All posts tagged power


Michael Ajukwu Takes the Chairmanship of LEKOIL 

Michael Onochie Ajukwu, a Nigerian businessman, has been named Chairman of LEKOIL Limited, after Metallon Corporation succeeded in getting the three directors it nominated into the company’s board of directors, at the Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) of the company on January 8 2021.

He takes over from Mark Simmonds, the British diplomat and politician, who had been in the position for just about a year.

Mr. Simmonds is as high profile as they come. He was Britain’s Foreign & Commonwealth Office Minister with responsibilities for Africa, the Caribbean, UK Overseas Territories, International Energy and Conflict Prevention. He served as a Member of the UK Parliament for fourteen (14) years and was also a senior advisor to the then Prime Minister, David Cameron.

Simmonds took over the Chairmanship at a time of huge reputational challenges for LEKOIL: the company’s shares were in a headlong crash in January 2020, after the AIM listed firm discovered that a $184 Million loan it had announced was fraudulent.

But LEKOIL had not been able to live down the smear. And it was one of the issues that Metallon Corporation raised, two months after it bought 15% share of the company and moved in for board changes.

“I am honoured to assume the position of Chairman of LEKOIL and would like to thank my predecessor, Mark Simmonds, for his contributions to the Company”, Ajukwu, known in Lagos  business circles for his closeness to South African brands and Nigerian banking interests, said. “I look forward to working with my colleagues on the Board and the management of LEKOIL to deliver a high performing company anchored on strong governance structures that produces value for all shareholders.”

The path to Mr. Ajukwu’s chairmanship was cleared when Mr. Simmonds chose to step down as Chairman at the EGM and all resolutions that Metallon put to the meeting were duly passed, with Metallon’s nominated directors, including Michael Ajukwu, Thomas Richardson and George Maxwell invited to join the Board with immediate effect.

Mr. Simmonds noted his intention to stand down from board Chairmanship role with immediate effect with a new Chairman to be appointed by the enlarged board of directors.

 


Tripartite Meeting Resumes on Ethiopia’s Giant Hydroelectric Project

Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan have resumed negotiations on Ethiopia’s Renaissance Dam, in Khartoum, capital of Sudan.
A meeting between the three countries’ irrigation ministers, an AU representative, and AU chair South Africa’s foreign minister took place Sunday, August 16, 2020.
Although the giant dam is largely for Ethiopia’s electricity supply, the meeting brings together the irrigation and foreign ministers from the three countries.
The ministers will sit again on Tuesday, August 18, with Nalendi Pandor, South Africa’s foreign minister, who is representing Africa Union chair South African President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Ethiopia has been building the Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile since 2011, a project that has become a source of intense tension between Addis Ababa on the one hand, and Cairo and Khartoum on the other hand. This dam is expected to become the largest water-powered generation facility in Africa.
The 6,000 MW dam is to have a power generation of 16,153 GWh per annum through 16 generating units with 375 MW nameplate capacity each.

The initial filling of the reservoir has been a sticky point in the conversations. Ethiopia has insisted it will not accept negotiations that will lead to “legally binding” on the initial filling arrangements as they limit the country’s fair and equitable access to the Nile.


High Rainfalls Crimp Natural Gas Demand in Tanzania

Natural gas demand by power plants in Tanzania were impacted by sustained and significant rainfalls that enabled the Tanzania Electricity Supply Company (TANESCO) to operate its hydro facilities at high utilization rates, Orca Petroleum has reported.

The country is now entering the dry season and gas demand is expected to increase for the remainder of the year.

But the state energy firm has remained a diligent customer to its gas suppliers.

“Despite the lower demand for gas from the power sector, TANESCO has continued to pay back its arrears during the first six months of the year”, Orca Petroleum says in a release.

Orca Petroleum produces natural gas from the Songo Songo gas field on Songo Songo Island onshore Tanzania. It is the biggest single supplier to the Tanzanian domestic gas market.

The company says it has carefully managed an operational team that has enabled it to maintain production on Songo Songo Island has enabled throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

In seond quarter 2020, Orca’s production averaged around 85MMscf/d, comprising additional gas sales, which is what the company is entitled to earn revenue from and protected gas, which is what the Tanzanian Petroleum Development Company (TPDC) is assigned in the contract.


US Agency Awards Grant for Solar, Hydro Power in Northern Nigeria

The US Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) has awarded a grant to Konexa Energy for studies into solar power supply in parts of Northern Nigeria.

The support will enable technical and financial studies to be carried out. The studies will also address the regulatory and legal requirements of the mini-grids project. The American agency, which has shown keen interest in energy supplies in Nigeria, did not specify the amount of its subsidy.

Konexa, a new, renewable energy company with offices in London and Abuja, plans to generate 2.5 MW of electricity from several solar photovoltaic systems in Kaduna, in Nigeria’s northwest. “This project will support the development of critical energy infrastructure and an innovative business model to improve the generation, transmission and distribution of electricity in Nigeria, as well as to improve the supply of electricity to off-grid customers,” says Thomas R. Hardy, acting director of the USTDA.

The small solar power plants will be installed to supply mini power grids serving residential (household), commercial and industrial customers in Kaduna State in northern Nigeria.

Hardy says that the grant will also to support the acquisition of 30 MW of hydropower capacity from an existing but decommissioned plant. The electricity will be distributed through the Konexa grid. The USTDA grant is part of Prosper Africa, a U.S. government initiative to increase two-way trade and investment between the United States and Africa.

The company selected for the studies will carry out the environmental and social impact studies, assist in the selection of the meters and thus provide an analysis of the expected impacts of the development of the mini-grids.


South African Cement Producer to Build A Power Plant in Zimbabwe

Pretoria Portland Cement (PPC) is mobilizing finance to build and operate a 32 MW photovoltaic solar power plant in Colleen Bawn, in Zimbabwe’s Matabeleland South Province.

The Johannesburg based company has picked a Solar Power supplier for the project, the construction of which is expected to last around 18 months.

Half of the electricity produced will be used to power PPC’s facilities and the other half will be fed into Zimbabwe’s national electricity grid.

Zimbabwe is chronically short of electricity, with the country’s power utility supplying only around 1,000MW, to a population of 15 million people.

But Solar Energy solutions have become hugely popular in the southern African country in the last two years, such that more than 100 000 solar power systems are installed in homes across Zimbabwe, according to figures from the Ministry of Energy.

And companies are now turning to off grid independent solar energy. Last April,  the Caledonia Mining Corporation, which operates the Blanket gold mine, also in Matabeleland South Province, issued a call for tenders for a 19.65 MW solar project.

 


Egypt, Ethiopia Far from a Truce over Massive Hydroelectric Project

An agreement is still quite far-fetched between the three countries in the conflict over the largest hydroelectric power project in Africa.

Egypt’s Irrigation ministry says that the current round of negotiations, which concludes Friday, is not heading anywhere.

Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan have been in talks regarding the impact on the flow of water in the River Nile, from the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) by Ethiopia.

At 6,450MW, the dam, formerly known as the Millennium Dam, will be the largest hydroelectric power plant in Africa, when completed.

Located in the country’s Benishangul-Gumuz Region, 15km east of the border with Sudan, it will also be the seventh largest in the world.

The gravity dam on the Blue Nile River has been under construction since 2011.

As of October 2019, the work stood at approximately 70% completion., but the filling of the reservoir, scheduled to begin in July 2020, is what is being held up by complaints from Egypt, which insists that the work will drain away large volume of water from its own section of the river.

An emergency meeting and videoconference of the Executive Council of the African Union, chaired by the South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, a week ago, resulted in considerable ease of tension.

After the talks, Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan agreed to postpone the impoundment of the gigantic dam.

Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok said in a statement that it had been “agreed that the filling of the dam would be postponed until an agreement was reached”.

Mr. Hamdok added that “Sudan is one of the main beneficiaries of the dam, but also one of the big losers if the risks are not limited, which is why it reminds Egypt and Ethiopia of the absolute need to find a solution, “.

The Nile, which flows over some 6,000 km, is an essential source of water and electricity for a dozen countries in East Africa. Egypt gets 97% of its water needs from this river.

 


Cameroon’s Gas to Power Market in Distress

By Sully Manope

The Cameroonian electricity company ENEO (Energy of Cameroon), has announced a 32.6% drop in the production of thermal power stations in the country in the first quarter of 2020.

The reduction (compared with production during the same period in 2019), was due to rationing carried out “at some power stations because of a fuel shortage caused by enormous cash constraints.

ENEO has been unable to pay companies that supply gas to its generators (including Victoria Oil &Gas) as well as companies that generate power from natural gas (Globeleq, Aggreko).

Altaaqa, which supplied the generator ENEO used to convert gas to electricity at Logbagba, in Douala City, suspended operations at ENEO’s Logbaba site in September 2019.

Production capacities at Aggreko operated generating plants at Maroua and Bertoua decreased by almost 60% during the period under review, ENEO reports. Generation from Globeleq operated Kribi and Dibamba gas-fired plants also fell drastically.

This drop in thermal energy production, was, very slightly, offset by increased hydropower production, which had an uptick of 3%.

Overall, the Song Loulou and Edéa hydroelectric plants, both on the Sanaga River, provided 65% of Cameroon’s energy supply over the period.

 


Cameroon’s Power Utility Pushes its Gas Supplier into the Red

ENEO was once a key reason for Gaz du Cameroun (GDC) to dream big.

Seven years ago, the Cameroonian power utility promised an offtake of double the size of gas that the factories and other firms in Douala could readily demand from GDC, as the latter constructed pipelines and other infrastructure to incentivize consumption of gas in the country’s main commercial city.

But now ENEO (short for Energy of Cameroon), has fallen far behind in payment. The gross amount outstanding from the utility as at 31 December 2019 was $10.5Million, a significant debit in the balance sheet of a small player with production hardly exceeding six million standard cubic feet of gas per day 6MMscf/d.

The Logbagba gas field near Douala is GDC’s source of gas.

 As far back as 14 September 2019, Altaaqa, the generator supplier to ENEO, suspended operations at ENEO’s Logbaba site due to non-payment of invoices by ENEO.

GDC had continued to invoice ENEO based on take-or-pay provisions agreed to in the binding term sheet.

In April 2020, GDC announced that ENEO had arranged “payment of Four Invoices amounting to a net total of $2.9Million to GDC via “promissory notes” in the quarter”. That comes to no more than $4.2Million gross, but there is still a significant value of unpaid invoice to go.

ENEO’s default in paying a hydrocarbon producer is contrary to the new normal in Africa, where monopoly utilities and state hydrocarbon companies have general turned the corner in their attitude to paying debts owed to hydrocarbon producers in their countries.

Tanzania’s state hydrocarbon company TPDC and state power monopoly TANESCO pay gas producers more promptly. Egypt’s EGAS has improved terms of gas tariffs and annulled its debts significantly. Nigeria’s NNPC, though not exactly comparable as its case is joint venture agreements, has almost extinguished cash call arrears.

What makes the ENEO example particularly odd is that it is not an entirely state-owned company. It is majorly owned (51%) by Actis, the British investor and 44% owned by the Government of Cameroon. ENEO employees own a 5% stake. It is indeed an outlier of an example.


Cameroon Calls for Expression of Interest for Limbe Gas to Power Plant

Cameroon has launched a call for expression of interest to pre-qualify partners for the study, construction, and operation (Build, Operate and Transfer mode) of a gas-fired thermal power plant in Limbé, in the country’s Southwest.

Bidders have until July 10, 2020, to submit bids for this project, which must be completed by 2024, according to the government’s timeline.

With a production capacity of 350 MW, the Limbe gas-fired power station is expected to improve the supply of electricity in the Littoral, West, and South-West regions, a statement by the Ministry of Energy noted.

The Limbé power project is expected to include the conversion to natural gas of an existing 85 MW heavy- fuel-oil-fired reciprocating power plant and the addition, at the same site, of 265 MW of new-plant capacity. The new construction will be a combined-cycle, gas-fired plant.

Over the past 12 years, several actors have been involved in one iteration or the other of this project. With this expression of interest, it does seem as if the Cameroonian government has severed relationship with these players.

 


Shell Plots A Return To Angola

By Moses Aremu, Editor

Anglo Dutch major Shell is keen on purchasing the operator stake in Angola’s Blocks 21/09 and 20/11, two very prospective acreages in the deepwater Kwanza Basin. These are the assets that Cobalt Energy, the US minnow, operated in the country until 2015, when it sought to sell its 40% stake in them to Sonangol, the state hydrocarbon company, for $1.75Billion.

That transaction fell apart in 2016, and Cobalt took Sonangol to international arbitration over its failure to extend the licence deadlines. The two companies reached a settlement-Sonangol reported in December 2017- which called for Sonangol paying $150Million by February 23, 2018 and a further $350Million by July 1, 2018.  

Sonangol has now put up, for auction, Cobalt’s 40% stake and operatorship of these assets.

Observers see Shell’s interest in the blocks as a way of re-entering the country. Cobalt’s 2016 annual report indicated that it made seven discoveries in the blocks with a total of 750Million gross barrels of oil equivalent. A significant part of the volume is natural gas, the hydrocarbon fluid type that Shell is most interested in trading with.

Shell went to Sonangol’s data showroom in Houston on early June 2018, with a delegation of about a dozen officials and the company was widely speculated as the leading contender for the assets.

Shell was one of the earliest entrants into the deepwater activity in Angola between the early and late 1990s. Its Bengo-1 well, drilled in Block 16, tested 1,780BOPD in one reservoir, the first discovery in deepwater Angola. The company’s initial enthusiasm about the structure was restrained by the well’s high gas cap and pancake thin reservoirs, but Shell was willing to risk an early production. The enthusiasm waned when Bengo-2 turned out to miss even the thin bed that was of such fascinating interest in Bengo-1. Then the more it drilled, the less fortunate the company got.  Whereas other operators: TOTAL, Chevron, ExxonMobil, even BP, went on to make discovery after giant discovery, Shell got trapped in a run of ill luck, drilling nine wells in Block 16, most with marginal results. This is curious, because Block 16 is located between the two most successful leases in the country: ExxonMobil’s Block 15 to the north and TOTAL’s Block 17 to the south. The last well Shell drilled in Block 16 was Chiluango-1 which was abandoned in early November 1998 as a dry well. In 1999, the company packed out of Angola and shifted its gaze to Nigeria where, by 1996, it had become sure of the deliverability of its huge Bonga structure, located in the upper slope of the deepwater Niger Delta.

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