Progress At Last For Kingdom Of Eswatini's Energy Mix Dream

By: Koketso Lediga

After a long wait, the Kingdom of Eswatini issued a request for the qualification and development of a 40MW solar PV plant to be developed via the First Tranche Procurement Programme and a 40MW biomass-to-energy plant to be developed via the Second Tranche Procurement Programme.

Surprisingly, the announcement was made public through the Eswatini Energy Regulatory Authority (ESERA) and not the Eswatini Electricity Company on the 7thof June 2019. The later is a state-owned utility previously known as Swaziland Electricity Company (SEC) and currently operates a number of hydropower plants with an estimated installed capacity of 60MW to date. Needless to say, the generated power levels are inadequate since it provides a mere 10% to the Kingdom's electricity demand.

The request for qualification comes delayed given that Eswatini has publicised its intent to have a 46MW solar PV power plant online since 2017. However, the decision is an important one for this developing country and it being it closer towards reducing the country's reliance on imported power from utilities such as EDM (Electricidade de Moçambique) and Eskom. 

This request could not have been issued at a better time taking into consideration the recent events in Mozambique and South Africa. The two utilities have an undisputed record that indicates their inability to provide steady or uninterrupted electricity for those within their borders.

Eswatini's decision to act on its past commitment to invest in renewable energy and expand the ratio of renewables in the country's electricity to 50% by no later than 2030 can only yield positive results for its population that amounts to roughly 1.42 million. It is beyond doubt that energy is the lifeblood of any economy as it is an input to practically every product or service produced across all sectors.

Research has proven that there is a direct correlation between energy/electricity and economic growth. I would unashamedly argue that it is both the bloodline and backbone of a country and a thriving economy. 

Given the long standing energy crisis in Eswatini, an unlimited natural resource such as solar is the most feasible backup to recover the lost economic opportunities for the country. Solar energy is available in abundance on a continent like Africa. It is still puzzling that most African countries have not exploited this resources.

Even more so puzzling for a country like Eswatini that has more than one successful hydro power plan. ESERA has taken a wise move to embrace solar power as a strategy to hedge against unreliable and instable electricity supply and prices.

A further benefit of a diversified power generation approach means that Eswatini can rely less on imported power while creating more jobs for locals for the construction and operation of the plant. Basically, Eswatini's decision will curb unemployment levels, improve productivity and improve the citizen's standard of living and increase the economy's GDP.

The project is set to be consigned by 2020 and one would hope that the procurement process is not granted further deferment. Additionally, and imperatively, an appropriate procurement strategy and contracting method is used, which encourages collaboration and cooperation between ESERA, the successful bidder, subcontractors, funders, operator and all consultants to ensure that the project is not riddled with cost and time overruns.

Following the development and publication MNRE's Energy Master Plan, the country should be more intentional in the future to encourage, support and implement public & private sector driven projects and increase local generation of renewable energy.

While the project is an answer as well as solution for the country's transient energy needs and the risk attached to the reliance on imported electricity, its long term strategy seeks to raise awareness for the evolution of home-grown renewable energy projects. Renewable energy will meet the country's environmental clean energy goals which will reinforce economic growth.

Since the current master plan expands over a period of 20 years, my hope is that the Eswatini government not only invites the private sector to contribute to the energy generation and distribution efforts but that it creates a conducive environment for participation. 

Koketso Lediga is the Managing Director & Lead Consultant, Infra-Afrika Advisory, Sandton

Angola's To Push For Angola's Gas Monetization At Gas Exporting Countries Forum

In a major development for the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF), President João Lourenço of Angola will attend and address the fifth annual summit, hosted by Equatorial Guinea as part of its "Year of Energy."

Angola joined the GECF as an observing member in November 2018. President's Lourenço active participation in this year's summit reflects the growing importance of the natural gas sector to his administration's long-term plan to grow and diversify Africa's third largest economy.

Angola's oil sector has faced challenges in recent years. Production has fallen from a peak of 1.9m barrels per day in 2010 to just above 1.4m bopd. Furthermore, with limited refining capacity, Angola's large oil production has done little to power the economy's industrial sector, leading to fuel shortages like the one which hit Luanda recently.

Upon taking office in September 2017, President Lourenço's priorities were clear: reform oil and grow gas.

In May 2018, President Lourenço issued a presidential decree which included specific policies to attract new investment into the natural gas sector. This includes a five percent tax on gas production, compared to ten percent for oil; as well as a 15 percent income tax rate for non-associated gas (compared with a 25 percent rate for associated gas and oil). These attractive incentives, combined with a reformed licensing process and a renewed focus on reducing corruption, have put Angolan gas on the map.

There is presently just one operational gas facility in the country, located in Soyo, at the mouth of the Congo River. The Angola Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) plant is a $12 billion joint venture between Sonangol, Chevron, BP, Eni and Total; it has the capacity to produce 5.2 million tons of LNG per annum, according to the company website [1]. But with proven natural gas reserves of 383 billion cubic meters, there is massive growth potential in this sector.

Equatorial Guinea To Build West Africa's First LNG Storage Plant

Located at the Port of Akonikien, the landmark regasification plant will enable the storage, transportation and distribution of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to the country's mainland.

12 bullet tanks will carry 14,000 cubic meters of storage capacity, supported by a truck loading station and 12-kilometers of ten-inch gas and diesel pipelines.

The project will be led by local construction and engineering firm Elite Construcciones; The project forms part of Equatorial Guinea's regional LNG2Africa initiative which seeks to drive gas monetization through in-country gas-to-power projects.

Equatorial Guinea is set to construct the first liquefied natural gas (LNG) storage and regasification plant in West Africa, advancing efforts to monetize gas resources through the creation of a domestic gas-to-power infrastructure.

Located at the Port of Akonikien on the country's mainland, the plant will enable the transportation and storage of LNG from the EG LNG plant at the Punta Europa Gas Complex on Bioko Island, to Akonikien on the southern border of the mainland.

It will then be fed into the regasification plant to be distributed to smaller-scale power plants and LNG power stations throughout the country, as well as exported to neighboring countries.

The Akonikien project is the first gas-to-power development in Equatorial Guinea's LNG2Africa initiative. Launched by the Ministry of Mines and Hydrocarbons in 2018, the initiative seeks to facilitate the production and trade of LNG through the creation of a domestic gas-to-power infrastructure and intra-African LNG industry.

Spearheaded by local construction and engineering firm Elite Construcciones, the plant will have a storage capacity of 14,000 cubic meters with 12 bullet tanks.

The tanks are currently the largest factory-built cryogenic bullet tanks in the world with a capacity of 1,228 cubic meters and dimensions of  31 meters by 9.3 meters by 8.8 meters.

Built by American manufacturer Corban Energy Group, each tank is estimated to require 12 hours to complete the 12,000-meter distance from the port to the new plant.

Elite Construcciones is also installing a truck loading station and 12 kilometers of 10-inch gas and diesel pipelines.

Other major suppliers include pipe supplier PFF Group, who manufactured 12,400 meters of pipes, shipping agents D&B Shipping Ltd. who facilitated the shipment of 22 40-foot open-top containers, and Meakin Logistics UK.

Elite Construcciones also worked closely with German companies Noorwerk and ESC on the design and construction of the plant.

US Shows Appetite To Develop Africa's LNG

With record-breaking US gas production this year, and the promotion of gas as a "cleaner, cheaper" energy source a continued priority for the current White House, the US Department of Energy is now looking towards Africa to develop opportunities in the exploration, production and monetization of LNG.

In the words of Energy Secretary Rick Perry, "increased amounts of US LNG on the world market benefit the American economy, American workers, and consumers and help make the air cleaner around the globe."

Appetite for imported gas is growing steadily across the African continent. Just recently, South Africa announced plans to open its first LNG import terminal in 2024.

Meanwhile, US gas production is skyrocketing. Currently at 6 billion cubic feet (bcf) per day, production is forecast to grow to 10 bcf by the end of 2020. This confluence of circumstance makes Africa a common-sense partner for the US as it sets out to cement its position as an Energy superpower.

As part of this mission, Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy, Steven Winberg, will join 22 Pan-African ministers at the Africa Oil Week summit in Cape Town this November. He will use the event to share US energy policy points with the continent and outline a vision for deeper US commitment to Africa in the oil, gas and power sectors.

This vision looks set to encompass increased two-way trade and investment between the US and Africa, with the US making potential capital available on joint-ventures and to part-finance LNG infrastructure for energy-lacking African countries.

The announcement of Secretary Winberg's attendance to the summit comes alongside several major US private-sector investments into the African energy sector. ExxonMobil are making progress in Mozambique with their Rovuma LNG project in deepwater Area 4 block which contains more than 85 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

Particularly notable though is Anadarko's recent announcement of its Final Investment Decision (FID) to construct a $20 billion gas liquefaction and export terminal in Mozambique, the largest single LNG project approved in Africa. 

A representative from ExxonMobil will be covering the Rovuma LNG project in Mozambique at Africa Oil Week and there will be strong presence from ENH and INP at the conference. Africa Oil Week is putting a renewed focus on the place of gas, with 5 dedicated sessions dedicated solely to LNG in the event programme. 

Oyo Discovery Is A Game Changer For Congo And Africa

The recent onshore discovery made in the Delta de la Cuvette deposit in the Republic of Congo is a game-changer for Congo and Africa.

The discovery was announced on August 10th by SARPD Oil and PEPA, a Congolese consortium working as operators on the Block.

Early projections indicate that the discovered deposits could produce up to 359 million barrels of oil, or 983,000 bopd, from Congo’s central province.

This could in effect quadruple Congo’s production, which currently stands at over 330,000 bopd according to OPEC’s latest figures.

Production has been steadily increasing in recent years, with a target set by the government of reaching 400,000 bopd by 2020. 

“This is our first onshore discovery and it gives us a lot of hope that we shall make more discoveries especially now that we are to award more blocks for oil exploration in the ongoing oil licensing round,” said the H.E. Jean-Marc Thystère-Tchicaya, Minister of Hydrocarbons of the Republic of Congo

The Delta de la Cuvette deposit covers 9,392 m2 and comprises four wells, the first has been drilled in March of this year. When fully exploited, the license could propel Congo as Africa’s third largest oil producer, ahead of Algeria and Libya. 

“This is in effect one of the largest African oil discovery in decades,” declared Nj Ayuk, Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber and CEO at the Centurion Law Group.

“Africa has been an exploration hotspot where major oil & gas discoveries have been made in recent years by international explorers. The Oyo discovery in Congo, however, is the result of indigenous efforts made by Congolese companies.

It speaks volumes to the value that local content development can create when local companies and entrepreneurs are given an opportunity to contribute to their industry.

I want to urge the government to work with the industry to expedite the approvals for the necessary field development efforts. This is a win for Congo and for Africa.”

The discovery is also a game changer for Congo’s energy scenario, with most oil & gas production currently coming from offshore fields.

The Republic of Congo has been pushing for years to open up energy access to its central and northern provinces, notably through the planned 1,200km pipeline between Pointe Noire and Ouesso.

The exploitation of such large oil deposits in the centre of the country could open up a whole new energy frontier for Congo and the rest of the region.

The African Energy Chamber looks forward to seeing the full development of the license creating jobs for Congolese, and opportunities for Congolese companies and entrepreneurs to service one of Central Africa’s largest upcoming onshore development.

Such a discovery has the potential to spur considerable economic growth for Congo and its central and northern provinces, especially as the country keeps recovering from a recent economic crisis due to plummeting oil prices. The IMF predicts a GDP growth of 5.4% in 2019, the highest in Central Africa.

Congo has 2 billion barrels of proven oil reserves from about 20 fields being exploited and about 10 permits granted and waiting to be developed.

Its proven gas reserves stand at 200bn standard cubic metres over 20 years, according to the government, including 70bn of associated gas. While gas production stands at about 400bcf, various gas valorization and monetization projects are being supported by the government to generate diversification and economic growth.

Congo estimates that it can monetize about 100bn standard cubic metres of gas by integrating various gas valorization projects in the country via a gathering and transportation system which is to be operational by 2020.

Africa Oil Week, Releases 2019 Africa Oil And Gas Outlook

A report released by Africa Oil Week and Menas Associates about what lies in store for Africa’s oil and gas industry has concluded that, on balance, the continent’s economic performance is promising, particularly as global oil markets finally recover from their 2015-2016 lows.

Africa’s proven oil and gas reserves respectively account for 7.5% and 7.1% of global totals.

Experts predict that 2019 and beyond will see deep offshore exploration and mega gas finds, with the development of trans-continental pipelines, gas-to-power initiatives and refining potential.

The report delves into major trends for 2019, including political transitions and regional integration through the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (ACFTA) which promises to reduce barriers to intra-African trade, facilitate the movement of people and strengthening Africa’s prominence on the world stage.

A rosy picture is painted for natural gas as global consumption rises. Africa’s gas production grew by 8% between 2017 and 2018 – largely out of Egypt.

In terms of opportunities, sub-Saharan Africa’s two largest producers of oil – Nigeria and Angola – are expected to launch bidding rounds this year. Equatorial Guinea, Uganda, Gabon and Congo Brazzaville have ongoing rounds, Ghana launched its first licencing round at the 2018 edition of Africa Oil Week, and Madagascar is hoped to offer a number of blocks this year.

Africa Oil Week will feature two days dedicated to national showcases and bidding rounds at their upcoming event with 16 countries – including Côte d'Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea and Mozambique -presenting their national hydrocarbon sector to Africa Oil Week’s audience.

AfDB, South Sudan Recruit Centurion To Strengthen Oil & Gas Sector Capacity

Following an open tender and a highly competitive international bidding process, the African Development Bank through its African Legal Support Facility and the National Petroleum and Gas Commission, representing the government of the Republic of South Sudan, selected the Centurion Law Group to build capacity in the Republic of South Sudan’s oil and gas sector.

The project is a result of the ALSF’s commitment to foster legal and technical best practices and transparency across South Sudan’s oil & gas value chain. It will focus on providing specialized capacity building training to officials from the National Petroleum and Gas Commission, including the development of best practice procedures for the negotiation, evaluation and monitoring of contracts in the oil and gas sector.

As South Sudan continues to increase oil production – its most important export commodity – and attract foreign investment into its oil & gas sector, this project will enhance the National Petroleum and Gas Commission’s ability to fully exercise its functions as a regulator and a facilitator in the oil sector.

As per the South Sudan Petroleum Act of 2012, the National Petroleum and Gas Commission notably provides general policy direction with respect to petroleum resources, acts as a supervisory body in matters relating to petroleum resource management, approves all petroleum agreements on behalf of the Government and ensures that they are consistent with the Act.

“The National Petroleum and Gas Commission is a key institutional pillar of South Sudan’s oil & gas sector,” declared Hon. Caesar Oliha Marko, Chairperson of the Commission. “We are delighted to be working with a reputable firm like Centurion to enable our country’s oil industry to meet its obligation to our citizens and investors. Building capacity is key to us ensuring that we deliver on the promise of making oil work for everyone in South Sudan”.

The project will notably focus on reviewing South Sudan’s existing legal and fiscal framework and ensure the transfer of skills and know-how to the government’s representatives and experts.

“It is a real honor to have been selected for this project with the Petroleum Commission,” declared Nj Ayuk, CEO of the Centurion Law Group. “Local content development and domestic capacity building are at the core of everything we do as a firm.

We take this project as a unique opportunity to contribute to the development of South Sudan and Africa’s oil industry in general. We are grateful to the African Development Bank and the Republic of South Sudan for entrusting us with this responsibility.”

“As a team, we truly believe in the role the National Petroleum and Gas Commission has in shaping the future of South Sudan’s oil & gas sector,” said Glenda Irvine-Smith Centurion’s Director of Business Development & International Relations, who will coordinate the project on behalf of Centurion.

“South Sudan is East Africa’s most mature petroleum province with the potential to double its current output of over 150,000 b/d in the next five years. Through CenturionPlus, our lawyers and experts on-demand platform, we will mobilize the best African and international experts for the benefit of South Sudan. We are honoured to have been entrusted by the Commission and the African Development Bank to accompany South Sudan in this journey.”

Minister To Offer LNG Plant Construction Update Ahead Of Oil & Gas Congress

Tanzania’s Minister of Energy, Dr Medard Kalemani, has confirmed his attendance at the Tanzania Oil and Gas Congress this October where he will give updates on the recently announced plans for a syndicate of oil companies to commence construction of the $30bn LNG project in 2022.

In March, the government stated that it planned to complete negotiations with a group of international oil companies in September to develop the project. Led by Norwegian energy firm, and Platinum Sponsor of the Congress, Equinor, the group also consists of Royal Dutch Shell, ExxonMobil, Ophir Energy and Pavilion Energy.

These international companies will work closely on the project, alongside the state-run Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation (TPDC).

In a budget presentation to parliament, the Honourable Minister stated that the project aims to conclude in 2028 and will have the capacity to produce 10 million tonnes per annum of LNG.

Currently, each individual investor of the project is holding separate talks with the government negotiation team. These talks are expected to be finalised within seven months.

According to the Bank of Tanzania, work on the project will increase annual economic growth, which currently stands at around 7%, by another two percentage points. 

Those keen to learn more about the movements in Tanzania’s gas market would find it beneficial to attend the Tanzania Oil & Gas Congress, which brings together key players in Tanzania’s oil and gas value chain.

Delegates at the high-profile event, which takes place in Dar es Salaam on 2 – 3 October 2019, will be the first to hear about Tanzania’s exciting investment opportunities directly from the Minister of Energy, Government representatives, regulators and industry leaders.

Ocean Marine Solutions Ready To Partner With Ghana On Maritime Security

By Malise Otoo 

Rear Admiral Ameen A. Ikioda Rtd., Managing Director, Ocean Marine Solutions says his company is in readiness to provide dedicated maritime security for the Ghana Navy and other shipping companies in Ghana’s territorial waters. 

The company he explains is Nigeria's premium pioneer Private Maritime Security with over a decade experience in maintaining hundred per cent record success in deterring threats from piracy and terrorism within our dedicated locations. 
 
He was speaking in an interview on the sideline of the opening of the International Maritime Defence Exhibition and Conference here in Accra. 
 
He said, " The company provides logistics support to the Nigeria Navy for the security of dedicated Assets in Nigeria waters. Security of dedicated Assets means oil production platforms, shipping and we provide also export services for all vessels calling in Nigeria waters. We also provide security for ships that are being transferred. We have what we call in Lagos Second Anchorage Area to provide security to all vessels that are going to birth in Nigeria."
 
Asked of his expectation for the conference,Rear Admiral Ameen A. Ikioda Rtd said his outfit was looking at introducing its products to the Ghana Navy bearing in mind that Ghana has recently joined the league of Nations who have found oil in commercial quantities and have certain Assets at sea that needed 24 hrs protection and surveillance and therefore was ready to support the country with its own logistics to train Navy officer's in this regard.  
 
Again, the retired Admiral was quizzed about their market value in Nigeria in terms of their expertise, but, he was quick to respond to the affirmative that it is the only largest, pioneer and premium Maritime Security company with this operation in Nigeria.
 
The company has 42 security vessels ready for deployment anytime to anywhere within Africa.

South African Energy Minister Calls For Stable Regulatory Framework

A stable, predictable policy and regulatory framework must be created that will lead to investment and growth in South Africa's energy sector, says the country's Mineral Resources and Energy Minister, Gwede Mantashe.

Minister Mantashe was delivering his first energy budget speech in Parliament since the merging of his mineral resources portfolio with that of energy following South Africa's general election in May this year.

Announcing a budget of R7.44 billion for energy, the Minister noted that the sector had contributed negatively to overall economic growth in the first quarter of 2019, declining by 6.9% and making a 0.1% contribution to an overall GDP decline of 3.2%.

"Despite the present economic climate and stringent allocations, we must ascertain a secure and sustainable provision of energy," he said.

"In this context, (we must) utilise diverse energy resources in sustainable quantities at affordable prices, and mindful of environmental requirements, to support economic growth and development."

Legislation

The Minister re-iterated his announcement in recent weeks that work is under way to develop the Petroleum Resources Development Bill "to ensure we provide policy certainty for the upstream petroleum sector that is relatively new to our economy yet with great potential to grow GDP, contribute to the fiscus and create much needed jobs".

The Gas Amendment Bill, he said, intends to leverage available gas resources such as those in the Karoo and the recent discoveries in the Brulpadda field, assisting in the implementation of gas-to-power projects.

Integrated Resource Plan (IRP)

The IRP, which considers a diversified energy mix that includes all forms of energy technology such as cleaner coal, gas, hydro, renewables and battery storage, is in the process of being finalised at the National Economic Development and Labour Council (NEDLAC) and will be tabled before Cabinet for approval in September, the Minister said.

"As a country, we must avoid the currently polarised debate on energy, pitted as coal against renewables. The debate should be about the effective use of all of the energy sources at our disposal, to achieve security of supply."

Development of a gas industry

To mitigate the impact of rising electricity prices on the cost of doing business in South Africa, greater use of natural gas is being explored, the Minister said.

While most of the country's current supply of natural gas is from imports via the pipeline of the Mozambique Pipeline Investment Company (ROMPCO), more economical options need to be explored, including acceleration of South Africa's own natural gas exploration activities.

Meantime, Mozambique will be engaged on the possibility of increasing and extending the supply of gas beyond 2023 and the importation of liquified natural gas (LNG) via the Coega Industrial Development Zone will be implemented.

Charting a successful way forward for South Africa's oil and gas sector, building on the excitement of the Brulpadda Discovery, local content and increased gas to power potential will be at the forefront of discussions at the South Africa Showcase, a new feature for Africa Oil Week 2019 (Africa-OilWeek.com).

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