All posts tagged africa-petroleum


Attar, Algeria’s New Energy Minister, Is back to Familiar Haunts

The Algerian geologist, Abdelmadjid Attar, former CEO of Sonatrach, is his country’s new Minister of Energy.

He takes over from Mohamed Arkab, who has been posted to the less flambouyant Ministry of Mining.

The appointments were part of President Abdelmadjid Tebboune’s partial reshuffle within the government.

Attar was Chief Executive of Sonatrach, Africa’s largest state hydrocarbon company, between 1997 and 1999.

He reached the position after moving up the ranks, taking jobs with increasing responsibilities, including that of director of the exploration division.

Aged 74, Attar obtained the diploma of geological engineering in exploration and attended several trainings in economics and management. He is also the author of several specialized publications.

Mr. Attar is a widely sought-after hydrocarbons consultant in North Africa. He has expressed a keen interest in drawing International Oil Companies back to invest massively in the country.

 


Eland’s Bosses Didn’t Make it to Seplat

Bayo Ayorinde, Chief Executive of Eland Oil and Gas at the time of the merger with Seplat, chose not to move into the new arrangement.

So did Pieter Van Der Groen, who was Eland’s Director of Business Development and former Chief Operating Officer.

Seplat purchased Aberdeen based company Eland Oil & Gas for $480Million, in a move which led to the delisting of the latter from the AIM segment of the London Stock Exchange.

In the new arrangement, Eland’s 30,000Barrels of Oil Per Day operations will remain outside Seplat; the company will be run as a subsidiary of Seplat.

Ayorinde joined Eland as Managing Director of Nigerian operations in 2015, after serving in Operations and Maintenance (O&M) services for Oriental Energy.

He has a degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Ife and completed a General Management Programme at Harvard University. He started his career with Ashland and rose to the level of onshore Production Manager before leaving for Texaco Overseas where he served as Head of HR in Warri, the hub city in the Western Niger Delta. Afterwards, he worked for Moni Pulo and Allied Energy as Executive Director and COO before joining Afren in 2009. He was the Managing Director at Afren from 2011 before going to Oriental Energy.

Ayorinde currently freelances as a consultant for Seplat, as he prepares his next move.

Van Der Groen did not return calls.

Van Der Groen trained at the Universities of Auckland and Aberdeen, started his career with Schlumberger as a geologist in London, moving on to become a wireline engineer in South East Asia and West Africa. After his field work, he trained as a log analyst with Schlumberger in London for multiple clients. worked at Schlumberger Oilfield UK PLC. He moved to Amerada Hess initially as a Petrophysicist in the international team, then to technical and management roles. He then worked briefly with Gulfsands Petroleum in Syria as Deputy General Manager. In Nigeria he spent four years as General Manager of an independent oil company where he oversaw onshore development and production in the Niger Delta.

 

 

 


Mojapelo Takes Hold of BP’s Largest African Downstream Operations

BP has appointed Taelo Mojapelo as Chief Executive Officer of its Southern African business unit (BPSA).
The supply chain expert succeeds Priscillah Mabelane, the accountant who, reputably, is the first woman in the history of South Africa’s oil industry to head up a multinational company.

Mojapelo’s last job was Director as Customer Service & Logistics at Mondelez, a position she took up in June 2017.

She had worked at DHL, South African Breweries, SAPICS and Kellogg’s.

The choice of a supply chain specialist as CEO is indicative of BP Southern Africa’s customer-centric focus.

BP SA has over 500 service stations in South Africa alone, comprising of over 200 branded convenience stores.

BPSA owns, with Shell, the largest crude oil refinery in South Africa (the 180,000BOPD SAPREF), which is located in Durban, the seaside holiday town on the edge of the Indian Ocean. It also manufactures lubricants at an oil blending plant located in the city of Durban. The company operates nine depots and three coastal installations, as well as the largest rail gantry in Africa located in Pretoria with planned upgrades to key depots.

 


America’s Move Against Adesina’s Re-election, Fits A Pattern

By the Editorial Board of Africa Oil+Gas Report

With its negative reaction to the conclusions in the report of the ethics committee of the African Development Bank (AfDB), the United States has made a clear symbolic move against the re-election of Akinwumi Adesina as the Bank’s Chief Executive.

Adesina is running for a re-election in which he is his own opponent. Many believe he has done a good job, especially in the energy sector, but being a lone candidate isn’t a surefire guarantee he will return.

The poll was moved by the administrators from May to August 2020.

Elections to the Presidency of the continent’s top development bank is often fraught.

It is instructive that it is in this election year that a group of “worried employees” came up with a list of grievances to the Office of Integrity and the Fight against Corruption (PIAC) as well as the Chairmen of the Ethics Committee and Audit Finance Committee, alleging that Mr. Adesina has violated the code of ethics, citing a number of questionable contracts and dubious appointments on Adesina’s watch.  The Ethics Committee investigated the allegations and declared that “the President is totally exonerated of all allegations”.

That clean bill should ordinarily provide the wind behind his sail.

But in a letter sent on May 22 to Kaba Nialé, the Ivorian Minister of Planning and Development and the president of the board of governors of the AfDB, Steven Mnuchin, the American secretary of the Treasury, says that the United States “urges the initiation of a full investigation into these allegations by using the services of an independent external investigator”.

To continue on the job, Adesina must win a double majority of African and non-African shareholders in a maximum of five rounds.

As of February 2020, Adesina had obtained the unanimous support of the Executive Council of the African Union, composed of 55 foreign ministers.

On the strength of his personal charisma, he was coasting to victory.

But there has to be other ways to stop him, the Trump administration, in its tendency for bringing down talented Africans at the helm of supranational institutions, thinks.

The whistleblowers who reported him to the ethics committee, had been suspected, all along, to have been instigated by the United States. As they were laying down the accusations, they were charging the ethics committee of an inability to be neutral.

And you could read, from Mr. Mnuchin’s letter, that these allegations are the US’ ammunition to stop Adesina from getting a re-election.

“Given the scope, gravity and detail of the allegations against the sole candidate for leadership of the bank for the next five years, we believe that further investigation is necessary to ensure that it has broad support, trust and a clear shareholder mandate,” Mnuchin writes.


BP’s Top Man in North Africa Retires

Hesham Mekawi has decided to retire. The Egyptian engineer, who is BP’s Regional President for North Africa, is leaving after a career with the European oil giant spanning over 30 years.

Mekawi will leave at the end of 2020 to pursue non-executive director opportunities. He will continue in his current role until 1 July 2020 and will then spend 6 months as a senior advisor to ensure the smooth transition of leadership.

Hesham joined BP in 1990 and, in the early stages of his career, held a variety of commercial, economic analysis and business development roles in Cairo, Houston, Chicago and London. He led the consolidation of BP Egypt, BP Algeria and BP Libya to create the expanded BP North Africa Region in 2014. Hesham transformed the North Africa business by identifying and progressing complex growth opportunities and actively managing the portfolio.

Over the past 5 years, BP has invested $14Billion in Egypt delivering at its peak 60% of Egypt’s annual gas production together with its partners. Hesham has been recognized many times over the years, both internally and externally. Of particular note is that he and his team were awarded BP’s Helios award for “BP at its best”, in 2011.

Bernard Looney, BP CEO, commented that “Over the years BP has counted on Hesham’s vision and leadership to maintain and grow our business in North Africa. Hesham has always shown outstanding performance and progressive leadership supported by longstanding relationships with key stakeholders and business partners. His deep commitment to the development of people has served as an example to us all. Hesham has been instrumental in delivering on our plans over many years – regardless of the circumstances. We will miss him.”

 


Shell at the Brink: Never Let A Good Crisis Go to Waste

By Gerard Kreeft

Since April 1 2020 Elisabeth Brinton was appointed Executive Vice President of Shell’s New Energies business, steering the company’s work in power, renewables and lower-carbon technology. According to her Linked-In site, ”this role covers Shell’s work in wind and solar, new mobility options such as electric vehicle charging, and laying the foundation for an integrated lower-carbon power business” .
Brinton is a former Silicon Valley entrepreneur and utility industry veteran… She joined Shell in 2018 from AGL Energy, Australia’s largest integrated energy company, where she was Executive Vice President, New Energy.  She “helped to increase adoption of renewable energy, build the world’s first residential virtual power plant and grow and sell a profitable smart metering business”. Brinton also
was previously the Corporate Strategy Officer for PG&E Corporation, the US utility company that specialises in renewables, customer solar, energy efficiency and electric mobility.

She has a monumental task of developing Shell’s renewable energy strategy. The situation is grim, especially from a shareholder’s perspective. Shell’s share  price has plummeted. Earnings season is fast approaching and shareholders are anticipating their golden share dividend. Not since WWII has Shell reneged paying out such a dividend. Will it be able to continue this tradition?

The signs are not good. Shell’s cash deficit between 2010 and the 3rd Quarter of 2019 was $22.9Billion, based on a study released by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis. The other majors- BP, Chevron, ExxonMobil, and TOTAL- included had similar cash deficits. In total more than $200Billion! With a continued lower oil price, the future scenarios are bleak.

Shell plans to invest $2 – $3Billion a year on its power and low-carbon business compared with an overall spending budget of $30Billion per year between 2021 and 2025.

Prior to the current oil and gas crisis BloombergNEF estimated that investments in renewable energy in the period 2010-2019 was $2.6Trillion. Through 2025, $322Billion per annum would be spent, almost triple the $116Billion invested in fossil fuels. With most E &P budgets locked down future investments in the oil and gas sector look grim.

If there ever is a motivation to move on and recognize that renewables are the new boys on the block the time is now. To think that Shell, who are doing symbolic spending on renewables will survive is also an illusion. Shell continues to give a gold dividend and this will be paid for by debt financing, i.e. redundancies and the selling of more assets. In the meantime the share price continues to sink like a stone.

If you make a net comparison between Orsted, the Danish the Offshore Wind Farm giant and Shell then the following:

Shell’s latest share price (6 April 2020) was US$ 39

In May 2018 the share hit a high of $70

In other words, the share has lost almost half of its value.

Orsted’s share price on April 6, 2020 was $108

Orsted’s share price on July 1, 2016 was $35

In this period of time the share price has tripled, while Shell’s share lost almost 50% of its value.

True the Shell share continues to give shareholders a golden dividend of some 6%. Orsted for the last 4 years has only had a dividend of 1.68%.

Yet the true investment return must surely be seen in the spectacular and continued rise of the Orsted share which has tripled and has only had a small blimp in the current economic crisis. How long can Shell  afford this current policy? Simply throwing money at it will not solve the problem. What is missing is a strategic vision…and simply appointing a new EVP for Renewable Energy is too little too late. Shell can possibly choose two options:

Continue on its present course paying out its current dividend and financing this through assets sales and redundancies; or

Become a truly dedicated energy company increasing its new energy budget five-fold to at least $10- 15Billion per year. At the same time decrease the dividend and ensure that the Shell share can gain a true value. Ensuring true shareholder value will depend on creating a renewable business model that meets the requirements of todays’ shareholders.

P.S.

Since this article was written, Shell has announced its commitment to take significant additional action on climate change, including a commitment to achieve net zero emissions. There’s no clarity, however, on how that commitment is tied to day to day business.

Gerard Kreeft, BA (Calvin University, Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA ) and  MA (Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada), Energy Transition Adviser, was founder and owner of EnergyWise.  He has managed and implemented energy conferences, seminars and master classes in Alaska, Angola, Brazil, Canada, India, Libya, Kazakhstan, Russia and throughout Europe. He writes on a regular basis for Africa Oil +Gas Report.


AfDB Is Not Supporting the East African Crude Oil Project

The African Development Bank has refuted the claims in a news article that it plans to provide financial support to the East African Crude Oil Pipeline Project.

It doesn’t name the medium, nor cite the headline, but says it “strongly refutes the claims in the misleading article, which references a letter by a group of civil society organizations and climate change advocates asking the institution to withdraw from the project due to its potential social and environmental damage”.

The facts, according to AfDB:

  1. The NEPAD Infrastructure Project Preparation Facility (NEPAD-IPPF) has not provided financing to any Private Sector Company for upstream oil or gas pipeline projects in East Africa.
  2. No commitment was therefore made to any party to fund the East African Crude Oil Pipeline Project. The project is not included in the Bank’s lending programme.
  3. The Bank is strongly committed to renewable energies.

Then the bank beats its chest

“It is important to point out that the African Development Bank Group has for more than a decade played a leading role in crafting policies and delivering investments that promote sustainable development practices on the continent, including climate adaptation and resilience.

“The Bank is committed to facilitating the transition to low-carbon and climate-resilient development in African countries across all its operational priority areas”.

 


Zohr Field Now Producing 2Billion Cubic Feet A Day

Egypt’s Zohr field, discovered by ENI in 2015, is now producing 2Billion standard cubic feet per day (2Bscf/d), “equivalent to approximately 365,000 BOEPD, according to the Italian explorer. “This outstanding result has been achieved only a few months after the first gas in December 2017 and one year before the schedule of the Plan of Development (PoD)”, the company gushes, in a release.

“This level of production was achieved thanks to the start-up of the fifth production unit (T4), backed by the eight gas producers and a new 30” x 218 km sealine, commissioned August 2018 and confirms the programme pursued by ENI, its partner, Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company (EGAS) and their joint venture company Petrobel aimed to reach a plateau in excess of 2.7Bscf/d in 2019”.

ENI boasts even moe: “The latest achievement reinforces the exceptional development path of the Zohr project, one of ENI’s seven record-breaking projects, which is playing a fundamental role in supporting Egypt’s independence from LNG imports”.

The Zohr field, the largest gas discovery ever made in Egypt and in the Mediterranean Sea with more than 30 Tcf of gas in place, is located within the offshore Shorouk Block (some 190 km north of Port Said). In the Shorouk Block, ENI holds a 50% stake, Rosneft 30%, BP 10% and Mubadala Petroleum 10% of the Contractor’s Share (where Eni, Rosneft, BP and Mubadala Petroleum are collectivity the Contractor).

The project is executed by Petrobel, the Operating Company jointly held by ENI and the state corporation Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC), on behalf of Petroshorouk, jointly held by Contractor (EN and its partners) and the state company Egyptian Natural Gas holding Company (EGAS).


Zomo-1; Likely Fifth Success or First Duster

Savannah’s Fifth Success or First Duster?

Savannah Petroleum has moved the GW 215 Rig to drill the fifth well in its exploration campaign in the Niger Republic.

Zomo-1, spudded on September 8, follows Bushiya-1, Amdigh-1 Kunama-1 and Eridal-1, all drilled by the British explorer between March and August 2018, and all of which encountered crude oil bearing zones, considered by Savannah to be of commercial size.

But none of the wells have been tested, so there is no clear handle on flow assurance.

As with others, Zomo-1 is located in the R3/R4 PSC Area in the Agadem Basin, south east of the republic of Niger. It is also, as with the rest, designed to evaluate potential oil pay in the Eocene Sokor Alternances as the primary target.

The well is planned to be drilled to a total depth of 2,438metres Drilling is expected to take between 30 and 35 days.

The Company plans to log all prospective sections within the well, with further logging employed for hydrocarbon bearing sections. “In the success case, the well will be suspended for future re-entry and further evaluation, which could include well testing”, the company says.


The State is Aware that Shell Will Sell Nigerian Acreages Upon Renewal

Officials in the Nigerian Ministry of Petroleum Resources are aware that the Anglo Dutch major Shell is inclined to divest from several of the 17 onshore acreages it asked the government to renew.

But they have gone ahead to renew most of the licences anyway, because they think it is unlawful not to do so.  The extant licences on the acreages were due to expire in 2019.

“By the regulations we are working with, all these assets we have renewed deserve to be renewed”, Ministry sources categorically tell Africa Oil+Gas Report.

“Shell can take us to court if we don’t renew”, say ranking government officials in the Ministry, who also argue that, with state sponsored bid rounds not having happened in the country in the last 11 years, the frequent Shell lease divestments since 2008 “have benefited Nigerian companies”, who have purchased the stakes belonging to Shell and other international companies in these assets.

As it is, even during the process of renewal between late 2017 and mid-2018, Shell was actively negotiating on the side, with several parties, its divestment from three of the acreages in the renewal basket: Oil Mining Leases (OMLs) 11, 17 and 25.

Shell was asked to pay $820Million for renewal of 14 of the 17 acreages it sought to renew, including OML 25, an acreage that Shell had put in a divestment round in 2014, but failed to sell because of a last minute NNPC invocation of its right of first refusal. Shell, NNPC and several parties have been involved in closing that transaction since that time.

Regarding OML 11 and 17, Shell has, for a while, been negotiating with buyers and has put a $1.2Billion invoice on the table.

It would seem that such asset should not have been renewed, since Shell had demonstrated that it was going to sell them. It would, ordinarily appear intriguing, that the state would renew the licence of an acreage to a company that had clearly shown it no longer wanted it.

Why don’t you put it in a bid basket so that the state gets the benefit of the licencing?, we asked.

But MoPR officials say that Shell has paid all it needed to pay on every asset in the 30 years since they were last renewed and had extensive work programme on each of the acreages, so it would have been illegal to say no to renewal.

Out of the 17 onshore acreages Shell submitted for renewal in late 2017, only three were revoked, at the provisional conclusion of the process in February 2018, “for lack of enough work done over the last 10 years”.

Shell requested for renewal of OMLs 11, 17, 20, 21, 22, 23, 25, 27, 28, 31, 32, 35, 36, 43, 45, and 46. It succeeded in getting everything renewed, but for four acreages.

OMLs 31, 33 and 36 were denied approval, while the government decided to cut OML 11 into three because it was too large. But Shell has contested the decision on OML 11, arguing that “the proposal would unduly punish” the company, which had conducted operations in the asset “legally and in full compliance with the law”.

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