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Scatec and Engie Secure Land for 8,000W of Renewable Energy Facility in Egypt

Scatec, the Norwegian renewable energy player; Engie, its French counterpart and Orascom Construction, the Egyptian firm,  have secured land from the Egyptian government for the deployment of 8,000MW of wind power for two different projects.

One of them, a 5,000MW project, is to be developed by Scatec. The other, a 3,000MW facility, is a planned joint development by a consortium that includes Engie, Orascom and  Eurus Energy, a Japanese concern.

The two projects are proposed to be sited in the western governorate of Sohag.

Mohamed El-Khayat, Chairman of Egypt’s New and Renewable Energy Authority (NREA) signed the land permits, at a signing ceremony which took place recently in the presence of Mohamed Shaker, Egypt’s Minister of Electricity and Renewable Energy, and Hilde Klemetsdal, Norway’s Ambassador to Egypt.

These two projects represent an investment of $9Billion, according to NREA.

The first memorandums of understanding for the two developments were signed at COP27, hosted by Egypt in 2022. The power is proposed to be injected into the Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company (EETC) grid.

Scatec is a leader o Egypt’s renewable energy programme. It  operates 380 MW of installed solar capacity in the country.

The Engie-Orascom Construction-Eurus Energy consortium already operates a 262 MW wind farm in the Gulf of Suez. In the same region, the three partners are currently building a 500 MW wind farm.

Egypt’s national objective is to produce 42% of electricity from renewable energies by 2030, enabling the country to reduce its dependence on natural gas, the price of which has fluctuated greatly on the international market in recent years, first during the post-Covid-19 recovery, and then after the start of the war in Ukraine.




Morocco Launches Pre-Qual Bid Process for 400MW Wind Power Projects

Moroccan Agency for Sustainable Energy (MASEN), has launched the pre-qualification process for the selection of a private company to support the implementation of a two-part, 400 MW Nassim Nord wind power programme.

The proposal involves the construction of two wind farms.

Developers interested in building the two wind farms have until June 24, 2024 to apply.

Named Nassim Dar Chaoui, the larger wind farm (planned to be a 250MW capacity) will be located between the provinces of Tangier and Tetouan, in the north of the country. The second is a 150MW project, which will extend the existing Nassim Koudia Al Baida wind farm, already injecting 100 MW of clean electricity into Morocco’s national grid.

The company selected at the end of the tender process will be responsible for the development, financing, construction and operation of the two wind farms. “By structuring it as a project financing scheme, this new programme will encourage greater involvement of the private sector in the deployment of renewable energies, with the participation of Moroccan and international commercial banks in its financing”, says MASEN.

Norwegian Operator Claims “Substantial Oil Discovery” In Gabon, Extending the Hibiscus Field Further North

By Macson Obojemuinmoin

Oslo listed BW Energy has announced “a substantial oil discovery with good reservoir quality” in the DHIBM-7P pilot well drilled to appraise the northern flank of the Hibiscus field, in the Dussafu licence, offshore Gabon.

BW did not provide figures for the find, but it declares its “plans to complete the well as a production well later in 2024”.

It says that its preliminary evaluation indicates a notable increase in both the volume of oil in place and gross recoverable reserves.

“As final data becomes available, technical personnel will be engaged in updating the analysis for publication of the uplift at a future date”.

The DHIBM-7P pilot was drilled from the MaBoMo production platform to a total depth of 3,941 metres. The target area is located approximately 1.5 kilometres north-northwest of the MaBoMo and was drilled by the Borr Norve jack-up rig. Evaluation of logging data, sample examination and formation pressure measurements confirm approximately 24 metres of pay in an overall hydrocarbon column of 37 metres. Notably, the hydrocarbon column extends across the boundary between the Gamba and the underlying Dentale formation. This is the first example of a common Gamba-Dentale hydrocarbon accumulation in Hibiscus Field.

“This is yet another confirmation of the significant potential of the Dussafu licence, which BW Energy is rapidly unlocking through low-cost and low-risk development activity,” said Carl K. Arnet, CEO of BW Energy.

The next operation will be to place a production well (DHBSM-2H) in the northern flank of the Hibiscus South field that was recently successfully appraised.


European Bank Approves Membership of Kenya and Nigeria

By Nibal Zgheib

The shareholders of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) have approved applications by Kenya and Nigeria to become members of the multilateral financial institution.

The authorities of Kenya and Nigeria applied for EBRD membership in March and April 2024, respectively. Approval from the Bank’s Board of Governors is the first stage of the membership procedure; the two countries will need to meet some final pre-membership requirements before the process is concluded.

The move follows the Governors’ approval – at the EBRD’s 2023 Annual Meeting in Samarkand – of amendments to the Bank’s statutes to enable the limited and incremental expansion of its operations to sub-Saharan Africa and Iraq.

The applications of Kenya and Nigeria also included requests to become recipients of EBRD financial and advisory services, which the Bank will address once the statutory amendments are in force.

EBRD President Odile Renaud-Basso said: “We are very happy about this important milestone in the process for Kenya and Nigeria to become new EBRD members. With this approval the six sub-Saharan African countries have joined the Bank, a step that reflects our Governors’ historic decision, last year, on the future expansion of the Bank’s operations there. Together with other international partners, our goal will be to help unleash the potential of the countries’ private sectors, create jobs and support sustainable development.”

The successful applications from Kenya and Nigeria follow those from Benin and Côte d’Ivoire (approved in October 2023) and Ghana and Senegal (approved in February 2024). Benin finalised all membership requirements in April 2024, becoming the first sub-Saharan African country to join the Bank and its 75th shareholder.

Since its inception in 1991, the Bank has invested over €195Billion in 7,021 projects and supported policy reforms to develop the private sector in more than 30 economies. Its investments span natural resources, financial institutions, agribusiness, manufacturing and services, as well as infrastructure projects, such as power and renewable energy, and the upgrade of municipal services.

Nigeria’s Central Bank Tightens Grip on Petroleum Export Inspection and Revenues

By Masha Otula, in Abuja

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has appointed new petroleum export pre-shipment inspection agents. CBN also listed new exemption categories under the restrictions on foreign exchange revenues of petroleum exports that it introduced in February.

CBN distributed 31 oil and gas export terminals to nine inspection agents with each Nigerian company assigned three to five terminals. The Bonny, Forcados and Qua Iboe terminals were assigned to Neroli Technologies while Brass, Escravos and the Abigail-Joseph floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel were assigned to Offshore Bulk Inspection.

But CBN did not assign the Nembe crude stream or the Galilean 7 FSO from which it is produced to an inspection agent in its latest circular. Production of the Nembe crude stream started last year. Its output averaged 24,000Barrels of Oil Per Day (BOPD) from 25 May 2023 to 31 March and 32,000BOPD in April 2024, according to upstream regulator NUPRC.

“A market participant said Nigeria needs to reduce the “gangs of competing regulators” operating at its petroleum export terminals and unify multiple certifications of petroleum export quantity and quality if it expects to provide genuine ease of doing business.

The Aje, Abo, Okono and Ugo-Ocha streams were assigned to Candid Oil Services even though Aje last produced oil in November 2021, according to NUPRC. And Okono is not producing as we speak. Norwegian independent Petronor said in November 2023 that a 25,000 Barrels of Oil Equivalent Per Day (BOEPD) redevelopment target had been set for Aje as a gas producer. Partners in the asset would soon complete the re-processing of seismic data in preparation for drilling four or five gas wells, constructing a 30 kilometre gas pipeline and getting an FPSO with gas processing capacity, Petronor said. But the company did not provide a restart date. CBN also assigned LNG and NGLs exports from terminals in Escravos and Bonny to Dakee Engineering and Construction.

But CBN is yet to name inspection agents for oil products exports. The 650,000Barrels Per Stream Day (BPSD) Dangote refinery, which started to export naphtha in March 2024, said on May 8, 2024, that it expects to start gasoline (petrol) production in June. An industry source said Dangote has now received approval to start its residual fluid catalytic cracker. The refinery previously said it expected to export 8Million litres/day of petrol when it ramps up production to full capacity.

CBN may also later name inspection agents for the jetties of the NNPC-operated 210,000BPSD Port Harcourt and 125,000BPSD Warri refineries, which are both under different rehabilitation contracts. An industry source said while work is ongoing at both refineries much remains to be done and it would not be surprising if neither Port Harcourt nor Warri restart production this year. But NNPC maintains the two refineries will restart in 2024. Previous restart deadlines have been missed. The Warri refinery was shut in 2019 and Port Harcourt in 2020 but industry sources said that naphtha and fuel oil from the 5,000BPSD Waltersmith and 11,000 BPSD Aradel modular refineries are currently exported from the jetties of the Warri and Port Harcourt refineries, respectively.

Export pre-shipment inspection agents “ascertain the quality, quantity and price competitiveness” of exports, acting as agents of the CBN as it monitors “the repatriation of all export proceeds”. A market participant said that the inspection agents always had a low profile but CBN’s latest announcement may signal their increasing prominence as the central bank continues aggressive foreign exchange reserves management in response to a weak and volatile naira and high inflation.

A separate market participant said Nigeria needs to reduce the “gangs of competing regulators” operating at its petroleum export terminals and unify multiple certifications of petroleum export quantity and quality if it expects to provide genuine ease of doing business. CBN also announced two monitoring and evaluation agents, Arlington Securitas Nigeria and DV Howells Nigeria, to supervise the work of the nine inspection agents.

But an energy lawyer said CBN is only discharging its statutory responsibilities and that the Pre-shipment Inspection of Exports Act, which empowers the central banker, dates back to 1966 and was modified by the military government in 1996 before being compiled as one of the Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (LFN) in 2004.

The paper trail generated in compliance with that law was evidence and the basis of Chevron’s defence in a suit filed by the federal government alleging that a Chevron subsidiary did not declare a cargo of oil that was exported to the US. Therefore the provisions of the law and its enforcement by CBN actually protects oil companies, the lawyer said.

“CBN did not assign the Nembe crude stream or the Galilean 7 FSO from which it is produced to an inspection agent in its latest circular. Production of the Nembe crude stream started in 2023. Its output averaged 24,000BOPD from 25 May 2023 to 31 March 2024 and 32,000BOPD in April 2024, according to upstream regulator NUPRC.”

CBN has also now said the restriction it introduced in February for 50% of oil export revenues to be maintained as domestic bank balances for 90 days by foreign upstream companies, permits withdrawals within the 90-day period for the payment of local corporate taxes, petroleum taxes and royalties, cash calls and contractor invoices, operating loan payments or hard currency sales in the official domestic market.

Chariot Confirms Moroccan Probe is a Duster

UK junior Chariot Limited has reported that a wildcat probe it drilled onshore Morocco has turned out to be a dud.

The RZK-1 well on the Gaufrette prospect, is the first of a two well drilling campaign, in the Loukos Onshore licence in Africa’s north westernmost country.

“Following comprehensive evaluation of the well data, including wireline logs, cuttings and gas data, preliminary interpretation confirms thick intervals of good quality reservoir exceeding pre-drill expectations”, Chariot explains in a statement, “with multiple gas shows of various intensity, however these reservoirs are largely interpreted to be water-bearing and therefore are sub-economic.”

Chariot, which describes itself as “Africa focused transitional energy group with three business streams, Transitional Gas, Transitional Power and Green Hydrogen”, says that the “RZK-1 well was safely and efficiently drilled, on time and on budget, to a final measured depth of 961metres through the Gaufrette Main target which was found on prognosis”.

The company, operates the Loukos Onshore licence with 75% interest, State hydrocarbon firm, ONHYM, holds the remaining 25%.

Further post-drill analysis will be conducted, alongside interpretation of the newly reprocessed  three dimensional (3D )seismic data, to understand the results of the well and implications for future exploration in the Gaufrette area, including potential deeper objectives.

“The well will now be plugged and abandoned and the rig will then move to the second location of the campaign to drill the OBA-1 well at the Dartois prospect in the coming days, which is targeting a different independent prospect. An update will follow confirming commencement of these operations”, Chariot adds.



Nigeria’s 2024 Bid Round Continues Roadshow:  NUPRC Releases Time Table, to Wrap Up in December

The Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC )’s International Road Show  moved to Miami, in the state of Florida, in the United States on May 14 2024, a week after the agency launched the US leg of the licencing round at the Offshore Technology Conference in Huston.

NUPRC is offering 12 blocks in its second licencing round in 15 months. The commission says that  in addition to these blocks, the seven deep offshore blocks from the 2022/2023 mini-bid round exercise shall also be concluded, bringing a total of 19 oil blocks offered to investors in 2024.

The 2022/2023 ultradeep water mini bid round, which was launched with fanfare in January 2023, was to conclude in July 2023 but was held up by lack of response from the new executive administration which came into power in May 2023.

“The Roadshow  is needed to showcase and provide insight into new investment opportunities in Oil and Gas Exploration in Nigeria”, the regulator remarks in its promotional material, adding that the core objectives were to: “release the requirements for qualification;  present avenues for new business and partnership opportunities; provide exclusive information, data, teasers of oil licenses in proposed 2024 bid rounds; highlight the hydrocarbon potential of the blocks and existing data packages; establish legal, fiscal and contractual framework and commercial terms and ease matchmaking between country representatives and NUPRC”.

The regulatory agency has released a Time Table for the bid round, which notes that registration/submission of Pre-Qualification documents is currently ongoing and will end on June 26, 2024.

2022-2023 Ultradeepwater Offerings are included

A Pre-Bid Conference is scheduled for May 25, 2024 and Evaluation of submissions/publication of prequalified applicants are scheduled to run from Jun 28 to July 2, 2024.

NUPRC will invite selected companies to participate in the licencing round on July 4, a process that is scheduled to end on July 8. The commission will then open up its portals for data access/ data purchase/evaluation/bid preparation and submission. That process will last for more than three months from July 8 to October 15, 2024.

Nigeria holds 36.966 Billion Barrels of Oil, which ranks her 2nd in Africa, 8th in OPEC and 11th in the world, the NUPRC promotional material explains. “Nigeria is also richly endowed with 208.83 Trillion cubit feet (Tcf) of Natural Gas reserves with upside potential estimated at 600 Tcf”.

Find below, the full schedule of events in the bid round calendar:

XOM Succeeds with a Near Field Exploration Well offshore Angola

By Fred Akanni

Angola’s Upstream hydrocarbon regulator ANPG has announced the successful drilling of an exploration well, Likembe-01, located in the Kizomba B development area, in Block 15, operated by ExxonMobil, in partnership with Azule Energy, Equinor and Sonangol.

“Drilled between the months of February and April, 2024, the well is located at a water depth of 1,200 metres, having crossed reservoirs of Miocene age and reaching a final depth of 3,013 metres, within the perimeter of the Kizomba B development area, in accordance with presidential decree 5/18 of 18 May, which allows additional exploration activity within development areas”, ANPG says in a release

The regulator notes that in the wireline logs and other interpretive tools recovered from the drilling, “it was possible to identify the existence of high-quality sand packages impregnated with hydrocarbons”.

ANPG explains that “Likembe-01, is the first well drilled within the scope of the preliminary agreements of the Incremental Production project, which is being approved by the Executive, aiming to provide incentives to investors to produce additional volumes in concessions currently in production, such as fundamental strategy for the sustainable development of the Angolan oil sector”.

The Angolan Ministry of Mineral Resources, Oil and Gas (MIREMPET) and the ANPG, have  “been working towards obtaining approval by the Executive of the Incremental Production project in line with development objectives sustainability and improvement of operational efficiency, in the Petroleum Sector, intended by ANPG”.

CGG Launches the Second, and Third 3D Reimaging Projects in “Hot Spot’ Côte d’Ivoire Offshore

By Toyin Akinosho, in Abidjan

The Norwegian geoscience company, CGG, has announced two more new multi-client, three dimensional (3D) seismic reimaging programmmes, to cover several acreages offshore Cote D’Ivoire, a country that has become a new hydrocarbon exploration hot spot.

The projects, named CDI24 Phase I and Phase II, come after the CDI23 (6,430 km2) carried out in late 22023 and they are all being produced in association with the country’s hydrocarbon regulator, Direction Générale des Hydrocarbures (DGH) and the state hydrocarbon company, PETROCI Holding (PETROCI).

“Both projects are supported by the industry, with Phase I commencing immediately and Phase II planned for H1 2025”, CGG says in a statement.

Cote D’Ivoire  returned to reckoning in the global oil patch after ENI, the aggressive Italian explorer, announced the discovery of Baleine field in the country’s deepwater Blocks CI-101 and CI-802 in September 2021. ENI has estimated 1.5 and 2.0Billion barrels of oil in place and between 1.8 and 2.4Trillion cubic feet (TCF) of associated gas for the accumulation, which was  also the first commercial discovery, made in the country since 2001.

The new programmes will be merged with the CDI23 (6,430 km2) reimaged data (originally marketed as 2023/2024 PDSM), to create a seamless and contiguous total volume of over 16,000 km2, overlapping the recently announced Calao discovery and adjacent to the world-class Baleine field.

CGG claims it is utilizing its latest proprietary imaging technologies and highly specialized high-performance computing “to provide the best possible results from legacy 3D seismic to support exploration offshore Côte d’Ivoire”.  It  describes its tools as  cutting-edge and lists them as  time-lag FWI, Q-FWI, Q-Kirchhoff and advanced deghosting and demultiple techniques, which, the company says, “aim to produce clearer images of the deep structural plays not visible in the legacy data, as well as imaging the Calao Cenomanian and Baleine Carbonate fairways at unrivalled resolution, providing a step-change in understanding of the opportunities in the region”.

Nigerian Court Pauses Rig Dispute Hearing Due to Filing Errors

By Lukman Aboolade, Senior Correspondent

A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos could not continue the hearing on the legal dispute between General Hydrocarbons Limited (GHL) and Dolphin Drillings due to incomplete filing from the latter.

The Judge, Akintayo Aluko, had granted an ex-parte motion filed by GHL that restrained Dolphin Drillings from various actions regarding the Rig – Noble Blackford Dolphin, pending the determination of a motion on notice for interlocutory injunction.

The Noble Blackford Dolphin owned by Dolphin Drillings is drilling in the Oyo Field Complex on Oil Mining License (OMLs) 120 & 121 for GHL.

The interim injunction, granted on Wednesday, 8th May, 2024, prohibits the respondents, their agents, servants, or anyone acting on their behalf, from removing, demobilizing, or decommissioning the Rig – Noble Blackford Dolphin from GHL’s field. Additionally, it restrains interference with GHL’s rights under the contract for the use of the rig, along with the respondents’ personnel involved in drilling operations on fields EWO-2 and OYO-8.

Although the court declined a relief from GHL, which pertained to a mandatory interim injunction directing the respondents to continue fulfilling contractual obligations, it granted leave to GHL to serve the second respondent through Frank Fenton, the Rig Manager of Blackford Dolphin Rig, located within the jurisdiction of the court, either personally or via email. The court also mandated GHL to file a formal undertaking as to damages, to indemnify the respondents in case the order was deemed improper.

During the resumption of the hearing on Tuesday, the counsel representing GHL, Olasupo Shasore (SAN), told the court that although the respondents served a motion to discharge, only 6 out of 12 pages referenced in the motion was sent. He added that he did not receive the remainder of the copies until Tuesday, the adjourned date for hearing, which made it impossible for the respondent to file a response.

Counsel to the respondents, Olusina Shofola, told the court that it was an error in the rush to file the motion and apologized to the Court. Justice Aluko adjourned the Court to Monday 20th May, 2024, to allow GHL file a response to the motion to discharge.

However, the Judge also fixed Wednesday 15th May, to deliberate and decide upon the appointment of a sole arbitrator for the dispute among the parties.

Earlier in March, Dolphin Drillings and GHL reached an agreement regarding past-due payments and the remaining work under the drilling contract for the rig, which was initially supposed to run until the end of March. However, payment disagreements extended it, having received two instalment payments in 2024, while the next payment was due by late April 2024. Due to a failure to meet the next payment date, Dolphin Drillings announced the termination of its contract with GHL.

“The terms for payment under the agreement with GHL have not been met, and the Company therefore confirms that it has, in accordance with the agreement, today issued a notice of termination to GHL. The Company will now prepare the Blackford Dolphin for transit to India in the near term and intends to pursue the recovery of sums remaining due by GHL. Any further information will be provided in due course,” the company said. The termination prompted GHL to approach the court for an injunction and to appoint a general arbitrator.

The hearing on the motion on Notice is set to commence on Monday 20th May, 2024.

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