,” stated Florival Mucave, Chairman of the Mozambican Oil & Gas Chamber.

US-Africa Energy Advisory Committee To Push Energy Dialogue and Investment

The African Energy Chamber has appointed a US-Africa Committee to serve on its Advisory Board and support the development of stronger energy cooperation and investment between the United States and Africa.

Serving in their personal capacities, the members of the US-Africa Committee gather several decades of experience in government and the private sector from both sides of the Atlantic, and share a passion for Africa and its development. They include:

Reginal "Reg"​ Spiller, CEO, Azimuth Energy Investments LLC
Kola Karim, CEO, Shoreline Energy International
Rogers Beall, Executive Chairman and CEO, Africa Fortesa Corporation
Jude Kearney, President, Kearney Africa
C. Derek Campbell, CEO, Energy & Natural Resource Security, Inc.
Alicia Robinson-Morgan, Managing Director for Africa, Millenium Challenge Corporation
Akinwole Omoboriowo II, Chairman and CEO, Genesis Energy Group
Ann Norman, General Manager – Africa, Pioneer Energy
R. Dean Foreman, Chief Economist, American Petroleum Institute

The African Energy Chamber truly believes that the potential for capital, expertise and technology transfers between the US and Africa is under-exploited. While Power Africa remains to date the most successful initiative to develop Africa's energy sector by tapping into American capital and technology, more can be done in light of the continent's continued energy poverty.

From exploration to gas infrastructure, and from power technology to energy funding, the United States remain a global leader that has much to bring to Africa under the right partnerships and joint-ventures that can support local content development and jobs creation.

"The largest but also most recent discoveries in Africa were made by bold and capable American companies who have proven time and again that betting on Africa bears fruits. At times when the continent seeks to develop much stronger gas value chains and attract investment into midstream and downstream infrastructure, we need to look back at the United States and develop stronger partnerships.

As Africa embraces energy transition, a substantial part of the capital needed to develop cleaner energy solutions also lies with American companies and institutions," declared Nj Ayuk, Executive Chairman at the African Energy Chamber.

The US-Africa Committee is the first committee on the African Energy Chamber's Advisory Board to be announced. The Chamber has put together leading industry experts, executives and public representatives to support several initiatives over the course of 2020 and 2021, such as local content development, natural gas and energy transitions, the promotion of an enabling environment and the expansion of exploration activities.

Hope For Quick Resolution Of Disagreements Over Fuel Shortages In Tanzania

The African Energy Chamber expresses its concerns over the alleged arrest and detention of three energy executives in Tanzania last week.

Total Tanzania’s Managing Director Jean-Francois Schoepp, Puma Supply Manager Adam Eliewinga and Oryx’s representative August Dominick were arrested for questioning and taken into custody while attending a consultative meeting between oil marketers and the Energy and Water Regulatory Authority (Ewura) in Dar es Salaam. 

The African Energy Chamber is calling for the respect of the rule of law, and asking that they be afforded all due processes as required by Tanzanian law. Given how critical these times are the ongoing economic crisis across the continent because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Chamber is hoping for a quick and amicable resolution to such disagreements that are detrimental to Tanzanian citizens.

“We hope that any ongoing disagreement between oil marketers and the Tanzanian government will be quickly resolved so everyone can get back to business and to providing services to Tanzanian consumers. The Chamber has repeatedly applauded Tanzania for its strike in discovering significant gas resources.

With the right infrastructure, Tanzania’s natural resources could transform the country into an oasis of energy growth. We do not want to see such isolated incidents affect the attractiveness of the country for foreign investors and ultimately affect the its energy independence and slow down jobs creation,” declared Nj Ayuk, Executive Chairman at the African Energy Chamber.

The Chamber will remain open to assisting all parties in reaching an amicable solution to ongoing disagreements and calls on all stakeholders to promote a stronger dialogue on ongoing matters of fuel supply across Tanzania. 

Atlas Petroleum Resumes Development Of OML109 In Nigeria

Over the weekend, Atlas Petroleum International has resumed work over activities and well interventions on OML 109 in Nigeria in order to enhance production from the Ejulebe marginal field.

Awarded to Atlas Petroleum International in 1991, the block entered into production through the development of the Ejubele discovery in September 1998.

OML 109 comprises 14 identified and mapped prospects and leads, and an un-risked resource potential in excess of 500 million barrels of oil equivalent.

Its low cost operating environment in shallow water and proximity to existing oil and gas infrastructure such as the Escravos Terminal make it one of the most attractive assets in the Niger Delta, with significant untapped and under-explored hydrocarbons potential.


“The renewed development of OML109 will bring a boost to local content development in Nigeria, and support the industry’s recovery following the Covid-19 crisis. As Nigeria multiplies efforts to build domestic capacity and develop the Nigerian content, we intend to live up to expectations as one of the country’s major indigenous player”, declared Prince Arthur Eze, Executive Chairman or Atlas Oranto.

“We expect the ongoing wells interventions on OML 109 to deliver quick wins on the recovery and enhancement of production from the field, and express our thanks to the Department of Petroleum Resources for facilitating all permits,” he concluded.

Atlas Petroleum International and Oranto Petroleum represent one of Africa’s largest Nigerian and privately-held exploration and production group. The companies currently have an extensive footprint across the African continent, holding 22 oil and gas licenses in 12 jurisdictions.

European Travel Bans Hurting Oil & Gas Ability To Support Africa's Economic Recovery

The continuation of travel restrictions and suspension of visas and travel between Africa and Europe is heavily restraining the oil & gas industry's recovery efforts.

Because of its international nature, the oil & gas sector relies on global value-chains and successful cooperation and movement of people, goods and services between foreign and local contractors.

The ongoing travel bans and restrictions of visa issuance are de facto preventing a lot of projects to move forward and to successfully contribute to the recovery of the continent.

Major international oil companies such as Total, BP, Shell, Eni, ExxonMobil, Chevron or Equinor and independents such as Kosmos Energy, BW Energy, Maurel & Prom or Tullow Oil that operate a major share of Africa's daily oil and gas production are currently unable to operate fully and safely because of such travel restrictions.

Similarly, they directly impact the operations of the major international services and EPC companies supposed to work on major projects, such as Saipem, TechnipFMC, Schlumberger or Halliburton.

"We cannot base our recovery narrative and hopes on the oil & gas sector and at the same time forbid the movement and travel of the workers and employees supposed to make that recovery happen," declared Nj Ayuk, Executive Chairman at the African Energy Chamber.

"We are urgently calling for pragmatism and the adoption of realistic measures that put workers' safety and economic recovery at the center of public and travel policies priorities," he added.

From West to Southern Africa, landmark energy projects worth billions of dollars have been delayed because of the ongoing pandemic of Covid-19 and its subsequent lockdowns and travel restrictions. 

However, and as economies gradually reopen, a new wave of travel restrictions, especially on the issuance of visas between Europe and Africa, is adding up to the list of challenges the industry faces to play its key role in the continent's economic recovery.

Such restrictions are threatening the efficient operations of global value-chains whose functioning is critical to enable Africa's energy projects to move forward. The continuation of travel restrictions and suspension of visas and travel between Africa and Europe is heavily restraining the oil & gas industry's recovery efforts.

Because of its international nature, the oil & gas sector relies on global value-chains and successful cooperation and movement of people, goods and services between foreign and local contractors. The ongoing travel bans and restrictions of visa issuance are de facto preventing a lot of projects to move forward and to successfully contribute to the recovery of the continent.

Major international oil companies such as Total, BP, Shell, Eni, ExxonMobil, Chevron or Equinor and independents such as Kosmos Energy, BW Energy, Maurel & Prom or Tullow Oil that operate a major share of Africa's daily oil and gas production are currently unable to operate fully and safely because of such travel restrictions.

Similarly, they directly impact the operations of the major international services and EPC companies supposed to work on major projects, such as Saipem, TechnipFMC, Schlumberger or Halliburton.

"We cannot base our recovery narrative and hopes on the oil & gas sector and at the same time forbid the movement and travel of the workers and employees supposed to make that recovery happen," declared Nj Ayuk, Executive Chairman at the African Energy Chamber.

We are urgently calling for pragmatism and the adoption of realistic measures that put workers' safety and economic recovery at the center of public and travel policies priorities," he added.

From West to Southern Africa, landmark energy projects worth billions of dollars have been delayed because of the ongoing pandemic of Covid-19 and its subsequent lockdowns and travel restrictions. 

However, and as economies gradually reopen, a new wave of travel restrictions, especially on the issuance of visas between Europe and Africa, is adding up to the list of challenges the industry faces to play its key role in the continent's economic recovery.

Such restrictions are threatening the efficient operations of global value-chains whose functioning is critical to enable Africa's energy projects to move forward.

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