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Angola’s Onshore Kwanza Basin offers an underexplored basin with a world class petroleum system.

By Matt Tyrrell and Alessandro Colla, Trois Geoconsulting BV; Mike Oehlers, Tectosat Ltd

Seasoned explorers of Africa and the Atlantic margins will be familiar with the quandary of choosing between offshore and onshore acreage. Offshore acreage typically offers large, inexpensive seismic datasets with which to identify prospects, but the costs of drilling and developing these require significant inward investment. Conversely, onshore acreage allows numerous wells to be drilled at a low cost, but the ability to locate and de-risk prospects is limited by the expense and paucity of exploration datasets, particularly seismic.

This quandary is particularly apparent in the coastal basins of West Africa, where the Mesozoic sedimentary successions, including salt, extend into the onshore domain. In this basin, seasoned explorers will be tantalised by the opportunity to drill salt-induced prospects within a proven petroleum system and will be seeking the necessary datasets with which to de-risk them.

There are, however, onshore basins where this quandary is not so apparent; where extensive high quality datasets are available and early exploration has suitably de-risked proven pre- and post-salt petroleum plays. One such example is the Onshore Kwanza Basin of Angola – a Mesozoic salt basin with numerous undeveloped fields, a library rich in accessible yet low-cost exploration datasets and local refineries and markets for hydrocarbons once they are produced.

Furthermore, a licence round that opens towards the end of 2020, supported by new oil and gas laws and fiscal incentives, provides the opportunity for oil companies to secure rights to this acreage, appraise discovered fields and potentially fast-track commercially viable hydrocarbon production.

Underexplored Pre-Salt

To understand the future potential of the Onshore Kwanza Basin, we must first understand its exploration history.

A key milestone occurred in 1955 when the post-salt Benfica oil field was discovered just south of Luanda, after which exploration drilling peaked; by the late 1970s 133 wells had been drilled. This era of activity saw the discovery of 11 oil fields, as well as a few gas fields, with the largest containing more than 200 MMboe, made possible by the availability of 11,500 line-km of dynamite 2D seismic data. The last onshore field discovery was in 1972 and the last well was drilled in 1982, from when on interest in the onshore declined, in part due to socio-political stability risks but more likely due to the early successes of offshore exploration. Only nine oil fields have ever been reported as having been put onto production, which include the Cacuaco and Puaca fields, both with pre-salt reservoirs.

Although at first it appears that the Onshore Kwanza has been considerably drilled, analysis of well penetrations and results tells a story of high success rates in post-salt wildcats contrasted with a prospective yet significantly underexplored pre-salt succession. Of the 237 wells drilled, just 28 penetrated beneath the salt; four pre-salt fields were discovered prior to 1971 (Cacuaco, Uacongo, Puaca and Morro Liso) despite only three wells testing a meaningful section of pre -salt stratigraphy. When our seasoned explorers analyse the results of these pre-salt wells they must be left pondering what might have been found had the operator drilled a little deeper.

An initial observation is that the majority of pre-salt penetrations were drilled from wellheads located for post-salt prospects with only a handful of wells spudded with a pre-salt objective. Furthermore, assumptions about 1960s and 1970s technology and know-how suggest that modern field appraisal methodologies could reveal where discovered fields may actually be commercial, whilst advanced well stimulation techniques could lower the commercial threshold.

Updated Datasets Support Exploration

In 2010 and 2011, 2,581 line-km of high quality 2D seismic data was acquired followed by the acquisition of high resolution aeromagnetic data. A new GIS GeoDatabase named KMAP-2020, commissioned by Sonangol in 2015, was then completed as part of the reassessment of the remaining oil potential ahead of licence rounds. This product, available for the whole onshore basin or for individual blocks, includes outcrop information, petrographic studies and palaeontological reports from recent field trips together with seismic profiles, well stratigraphy panels and geosections.

The KMAP-2020 database has recently been further refined by the inclusion of modern satellite imagery supplied by specialist, Tectosat Ltd. Using Landsat imagery, SRTM DEM, ASTER and PALSAR Radar data*, the whole basin has been remapped at a much more comprehensive 1:50,000 scale involving interpretation at 1:25,000 scale, with additional integration of lithological detail from some 3,000 field sample points.

The resulting updates to the surface geology maps within the KMAP-2020 database have positive implications for de-risking the underlying petroleum systems. Halokinetic activity is evinced in anomalous domes and basins showing salt withdrawal and folding adjacent to the main bounding faults of the Tertiary troughs.

Fault expressions mapped at surface have been used to understand structural controls related to various tectonic episodes. Where it is shown that many of the Tertiary-aged faults are soft-linked to deeper syn-rift structures, the charge of post-salt reservoirs with pre-salt oil can be de-risked.

Similarly, areas of Tertiary uplift are observed in the vicinity of Blocks 11 and 12 where present-day river systems are seen to have incised; this uplift may have hinged to the north at the Cabo Ledo fault. These details are key in determining long-distance migration paths from known source kitchens, including the offshore, into pre-salt and post-salt structures; indeed, the presence of basin margin oil seeps together with the pre-salt Cacuaco Field north-east of Luanda suggest that the sub-salt section should be suitably charged.

Underexplored Area in New Licence Round

An integration of past exploration results, available seismic and well datasets with the KMAP-2020 database (which includes the satellite imagery interpretation) demonstrate that the Onshore Kwanza Basin is a world class petroleum basin that in recent decades has been considerably underexplored.

The post-salt section has numerous anticlinal closures that are untested; where these have been drilled the structures exhibit good reservoir qualities and host viable oil fields, such as those at Quenguela and Benfica. Where sampled, the pre-salt is shown to exhibit good quality carbonate reservoirs formed by coquina.


shoals with vuggy porosities as well as fluvial-deltaic sandstones. The hydrocarbons encountered here are light oils with gas and with no known encounters of CO2 or high sulphur content.

When the results of the updated ArcGIS geological study are combined with available seismic and well datasets, conclusions can be drawn that suggest that the upcoming licence round may be the trigger for the first commercial production of oil from onshore Kwanza.

Recent announcements by the newly formed ANPG (National Agency of Petroleum, Gas and Biofuels) have defined a strategy for the allocation of petroleum concessions including open acreage within all of Angola’s basins. Concessions will be awarded through a process of public tender, restricted public tender and direct negotiation over a period of seven years, starting in 2019 and culminating in 2025. 

The blocks offered by public tender are those that are deemed exploration blocks that have not formerly been abandoned and restored to the state. The blocks of the Onshore Kwanza Basin have been announced as a part of the 2020 licensing round, which will open in the fourth quarter of 2020. Blocks KON5, KON6, KON8, KON9, KON17 and KON20 are offered by public tender and these blocks all offer excellent potential for exploration as well as opportunities to appraise and develop discovered fields.

In August this year, the ANPG held a Clarification Session as a precursor to the opening of the round; during this session senior members of ANPG gave informative presentations and clarified the timeline for the submissions of bids and signature of the contracts.

Exceptional Opportunity 

The history books of exploration bear witness to a multitude of junior exploration companies that secured onshore acreage, within a known petroleum province, yet were unable to successfully demonstrate to investors and potential farm-in partners that they could cost effectively de-risk a drilling location.

The Onshore Kwanza Basin is different in that it offers the opportunity to secure acreage containing a post-salt field or prospect that can potentially be appraised and brought into production, providing cash-flow to fund further pre-salt exploration where the prize may be bigger. The 2020 Angola Licence Round, which kicks off April 30, 2021, should therefore be in the plans of all junior and mid-sized oil companies. 

* SRTM DEM (Shuttle Radar Topography Mission – Digital Elevation Mapping), ASTER (Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer), PALSAR (Phased Array type L-band Synthetic Aperture Radar)

This paper was first published in the October 2020 edition of GEOExPro magazinehttps://www.geoexpro.com/articles

Nigeria’s Power Minister’s Bold Electricity Framework Stands on a Shaky Base

By Toyin Akinosho

Saleh Mamman, Nigeria’s Minister of Power, who has only spent close to 20 months in office, identifies liquidity issue as the most important challenge of the country’s electricity supply industry.

Nigeria generates around 5,000MW of electricity, which is inefficiently transmitted and poorly distributed.

Mamman has constructed a framework for the sector with, Infrastructure Alignment as the Number 1 focus. He wants to fix the infrastructure gap in Transmission and Distribution, by executing the Electrification Plan, which is, largely the Siemens Plan he met on the table.

That plan, which will cost around $2Billion aims to refurbishsome very important equipment and construct new ones, in order to deliver far more generated electricity than its being done now

Saleh’s second focus is a soft power item: Market Efficiency and Transparency..involving the refinement of the commercial technical, and regulatory components of transaction agreements; promoting fiscal discipline and effectively utilizing all sector loans (World Bank and Payment Assurance Facility) as well asenforcing market discipline and contract effectiveness by the regulator. 

This is the area that the private sector part of the chain -the Generating Companies (gencos) and the Distribution Companies (discos) -has seen the most cause to criticize government for not addressing. So, it has to be addressed.  But it can be far more challenging to deliver than building infrastructure and it is a perpetual work in progress. What it needs, for a start, is the high visibility of the Minister’s body language. And Saleh has shown a particularly good example. 

In a recent case he queried the changes to the minimum capacity quantities of two power plants: Olorunsogo and Omotosho, by the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN). He publicly criticised the company’s non-compliance with the rulings of the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC)-arguing, forcefully that such attitude of a government owned company to the regulator, “poses not only operational challenges but also reputational implications for the sector, and by extension, the Federal Government”. Saleh directed that NERC’s rulings “should be obeyed”.

The Saleh Blueprint’s third thematic focus areaCorporate Governance/Sector Policy Coordination may come across as different from the second, but the way to address it is similar: largely by the Minister’s own body language. In fact, if Mamman Saleh forcefully backs the NERC as a regulator, and vigorously promotes its independence, NERC would have little reason to think it has to court the National Assembly (the parliament) for approval on any issue. The same way the Minister addressed the case of TCN versus NERC case, and came out courageously to respond to the National Assembly’s suggestion to postpone the idea of cost reflectivity, his interventions can send out positive message about law and order on several other interface issues.

 The Nigerian government has finally shown the politically will to allow a cost reflective electricity tariff, after significant pressure, ntably from the IMF..

The last two focus areas in Saleh’s Blueprint, are equally challenging: Increase Energy Accesswhich talks of extending the net of electricity offgrid and the Execution of Legacy Projects. These are two focus areas whose execution can readily slip because most of the work is outside the minister’s ready grasp. 

For the Increase in Energy Access, which in the framing in Saleh’s blueprint, is largely about renewables and minigrids, significant inflow of capital is required, outside those already committed to the Siemens Plan and the Pre-Siemens funding on Transmission infrastructure. It is true that the Minister’s success in other areas, especially Market Efficiency and Transparency and Governance, will help in unlocking the vault, but these things have to be happening around the same time, so some Big Bold New Idea has to be seen by the Renewables Community and Private Equity Funders and Development Financiers around the World.

Regarding the Legacy Projectsa lot is riding on trust by the investing community, because, truly, in the year 2021, the Nigerian state shouldn’t be funding, from the treasury, a mammoth project like the 3,500MW Mambila Plateau Hydroelectric power. Yes, if that community sees that the needle is moving in the right direction in terms of Market Efficiency (Focus area Number 2) and Governance (Focus area Number 3), they will show interest. But we still need to provide solid commercial case

That is why we argue Saleh Mamman’s framework has a bit of challenge in detail. 

I am not looking for nuts and bolts, but there is little inkling of what we can do differently to pull the likes of Mambilla, which will make a significant difference in generation capacity, even to communities not being served at the moment.

Nigeria’s BIG plan to unlock the suppressed generation capacity is the SIEMENS plan. But what are the equivalents of this idea for Renewable IPPs and the Legacy Projects? How do investors see clear line of sight to recouping their money?

We all know what happened about Renewables in South Africa between 2012 and 2015. The country was on the road to becoming one of the world’s largest renewable industries, without a single cent of government spend. And there were increasing localization achievements from Bid window to bid window -this was at government’s insistence and the investors were willing. Then (the power utility) Eskom started to talk down the commerciality and government, treating Eskom -as the be all and end all- made the mistake of listening too earnestly to Eskom. And all that investment dried up.

Finally, the Saleh Framework Plan is significant for what it says as it is for what it does not say.

One crucial thing it does not say is how the Ministry of Power will gain some handle on Gas to Power. I think that successive Power ministers have been too shy about demanding to understand the link between the reservoirs that geologists find, (and which engineers develop) and the Power Plants.

The mistake that is largely made is that “Oh: that broken link is a standard problem. Once it is fixed; everything will be alright. And the Ministry of Petroleum will fix it”.

No please, it’s a long, ongoing process of request, engagement, understanding, fixing, mitigation, all the time. 

And it is better for the Power Ministry to be fully attentive, with its own men, to the little details. Because, when you make those transmission and distribution gains after the Siemens Plan is implemented, you will find that you’d be struggling to get the gas to generate the power you thought was there ready to be generated.

Olusegun Obasanjo, Nigeria’s President from 1999 to 2007, used to superintend a monthly, fortnightly meeting with gas producers, who were invariably the major oil companies. He convinced two of them (ENI, Shell) to build a power plant each.Those are today, some of the country’s most reliable plants and they most readily receive natural gas in the country.

I believe that, with how far Nigeria has come, the least the Minister of Power could do is to insist on a monthly meeting with the Petroleum Ministry, and every company that has a Gas Processing Plant (not all have) and every company that supplies some molecules into those poorly maintained, gas pipelines.

This article was initially published in the November-December 2020 edition of Africa Oil+Gas Report


NCDMB Wants to Engage Administrator for Innovation Centre and A Third Party Monitoring Firm

The National Content Development o and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) has called for expressions of interest for

  • An Administrator to manage the Research Development Innovation and Incubation Centre in the Nigerian Content Tower in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State
  • An NCDMB Third Party Monitoring Consulting Firm

Deadline for the submission of tender documents is 12 noon, April 7, 2021.

Full Details in the link.




Trust the South Africans to Throw Away the Opportunity

By Toyin Akinosho

In 2015, PricewaterhouseCoopers PwC, the global advisory firm, declared that a large pool of respondents to its annual survey were concerned that South Africa’s policy makers did not understand the hydrocarbon industry.

I read the report with alarm. I responded with a sense of outrage.

Governments sometimes make the wrong calls, I argued in a column, in a monthly edition of Africa Oil+Gas Report, with the example of the UK Government’s tax regimes that led to massive disinvestment in the North Sea. “But you can’t dismiss an entire government as having no clue about an industry”, I declared.

At the time, I was impressed by Pretoria’s roll out of its Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement (REIPPP) programme which had, between 2012 and 2015, attracted billions of dollars of investment in over 5,000MW of renewables without a single cent coming from the treasury. The government was considering the same strategy for getting natural gas into the energy mix. If that worked, I enthused, it could alter the downward trajectory of Africa’s most industrialised economy.

But I’d spoken too soon. By mid-2016, the country’s widely applauded renewable energy programme had been thrown out the window. Just one statement by Brian Molefe, then the CEO of Eskom, South Africa’s be-all and end-all of energy issues, and the entire REIPPP had collapsed like a park of cards. He said that the projects were too expensive, and when Eskom factored what it would pay the producers into its cost of delivering power from the sun and wind into homes, electricity tariffs would balloon.  It turned out that Mr. Molefe’s statement wasn’t true in every material particular, but his remarks had shut down an entire industry. It would take the country a full four years to return to the renewables track, but significant opportunity had been lost.

Today, with the country gripped by excitement around significant discoveries of natural gas and condensates off its western coast by TOTAL, the French oil major, there’s a frenzied debate about whether government would speedily push, for passage, the draft Upstream Petroleum Resources Development Bill (Upstream Bill), released in December 2019.

It had always been assumed that, as an industrialised economy, South Africa has the absorptive capacity to monetise large discoveries of hydrocarbon at terribly short notice. In reality, South Africa is closer to what Mozambique was in 2010; a jurisdiction without a clue about how large sized, deepwater gas would be developed, than it is to Egypt in 2015; which took the discovery of 30Trillion cubic feet of gas in 2,000 metre water depth, to market by 2017. “One of the obstacles to open the economic potential of South Africa’s offshore operations is a lack of legislative certainty”, lawyers would tell you, “which has also been acknowledged as an investor deterrence:”

My experience, as an energy reporter watching the country’s attitude to procurement and utilization of hydrocarbon resources and allied energy industry, is that there’s no sense of urgency to create a coherent framework.

As I have written severally in Africa Oil+Gas Report, the absence of a framework for gas intake and utilisation is a core reason for the looming shutdown of the 200Million standard cubic feet of gas per day (200MMscf/d) state-run Gas to Liquid (GTL) plant which, at inception, was the largest such plant in the world. For 14 years now, as far as I know, government officials have expressed concern about the decline of gas feedstock for the Gas to Liquid plant, but all they do is flail their arms; no one has lifted a finger to do anything about alternative feedstock.

The absence of a coherent guidance on gas to industry is why Sasol’s importation of (currently about) 400Million standard cubic feet of gas a day does not come across as a leverage factor for what the country can do with gas.

In mid-2015, the government announced it was working on a Gas Utilisation Master Plan, GUMP, which analyses the potential and opportunity for the development of South Africa’s gas economy and sets out a plan of how this could be achieved. Key objectives were to enable the development of indigenous gas resources and to create the opportunity to stimulate the introduction of a portfolio of gas supply options. It’s been 68 months since the first announcement and the details of plan remains resolutely unfinalized.

The Upstream Petroleum Resources Development Bill (Upstream Bill), is the most current edition of a draft legislation that has stayed in parliament for over 10 years. Let’s remember how we got here:

Between the moment of the faceoff between Shell and the antifracking activists of the Karoo Basin in 2011 and the announcement of the GUMP in 2015, the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA) returned to parliament for amendment. It stayed in debate mode, unpassed, for seven years, challenged, in part by Exploration and Production companies for harbouring certain clauses, one of which entitles the state to a 20% free carry in exploration and production rights and an ‘uncapped’ further participation clause allowing the state up to 80% at an agreed price or under a production sharing agreement. In the event, the executive arm of government decided to disaggregate oil and gas from mineral resources and present a different law in parliament that focuses strictly on hydrocarbons. That is how it became the Upstream Petroleum Resources Development Bill (Upstream Bill). Still, it has been talk talk talk.

There’s a bit of good news now, of course. The S.A. Government has enunciated a tactic, not a strategy for getting natural gas into the electricity fuel mix. In March 2021, energy minister Gwede Mantashe announced preferred bidders to provide emergency power to the country, which continues to face power outages. Of the eight bidders that  are allowed provide a total of 1,845 megawatts from various technologies to be connected to the grid by August 2022, three bidders will provide 1,220MW of power from LNG. This will be the first formal introduction of natural gas into the country’s energy mix and it is not coming from any broad-based strategy to bring in gas to “energise the economy”. Let me provide a quick context.

In October 2016, a preliminary information memorandum, outlining the scope of a LNG Gas-to-Power programme was released by the Independent Power Programme office IPPO for prospective and interested bidders. The programme planned up to 3,000MW of Capacity from the gas-fired power generation facilities. Its first phase, targeting 2,000MW, aimed to identify and select successful bidders and enable them to develop, finance, construct and operate a gas-fired power generation plant at each of the two ports: Nqurra and Richards Bay in the Eastern Cape and Kwazulu Natal provinces respectively. The successful bidder would be required to put in place the gas supply chain to fuel the plant with gas from imported LNG and would provide the anchor gas demand on which LNG import and regasification facilities can be established at the Ports, providing the basis for LNG import, storage and regasification facilities, available also for use by other parties for LNG import and gas utilisation. This project has been on the back burner in the last four years and it has stalled. This IPP plan is not to be confused with the emergency power announcement of March 2021.

Nor can we tie the emergency power announcement to the Integrated Resource Plan, or IRP, published in October 2019, which seeks to chart the means by which the country will manage and meet its electricity needs leading up to the year 2040. The plan provides insight into the state’s 20-year approach to SA’s energy mix IRP 2019 envisages, among other energy types, some 1000 MW of Gas To Power capacity being introduced into the South African grid by 2024, with a further 2 000 MW to be added by 2027.

If we consider all of these halting steps and indecisions, we get a sense that there is no blueprint in the horizon, to ensure: Gas to Industry (GTI) through new gas infrastructure to such industrial zones as Mossel Bay, Coega (South) West Coast to Saldanha/Cape Town, which can reduce energy costs for SA manufacturing; enhance expansion/modernisation of existing state owned GTL plant; roll-out of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) fuelled transport; natural filling station network and repowering of truck and bus fleets, leading to balance of payments savings (reduced oil imports); gas to communities (GTC) which can allow huge benefits for rural/poor communities (e.g. reduced wood consumption, increased safety).

Policy paralysis around hydrocarbon resources, whether mined in country or imported, is at the heart of why a natural gas market hasn’t taken off properly in South Africa.

The political elite says all the right things all the time about what natural gas can do for the slumbering economic giant of Africa. But nothing actually gets done.

 This piece was originally published in the December 2020 edition of Africa Oil+Gas Report. The March 2021 announcement that include LNGs for emergency South African power, is the only addition in this version.


Nigerian Government Revokes Addax’s PSC Licences, Re awards them immediately

By Macson Obojemoimien

The Nigerian government has revoked the four Production Sharing Contracts (PSCs) operated by Addax Petroleum in the country.

The PSCs are in respect of Oil Mining Leases (OMLs) 123, 124, 126 and 137, all operated by Addax Petroleum Development Nigeria Ltd (APDNL) and Addax Petroleum Exploration Nigeria Ltd (APENL).

The decision was conveyed in a letter signed by the Director of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), the industry regulatory agency.

The government has, almost immediately, awarded those assets to Kaztec Engineering Limited/Salvic Petroleum Resources Limited (KEL/Salvic) Consortium, consisting of two Nigerian owned independents, with effect from March 23, 2021, with the approval of President Muhammadu Buhari.

The re-award happened so swiftly after the revocation letter, in a matter of three days, leading to the Easter Holiday weekend, that the process signals itself as unusual.

The key reason adduced by the state for the revocation was lack of compliance with work programme targets. The properties are all producing assets on which royalties are being paid and revocation is hardly applied on for work programme issues, even though government publicly frowns upon companies “sitting” on acreages without working them. OMLs 123 and 124 were expected to expire in 2022 while OMLs 126 and 137 December 2024 and May 2027 respectively, according to the Nigerian Oil Industry Annual Report published by the DPR.

The apparent haste of the re-award also raises questions as to why the acreages are not put in a basket for a bid round, considering that government is working on a bid round of acreages, which it hopes to commence after the conclusion of the ongoing Marginal Field bid round, expected to wrap up by May 1, 2021.  The national consensus around acreage offerings, which has now found its way to the Petroleum Industry Bill, is that the minister ceases discretionary awards of acreages and that hydrocarbon properties, once they become open, are part of periodic, transparent, licensing sale.

The award to Kaztec and Salvic grants Production Sharing Contracts (PSC) arrangements for OMLs 123, 124 and 126(70%-30%: KEL/Salvic-NNPC production ratio split for each asset) and Sole Risk arrangement for OML 137. The government says that the conditions governing the award include the payment of Good and Valuable Consideration and Minimum Work Programme Commitment for each of the assets, “which shall be communicated to you in due course”. The DPR says it will, very soon, invite KEL/Salvic Consortium,  Addax Petroleum Development Nigeria Ltd (APDNL) and Addax Petroleum Exploration Nigeria Ltd (APENL),  which it describes as “the previous operators of the assets” and the NNPC -the concessionaire, to a meeting to begin preliminary handover formalities accordingly.


Tullow Kicks off a Multi-Year, Multi-Well Drilling Campaign in Ghana

Tullow Oil has announced the start of a multi-year, multi-well drilling campaign offshore Ghana with the commencement of drilling of the first well at the Jubilee Field yesterday.

The drillship Maersk Venturer, which has been contracted for four years, is expected to drill four wells in total in 2021, consisting of two Jubilee production wells, one Jubilee water injector well and one TEN gas injector well.

The 2021 drilling campaign is the first part of Tullow’s 10-year Business Plan which was presented at Tullow’s Capital Markets Day in November 2020. The Ghana portfolio has a large resource base with extensive infrastructure already in place.

“Through a rigorous focus on costs and capital discipline, Tullow believes that these assets have the potential to generate material cash flow over the next decade and deliver significant value for Ghana and investors”, the company says in a statement.

“Throughout this campaign, Tullow will continue to implement its Shared Prosperity strategy through a strong local content programme with suppliers in Ghana, the professional and technical development of Ghanaian nationals and continued investment in STEM education, enterprise development and shared infrastructure”.


Angola Starts Roadshows for April-June 2021 Bid Round

By Macson Obojemoinmien, in Windhoek

Angola’s hydrocarbon regulatory agency Angolan National Oil, Gas and Biofuels Agency (ANPG) has scheduled, for Tuesday April 6, 2021, a hybrid online and physical roadshow for the country’s next acreage licencing-round, at the Talatona Convention Centre in Luanda.

This will kickstart a series of both digital and in-person roadshows and technical presentations to promote the blocks to be awarded in key international markets. This event will also provide the opportunity for investors to engage with the agency regarding the blocks on offer, the data packages and the accessibility studies, as well as touch upon environmental, logistical and local content issues.
The contest proper starts on April 30, 2021. The deadline for the submission of proposals runs until June 9, 2021, in compliance with the 40 days provided for by law, and the opening ceremony for proposals will take place on June 10, 2021.

In line with the provisions of Presidential Decree No. 86/18, of 2 April 2019, which establishes the rules for the organisation of bid rounds, the bid round will unfold as follows:

  • Tender Launch
  • Proposal submission
  • The opening of offers from potential suitors in a public setting
  • The evaluation and qualification of proposals
  • The submission of the evaluation report to the Ministry of Mineral Resources and Petroleum and Gas
  • Contract negotiation with the winners of the bid-round

Data available includes 2D seismic coverage of the LowerCongo Basin, a recently updated Geological Map and Database of the Onshore Kwanza Basin and a compilation of recent aeromagnetic data covering the Transition Zone and Shallow Waters of the Lower Congo and Kwanza Basins.

Nine blocks are on offer, in the Lower Congo and Kwanza Basins: they include:

  • Three blocks of the lower Congo onshore Basin CON1, CON5 and CON6
  • Six of the Kwanza onshore Basin (KON5, KON6, KON8, KON9, KON17 and KON20)

The country’s International Competitive Bid Round for oil gas licenses, announced in 2019, is a scheduled offering for onshore and offshore, in the period 2019-2025.

ANPG), awarded three blocks: 27, 28, and 29, offshore in the deepwater Namibe Basin in 2019.

In 2020, the bidding plans were disrupted by COVID-19 complications.

ENI in Congo-We Don’t Agree We Are Guilty, But We’d Pay

ENI has decided to make a consideration of €11.8Million available as an agreed sanction in a corruption case involving one of its managers in the Republic of Congo (Congo Brazzaville).

The decision was taken “following the reduction of the alleged offence to undue inducement by the Court of Milan”, the company declared in a statement.

ENI has by so doing “adhered to the hypothesis of agreed sanctions submitted by the Public Prosecutor, and has submitted its request”.

The Giudice per le indagini preliminari (GIP, the judge in charge for preliminary investigations) accepted the proposal of agreed sanctions as submitted by the Public Prosecutor and which ENI adhered to.

Even then, the company says that the deal “does not represent an admission of guilt by the company in relation to the alleged offence but an initiative aimed at avoiding the continuation a judicial process that would entail further expenditure of resources from ENI and all the involved parties”, ENI insists in a statement, arguing further, that “the verdict also confirms the resilience of the company’s anti-bribery control systems”.




Nigeria: Siemens’ Infrastructure Upgrade will be Converted to Loan in Discos’ Balance Sheets

By John Oforiata Ankromah, in Abuja

The Nigerian government is spending more than $2Billion to fund the first phase of Siemens’ upgrade of transmission and disco infrastructure across the country.

This is called the Siemens presidential power initiative, after the German engineering contractor Siemens, who will see to the upgrade.

As the Electricity Distribution companies (DISCOSs), are mostly owned by the private sector, with a significant minority owned by the state, the government’s contract to Siemens for the upgrade is a huge investment into the entire DISCOS’ franchise.

The plan is that, after the completion of the upgrade, the Government’s total investment will be converted into a long-term shareholder loan, “which technically is a systematic way of capitalising the DISCOS without really giving them money that may not necessarily be used towards improving the infrastructure”, impeccable government sources tell Africa Oil+Gas Report.

In summary, the Nigerian government borrows money, uses the money in an integrated way to improve the entire electricity value chain, quantifies the amount that has been spent on every DISCO and then books the amount as a long-term convertible loan. Now, the DISCOS are expected to pay back that which has been lent.

But, can the loan be converted into equity?

Answer: The Nigerian Government is still thinking about that possibility.

Zimbabwe to Exempt Solar Energy Producers from Taxes for Five Years

The Zimbabwean government is looking to exempt Solar Energy investors from paying taxes for a period of five years.

“Whatever they produce in those five years, they will not have to pay taxes to the government”, Zhemu Soda, the Zimbabwean Minister of Energy, said at a recent hearing of the country’s parliament. “This is done to motivate those who want to invest in solar energy production so that the solar networks can be connected to the national grid.”

The measure, Mr. Soda said, will be in addition to the exemption of import duties on solar power equipment into the country, a policy that is already on course.

Zimbabwe imposes a 15% Value Added Tax on all purchases and this will not be removed, even for solar power equipment.

The entire electricity generation capacity attributable to renewable energy in Zimbabwe is 130MW, all of which is generated by Independent Power Producers (IPPs). The proposed incentives should benefit off-grid solar providers more. This is 7% of the country’s total installed capacity of 1 940 MW.

Zimbabwe’s Rural Electrification Agency (REA) wants more off-grid solar and wind generated electricity for the electrification of rural areas. The agency has already installed 372 PV mini-grids of 0.9 kWp each, totalling 334.5 kWp, in schools and clinics throughout the country. Other installations have been commissioned or commissioned by non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and some private developers.


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