Africa

Libyan oil output rises to 700,000 bpd after port fighting ends: NOC

23 Mar 2017   Libya

Libya’s oil production has reached 700,000 barrels per day (bpd), the National Oil Corporation (NOC) said on Wednesday, recovering from a drop earlier this month caused by fighting at two key oil ports. “We are working very hard to reach 800,000 barrels by the end of April 2017, and, God willing, we will reach 1.1 million barrels next August,” NOC Chairman Mustafa Sanalla was quoted as saying in a statement. The NOC said in a separate statement it hoped to produce 55,000 bpd in the coming weeks from the Abu Attifel and Rimal fields, which are currently closed for maintenance. The fields are operated by Mellitah Oil and Gas, a joint venture between the NOC and Italy’s ENI. The NOC said Mellitah is currently producing 41,000 bpd […]

Algeria’s Sonatrach to Invest $50 Billion, Boost Crude Output

23 Mar 2017   Algeria

Algeria’s state-run energy producer plans to boost crude oil output by 14 percent in the four years to 2019 and invest billions of dollars in exploration projects. Sonatrach Group expects to invest $9 billion from 2017 to 2021 in its search for new deposits of oil and natural gas, said Farid Djettou, head of the company’s associations division, which is responsible for foreign contracts. Sonatrach will drill an average of 100 wells annually over the same five years and plans to invest more than $50 billion in all of its operations during this period, Djettou said Wednesday in an interview in the coastal city of Oran. Algeria is Africa’s biggest gas producer and a member of OPEC, and Sonatrach’s exports generate more than half of the government’s budget revenue. The country’s oil output has declined since August 2008, and its production of 1.04 million barrels a day in February […]

Libya’s Oil Production Rebounds Back to Level Before Clashes

23 Mar 2017   Libya

Libya’s oil production has climbed back to the level before clashes disrupted output three weeks ago and forced the OPEC nation’s two biggest oil ports to halt shipments. Output is 700,000 barrels a day and the target is 800,000 barrels a day before the end of April, Mustafa Sanalla, chairman of state-run National Oil Corp., said by email Wednesday. The nation’s biggest port, Es Sider, will load a tanker with crude on March 26, Jadalla Alaokali, board member at NOC, said earlier Wednesday by phone. Libya has sought to boost crude exports after fighting among rival militias hobbled oil production following the 2011 revolt that ousted former leader Moammar Al Qaddafi. The conflict showed signs of calming in recent months, with oil output rising to 700,000 barrels a day in February from 260,000 a day in August, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Libya pumped 1.6 million barrels a […]

Why Libya Oil Revival Hinges on Fate of Two Ports

23 Mar 2017   Libya

Libya’s ability to reclaim its role as a reliable supplier of crude depends on the fate of a pair of oil ports on the war-ravaged country’s coast. Es Sider and Ras Lanuf have changed hands twice this month as rival military groups have battled over them. The two ports hold almost half of Libya’s capacity to export oil from onshore terminals, and the country’s ability to sell abroad affects prices globally.

1. Why are the ports so important?

Libya’s oil ports have been a focus of competing political forces since central authority collapsed after the 2011 ouster and killing of strongman Muammar Qaddafi. Es Sider and Ras Lanuf are especially valuable because they are the main outlets for crude pumped at fields in Libya’s interior. When operating normally, Es Sider can export as much as 340,000 barrels a day, while Ras Lanuf can ship 220,000 barrels a day. Located in Libya’s so-called Oil Crescent along its central Mediterranean coast, the terminals together account for 47 percent of the total capacity of the country’s onshore oil ports. Whoever controls them has a grip on Libya’s most important source of income.

A New Start For Egypt And Saudi Arabia’s Weathered Relationship

23 Mar 2017   Egypt, Saudi Arabia

Saudi oil shipments to Egypt have resumed after several months of political crisis between Cairo and Riyadh. Egyptian oil ministry sources stated on 19 March that the first two oil shipments from Saudi giant Aramco have been delivered. No reactions were given by Saudi Aramco or officials until now. Egypt expects to receive two other deliveries on March 26-27. Analysts have been watching the crisis between Saudi Arabia and Egypt, as both Arab leaders were in a brawl based on differences on regional politics, the position of Syria’s president Assad and the role of Russia in the region. In April 2016, Saudi Arabia agreed to finance Egyptian imports of refined products from Aramco for five years in a $23 billion deal. In October 2016, Aramco suspended oil deliveries to Egypt after Cairo supported a Russian backed UN Security Council resolution on Syria. Saudi Arabia is a staunch supporter of […]

China’s Sinopec buys first major African refinery in Chevron deal

23 Mar 2017   China, South Africa

China’s Sinopec ( 600028.SS ) ( 0386.HK ) said on Wednesday it has agreed to pay almost $1 billion for a 75 percent stake in Chevron Corp’s ( CVX.N ) South African assets and its subsidiary in Botswana, securing its first major refinery on the continent. China Petroleum and Chemical Corp, or Sinopec, Asia’s largest oil refiner, said the assets include a 100,000 barrel-per-day oil refinery in Cape Town, a lubricants plant in Durban as well as 820 petrol stations and other oil storage facilities. They also include 220 convenience stores across South Africa and Botswana. With a growing middle class, demand in South Africa for refined petroleum has increased by nearly 5 percent annually over the past five years, to currently total about 27 million tonnes, it said. Sinopec said it would […]

Why Libya Oil Revival Hinges on Fate of Two Ports

22 Mar 2017   Libya

Libya’s ability to reclaim its role as a reliable supplier of crude depends on the fate of a pair of oil ports on the war-ravaged country’s coast. Es Sider and Ras Lanuf have changed hands twice this month as rival military groups have battled over them. The two ports hold almost half of Libya’s capacity to export oil from onshore terminals, and the country’s ability to sell abroad affects prices globally.

Libya’s oil ports have been a focus of competing political forces since central authority collapsed after the 2011 ouster and killing of strongman Muammar Qaddafi. Es Sider and Ras Lanuf are especially valuable because they are the main outlets for crude pumped at fields in Libya’s interior. When operating normally, Es Sider can export as much as 340,000 barrels a day, while Ras Lanuf can ship 220,000 barrels a day. Located in Libya’s so-called Oil Crescent along its central Mediterranean coast, the terminals together account for 47 percent of the total capacity of the country’s onshore oil ports. Whoever controls them has a grip on Libya’s most important source of income.

The ports were badly damaged in fighting in December 2014 and closed for 21 months. The National Oil Corporation reopened the terminals in September, but they stopped shipping cargoes abroad this month because of the latest hostilities. The export halts have had a knock-on effect on oil production: storage tanks at the terminals become full, pipelines feeding them back up with crude, and fields that produce the oil must curtail output. The new round of fighting over control of the ports starting in early March curbed the country’s oil production but left the facilities almost undamaged.

Nigeria orders developers in Niger Delta to resume work within 30 days

22 Mar 2017   Nigeria

Nigeria has given contractors 30 days to resume delayed development projects in the Niger Delta oil region or face prosecution, the presidency said on Tuesday. The government has been trying to build new roads and launch other projects to drag the region out of poverty and create jobs, aiming to give local people alternatives to joining the militants attacking oil facilities. The government has “directed that the list of all contractors who have not returned to site within the stipulated period be compiled and submitted to the Ministry of Justice and the Economic Financial Crimes Commission for investigation and prosecution,” it said in a statement. Many projects have been delayed due to the collapse in oil revenues or to graft accusations. The presidency also ordered the ministry of environment to ensure “progress” of an cleanup of oil spills in the Ogoniland area, a project delayed for years. “The Federal […]

Libya Ports Poised to Ship Oil as Workers Back After Clashes

21 Mar 2017   Libya

Libya’s major oil ports of Es Sider and Ras Lanuf are resuming operations and preparing to export crude after a two-week halt in shipments due to military clashes in the holder of Africa’s largest crude reserves. Libya’s total production rose to 646,000 barrels a day from 621,000 barrels on Sunday mostly due to an increase from Waha Oil Co., Jadalla Alaokali, a National Oil Corp. board member, said Monday by phone. Waha Oil feeds into Es Sider, the country’s biggest oil port. Staff are returning to Es Sider and Ras Lanuf, its third-largest, and exports are set to restart in a week to 10 days, Alaokali said Sunday. “Both ports are ready to restart exports,” Alaokali said. Waha Oil, a joint venture between the NOC, Hess Corp., Marathon Oil Corp. and ConocoPhillips, suspended production earlier this month after clashes between armed factions in the politically divided nation forced Es […]

Russia enlarges military footprint in Libya

21 Mar 2017   Libya, Russia

Libyan Field Marshall Khalifa Haftar, a fiery commander in eastern Libya, has declared war against radical Islamists, including the Islamic State and al-Qaida, but is controversial for perceived iron-fist tactics. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia TUNIS, March 20 (UPI) — Russia, 19 months after becoming a key player in the Syrian war, is increasing its military presence in Libya and is likely to back Libyan Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar in the tumultuous civil conflict. Haftar, a fiery commander in eastern Libya, has declared war against radical Islamists, including the Islamic State and al-Qaida, but is controversial for perceived iron-fist tactics. In September, Haftar gained control of main oil terminals in the country’s east but lost ground to Islamist forces early this month. While Haftar has received intelligence and security support from France, Britain and the United States, as well as backing from Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, Western countries […]

Egypt moves from electricity deficit to sufficiency

21 Mar 2017   Egypt

The opening of three major power plants in March was the latest in Egypt’s efforts to end its electricity shortage crisis. “Huge work is being done in this country to end the problem,” said Gamal al-Qaluibi, a power engineering professor at Cairo University. “In less than two years, the government managed to end electrical power shortages and even pave the road for surpluses.” When they are operating fully in 2018 as expected, the three electrical power plants, one in the central province of Beni Suef and the others in the new capital being built on the outskirts of Cairo, will produce 14,000 megawatts of electricity every year. In 2013, Egypt produced 24,000 MW but 29,000 MW were needed to bring light to all households, make factory machines run, power equipment at hospitals and […]

Who Gets Control Of Libya’s Oil As The Guns Go Silent?

21 Mar 2017   Libya

The Libyan National Oil Corporation expects to soon regain control over the Es Sider and Ras Lanuf oil terminals, which were the point of clashes between the Libyan National Army and the Benghazi Defense Brigades that ended last week with the LNA taking the ports back from the BDB. Although there was doubt as to whether the LNA would be willing to pass control over the ports to the NOC again, the company’s chairman told Reuters there is no reason to doubt. Doubts are likely to remain, however, as last week saw developments that may lead to the split of the NOC along government/parliament lines. The LNA is loyal to the Tobruk-based House of Representatives, the Libyan parliament, which opposes the UN-backed Government of National Accord. The GNA, together with Libya’s central bank, controls the oil export revenues from the four ports in the Oil Crescent. When the LNA […]

Libya Ports Poised to Ship Oil as Workers Back After Clashes

21 Mar 2017   Libya

Libya’s major oil ports of Es Sider and Ras Lanuf are resuming operations and preparing to export crude after a two-week halt in shipments due to military clashes in the holder of Africa’s largest crude reserves. Libya’s total production rose to 646,000 barrels a day from 621,000 barrels on Sunday mostly due to an increase from Waha Oil Co., Jadalla Alaokali, a National Oil Corp. board member, said Monday by phone. Waha Oil feeds into Es Sider, the country’s biggest oil port. Staff are returning to Es Sider and Ras Lanuf, its third-largest, and exports are set to restart in a week to 10 days, Alaokali said Sunday. “Both ports are ready to restart exports,” Alaokali said. Waha Oil, a joint venture between the NOC, Hess Corp., Marathon Oil Corp. and ConocoPhillips, suspended production earlier this month after clashes between armed factions in the politically divided nation forced Es […]

Shrinking GDP, Surging Prices to Keep Nigerian Rates on Hold

21 Mar 2017   Nigeria

Faced with a contracting economy, surging inflation and a rigid exchange rate, Nigeria’s central bank will have little choice but to keep its key interest rate unchanged on Tuesday. The Monetary Policy Committee led by Governor Godwin Emefiele has held the policy rate at 14 percent since July and is unlikely to make a change, according to all 17 economists and analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Foreign-exchange policy has become a common agenda-item for the committee as the nation maintains a managed currency float and has stopped importers of goods it deems non-essential from buying dollars on the official market. While this has contributed to a rapid increase in consumer prices, Emefiele said on March 11 that allowing the naira to freely float will hurt the economy, which shrank by 1.5 percent last year, the first contraction since 1991. “They won’t cut because inflation remains high, and they won’t hike […]

Exclusive: Libya’s NOC says expects to regain Es Sider, Ras Lanuf oil ports

20 Mar 2017   Libya

Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC) has been coordinating with military forces from eastern Libya and has “no reason to believe” it will not regain control of the Es Sider and Ras Lanuf oil ports, NOC’s chairman said. The loss and recapture of the ports this month by the eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA) had raised doubts over its willingness to let the Tripoli-based NOC manage the ports. Revenue from the sites is controlled by a central bank and U.N.-backed government in the capital which pro-LNA factions oppose. Eastern officials accuse rivals in Tripoli and the western city of Misrata of supporting a March 3 attack on the ports by a faction known as the Benghazi Defense Brigades (BDB). An oil guard commander appointed by the […]

Russia Urges Calm After Libya Strongman It Backs Takes Oil Ports

17 Mar 2017   Libya

Russia urged restraint after a powerful Libyan military commander that it supports regained control of key oil facilities taken by forces loyal to the United Nations-backed government.  “We urge all the conflicting Libyan sides to show common sense and to refrain from the use of force to avoid the danger of escalation of civil conflict,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told reporters in Moscow on Thursday.  Troops loyal to Khalifa Haftar, the eastern Libyan commander who’s in conflict with the UN-backed government in the capital, Tripoli, recaptured the country’s biggest port, Es Sider, and its third-largest, Ras Lanuf, on Tuesday after weeks of clashes that curbed oil production.  The fighting, including airstrikes, dealt a blow to international efforts to restore stability in the country that has Africa’s largest crude reserves. The ports had been seized by a rival group earlier this month that passed control of them to the government, which urged Haftar’s army not to bomb the oil facilities.

Nigeria: Oil Companies Urged to Relocate Bases

17 Mar 2017   Nigeria

Captains of industry and commerce have endorsed calls by the Nigerian government for oil companies to relocate their headquarters to their areas of operations. The Port Harcourt Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (PHCCIMA) said this would be a major step in quelling the under development, poverty and associated social vices of militancy and insecurity in the areas. “Doing otherwise will tantamount to playing the ostrich game,” said Dr Emi Membere-Otaji Fnim, PHCCIMA President said. He mentioned international firms like Shell, Chevron and Total. Fnim said the move to relocate the firms would also increase economic activities while the youths would be gainfully engaged instead of doing crime. “It’s time for government to in reality walk the talk to rejig the economies of the oil producing area states,” said Fnim. The call comes amid militants’ attacks in the Delta State, which while is the continent’s leading […]

Oil production ongoing in Libya, OMV says

16 Mar 2017   Libya

A spokesperson for Austrian energy company OMV said oil production in Libya is ongoing and the opportunity for gains is expected this year.  Libya is one of the members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries exempt from a deal limiting oil production so it can steer its oil revenue toward national security issues. Libya has struggled with security issues at least since the so-called Arab Spring movements and production has been far below historic peaks at about 1 million barrels per day.  Industry sources reported Libyan production declined 111,000 barrels per day to around 600,000 barrels per day as conflict reignites in the so-called oil crescent. The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights said Tuesday it’s seen reports of summary executions and torture in the conflict zones in Libya.

Saudi Aramco to resume oil product shipments to Egypt soon

16 Mar 2017   Egypt, Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabian state oil company Aramco will resume oil product shipments to Egypt some six months after halting them suddenly, the Egyptian Petroleum Ministry said on Wednesday, signaling a potential thaw in relations after months of tension. The ministry said in a statement that it was working with Aramco on a timetable for the resumption of shipments and that the reasons behind the October cut-off were purely commercial. “It was agreed that the Saudi Arabian side would resume Aramco’s shipping of oil products as per the commercial contract signed between the Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation and Aramco,” the statement said. Saudi Aramco could not be reached for immediate comment. “Very shortly we will finalize the time and place for receiving shipments from Aramco,” a ministry official told Reuters, asking not to be identified because he is not authorized to speak to the media. Asked if shipments would resume within […]

Total starts production in deep Congolese waters

16 Mar 2017   Congo

French supermajor Total said it started production at a deep-water prospect off the Congolese coast with a production capacity of 100,000 barrels per day. “Moho Nord is the biggest oil development to date in the Republic of the Congo,” Arnaud Breuillac, president for Total’s exploration and production division, said in a statement . “A showcase for Total’s deep offshore operational excellence, it consolidates our leading position in Africa.” Production from Moho Nord comes through 34 wells tied to a platform that Total considers unique to its operations offshore Africa. The deep-water prospect has a peak production capacity of 100,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day. West Africa has drawn interest from international energy companies eager to tap into […]

Libya’s eastern parliament speaker says Russia offered aid

15 Mar 2017   Libya

The speaker of the parliament based in the eastern part of Libya says Russia has promised military assistance. House of Representatives President Agila Saleh told Russia’s state RIA Novosti news agency Tuesday that authorities in the east have asked Moscow to help train army personnel and repair military equipment. Saleh says that “we were promised assistance in the fight against terrorism.” In January, Field Marshal Khalifa Hifter, a military chief allied with the parliament opposed to the U.N.-backed government in Tripoli, visited a Russian aircraft carrier off Libya’s coast and had a call with the Russian defense minister. Russia also hosted Faez Sarraj, the prime minister of the government in Tripoli, this month in an apparent effort to expand its clout in the fractured country by talking to both sides.

Libya Crude Oil Output Said to Fall 11% on Field, Port Closings

13 Mar 2017   Libya

Libya’s crude output dropped 11 percent as clashes among rival armed groups over the last 10 days led to the closing of some of the OPEC nation’s biggest oil export terminals, forcing a number of fields to halt production. Output fell by about 80,000 barrels a day to 620, 000 barrels since fighting among armed groups broke out on March 3, according to a person familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified because of a lack of permission to speak to media. Es Sider, the country’s biggest oil port, and Ras Lanuf, its third-largest, remain closed, according to the person. Crude production halted at Waha Oil. Co., which pumps crude to Es Sider. Waha is a joint venture between the state oil company National Oil Corp., Hess Corp., Marathon Oil Corp. and ConocoPhillips. The clashes dealt a blow to recent gains in the North African nation’s […]

Libyan Oil May Be Slipping Out Of Putin’s Reach

13 Mar 2017   Libya

Last Friday, news broke that the Benghazi Defense Brigades seized control of two major Libyan ports on the “Oil Crescent,” posing a real challenge to Khalifa Haftar and Russia’s grip on the area after weeks of clashes. According to the unified National Oil Corporation (NOC), the takeover of the Ras Lanuf and Es Sider ports has caused exports to fall by roughly 80,000 barrels per day to a rate of 620,000 bpd. The commercially vital area has now turned into a military zone with Haftar’s Libya National Army on the sidelines. The BDB clarified this week that it had handed the crucial ports over to the Petroleum Facilities Guard (PFG), which is allied with the United Nations-sanctioned Government of National Accord in Tripoli – an institution Haftar has repeatedly refused to recognize after multiple invitations to join its leadership hierarchy. The latest refusal came in Cairo, a city considered […]

Nigeria’s Proposed Sale of Oft-Bombed Oil Assets Won’t Be Easy

13 Mar 2017   Nigeria

For sale: stakes in oil fields. Bids from world class energy companies preferred. Pipelines and terminals associated with the deposits only blown up about a dozen times in the past year. Deal may depend on crude prices. Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari’s government on March 7 proposed a plan to jump start the economy by, among other things, selling stakes in joint-venture oil projects within the next three years. Given a militancy escalation that blighted those very assets last year, and previous struggles to privatize state businesses, analysts inside and outside the west African country say such sales won’t be straightforward. “Nigeria’s track record on privatization and divestments has not exactly been the best, so people are probably going to greet this news with a certain degree of skepticism and I think rightly so,” Manji Cheto, a West Africa specialist at Teneo Intelligence in London, said by phone. “I don’t […]

Tanker to Libya’s Biggest Oil Port Diverted to Avoid Conflict

10 Mar 2017   Libya

An oil tanker that was scheduled to load crude at Libya’s Es Sider port changed its course to a different terminal in the west of the country as clashes in the eastern region keep the main export terminals out of service. Waha Oil Co. halted production due to the conflict. The tanker Overseas Redwood, originally due to load 630,000 barrels of crude at Es Sider on Thursday, will arrive instead at the port of Zawiya, according to a person familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public. Production from Waha Oil. Co., a joint venture between the state oil company National Oil Corp., Hess Corp., Marathon Oil Corp. and ConocoPhillips, is now suspended as key ports have been closed for almost a week, according to a person familiar with the situation, who asked not to be identified because of a lack of […]

ExxonMobil to acquire interest in Mozambique Area 4 from Eni

10 Mar 2017   Mozambique

ExxonMobil Corp. and Eni SPA have signed a sale and purchase agreement to enable ExxonMobil to acquire from Eni a 25% indirect interest in the natural gas-rich Area 4 block offshore Mozambique. Eni currently holds a 50% indirect share in the block through a 71.4% stake in Eni East Africa, which owns 70% of the Area 4 concession. The agreed terms include a cash price of about $2.8 billion. The acquisition will be completed following satisfaction of a number of conditions precedent, including clearance from Mozambican and other regulatory authorities. Eni will continue to lead the 3.3 million-tonne/year Coral floating LNG project as well as a 10 million-tpy onshore liquefaction joint venture in Area 4, while ExxonMobil will lead the construction and operation of natural gas liquefaction facilities onshore. Following completion of the transaction, Eni East Africa SPA will be co-owned by Eni 35.7%, ExxonMobil 35.7%, and China National […]

Nigeria: President To Return After Time Abroad For Treatment

10 Mar 2017   Nigeria

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari will return to Nigeria on March 10, according to an official statement by the president’s office, Reuters reported. Buhari has been out of the country in the United Kingdom since Jan. 19, remaining in London longer than the originally planned 10 days. There is no official information as to why he remained overseas so long for treatment. There have been numerous questions in the Nigerian political scene about Buhari’s health. If he does not return, Nigeria’s political balance would be undermined. A political compromise between the country’s stark regional divides switches the presidency between leaders from different regions. Buhari is from the north but his Vice President Yemi Osinbajo is from the south. As Buhari continues to lean on his trusted circle of northern political allies, public frustration over the north’s perceived domination of Nigeria’s political system is growing .

Libya’s Waha Oil May Halt Production as Clashes Keep Ports Shut

9 Mar 2017   Libya

Production from Waha Oil Co., a venture between Libya’s state oil company and foreign partners, may be suspended Wednesday as clashes in the country’s eastern oil region keep the main export terminals out of service. “Output from Waha Oil Co. continues to be reduced and may reach a complete halt within coming hours,” Jadalla Alaokali, a board member at National Oil Corp., said by phone. The Petroleum Facilities Guard, a United Nations-backed force, said Tuesday it took control of oil installations at Es Sider and Ras Lanuf, the country’s largest and third-largest oil ports, following their seizure by the Benghazi Defense Brigades militia in early March. The ports had previously been controlled by eastern-based military commander Khalifa Haftar. Libya’s total crude output remains stable at 671,000 barrels a day as increases in production from other companies, including Arabian Gulf Oil Co., have countered the decline from Waha’s fields, according […]

Oil pulled higher by Libyan unrest

8 Mar 2017   Libya, Prices

Oil prices moved higher early Tuesday morning as threats to Libyan security balanced against reports that U.S. oil production gains could slow momentum. NATO allies expressed concern that fighting in and around the main oil installations in Libya was a sign that unity was again under threat. Libya is a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries that’s exempt from a group-wide production ceiling, though fighting has led to output cuts of around 37,000 barrels per day, or about 5 percent of total production based on January data. Libyan woes added to a complicated narrative for the oil markets so far this year. Crude oil prices have settled at around $55 per barrel since OPEC agreed to limit […]

NATO allies fret over security of Libya’s oil

8 Mar 2017   Libya

The escalation of violence in and around the oil installations of Libya are cause for growing international concern, a joint statement from NATO allies said. A joint statement from the French, British and U.S. ambassadors to Libya voiced strong condemnation over the escalation of violence that threatens Libyan oil and the associated infrastructure. Libya’s political and national security situation has oscillated between near-collapse and near-recovery since the fall of the regime of Moammar Gadhafi after civil war erupted during the Arab Spring democratic uprisings that began in 2011. Once a main contributor to the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, the nation’s oil wealth has been in the crosshairs of the fight for post-Gadhafi control over Libya. A report Monday in the Libya Herald cited […]

Libya Crude Output Edges Higher After Clashes at Main Oil Ports

8 Mar 2017   Libya

Libya’s crude production made a partial recovery after clashes between rival armed groups led to a halt in shipments from two of the OPEC member’s biggest oil ports. Output rose on Tuesday to 673,200 barrels a day from 663,000 the previous day, said Jadalla Alaokali, a board member of Libya’s National Oil Corp. The increase came from oil fields operated by Arabian Gulf Oil Co., an NOC unit known as Agoco, which had curtailed production in recent days due to security concerns, he said by phone. Output should rise further in coming weeks with oil from the Abu Attifel field operated by Mellitah Oil & Gas Co., he said. The Benghazi Defense Brigades, a militia group, captured the ports of Es Sider and Ras Lanuf in an offensive that began on March 3. The ports had been under the control of eastern-based military commander Khalifa Haftar. The Brigades are ready to hand the ports over to the NOC, Mustafa Al-Sharkasi, the group’s leader, said in remarks broadcast Monday by local AlNabaa TV.

The clashes at Es Sider, Libya’s biggest oil port, and Ras Lanuf, its third-largest, jeopardize recent gains in Libya’s oil production. Exports had resumed from Es Sider and other facilities that were previously blockaded amid fighting in the country, which has Africa’s largest crude reserves. Production in February was almost double the level of the previous year, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

More oil progress offshore Senegal

8 Mar 2017   Senegal

A Scottish energy company focused on reserves offshore Africa said it’s assessing data from a reservoir estimated to hold more than 2 billion barrels of oil. Cairn Energy, which has headquarters in Edinburgh, said it’s reviewing the results from its fifth appraisal well at the SNE basin off the coast of Senegal. “The results will help narrow the range of SNE field volumes and also allow the joint venture time to fully integrate the results of SNE-5 prior to moving to appraisal well SNE-6,” the company explained in a statement . Cairn leads a joint venture that counts Australian and Senegalese companies as partners. In late February, minority partner FAR Ltd. announced the completion of SNE-5 ahead of schedule. Last year, FAR said […]

Nigeria: Shell Shuts Down Bonga, Reduces Nigeria Oil Production

8 Mar 2017   Nigeria

Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (SNEPCo) has halted production at Nigeria’s Bonga oil field. The exercise, which commenced on March 4, was put in place for maintenance that will last at least a month. SNEPCo said in a statement that Bonga, Nigeria’s first deepwater development, is expected to resume production at some point in April, without giving further details. Reuters news agency reports that market sources had expected work on the field because there were no exports planned in March, compared with typical exports of roughly 200,000 barrels per day (bpd). Bonga produced an average of 192,500 bpd of oil in 2015, according to the latest annual data from Nigerian state oil company NNPC. The nation’s first deepwater development has capacity to produce 225,000 barrels per day (bpd) of oil and 150 million standard cubicfeet (scf) of gas. The new development has forced Nigeria’s oil production down to […]

Libya Oil Output Falls as Fresh Clashes Force Ports to Shut

7 Mar 2017   Libya

Libya’s crude output dropped after clashes forced two of the country’s biggest oil ports to shut down, threatening the OPEC member’s efforts to revive the production of its most important commodity. The North African country’s production fell to 650,000 barrels a day from about 700,000 barrels a few days ago, according to a person with knowledge of the matter, who asked not to be identified because the person isn’t authorized to speak to media. Crude shipments from Es Sider, the nation’s largest oil port, and Ras Lanuf, its third-biggest, have been suspended until security improves and workers return to the facilities, Jadalla Alaokali, a board member of Libya’s National Oil Corp., said by phone. Production from fields feeding the ports has declined and may be cut further if the two terminals remain shut and the situation doesn’t improve soon, he said. The Benghazi Defense Brigades, a militia not allied […]

Libya militias who seized oil terminals aim to take Benghazi

7 Mar 2017   Libya

Libyan militias that occupied two key oil terminals last week said Monday they intend to take the eastern city of Benghazi and unseat Field Marshal Khalifa Hifter, who controls the area.  Col. Mustafa Alsharksi, leader of the so-called Benghazi Defense Brigades, said more than 3,000 men are poised to continue eastward now that they have taken over the oil terminals of al-Sidra and Ras Lanuf.  The move threatens to escalate the conflict between Libya’s two competing parliaments and governments, each backed by a set of militias, tribes and political factions, and potentially damage the contested oil installations.

“Our main goal is to return our city,” Alsharksi said at a news conference in Misrata. “Our main goal is to reject and say no to oppression, say no to military rule (of Hifter),”  The militias are comprised of Islamic militants and former rebels recently defeated by Hifter’s forces in Benghazi, Libya’s second largest city. They were joined by militiamen from the western city of Misrata.  Alsharksi, who described Hifter as a “criminal,” said his forces will continue to ensure oil revenues go to the U.N.-backed government in Tripoli.  The Hifter-allied army units say they have deployed more forces in preparation for a counterattack to drive out the militias, describing the militias’ recent advances as “a war against a whole region” that “they will not win.”

Nigeria: Senate Investigates Widespread Fraud in Oil & Gas Industry

7 Mar 2017   Nigeria

The Joint Senate Committee on Petroleum (Downstream, Upstream) and Gas at the weekend said it had uncovered a large-scale fraud of about N10 trillion allegedly perpetrated by officials of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and its allies between 2006 and 2016. The committee said during a press briefing in the nation’s capital, Abuja, that the fraud was allegedly perpetrated by NNPC officials in connivance with some independent marketers and other key players in the petroleum industry. The committee, therefore, said it had secured the strong support of President Muhammadu Buhari and the leadership of the Senate to carry out a holistic investigation of the fraud with a view to bringing perpetrators to book. The committee argued that the whopping sum was huge enough to finance the country’s budget for two consecutive fiscal years as it threatened that with the support of the federal government and […]

Fighting for Libya’s Oil Raises Questions Over Eastern Strongman

7 Mar 2017   Libya

Libya’s slow-burn conflict swept into two of its most important oil facilities late last week, shutting ports and triggering a drop in crude output in the OPEC nation. The attacks in the oil crescent were a setback to a military commander based in Libya’s east who wants — with the help of allies including Russia and Egypt — to expand his influence all the way to the capital, Tripoli. Here’s a look at why they matter for a country that has collapsed into fiefdoms since the ouster of Muammar Qaddafi. Who’s fighting whom? The offensive on Es Sider, Libya’s largest export terminal for oil, and Ras Lanuf, its biggest refinery, began March 3 and was led by the Benghazi Defense Brigades. The militia is mainly composed of Islamist-leaning rebels and former army […]

Ghana Mulls Doubling Capacity of Planned Second Oil Refinery

7 Mar 2017   Ghana

The operator of Ghana’s sole oil refinery said the planned capacity of a proposed second plant could be doubled as the West African nation targets exports to neighboring countries. Tema Oil Refinery will complete studies next year to build a 200,000 barrel-a-day plant in the port city, 30 kilometers (19 miles) east of the capital, Accra, Managing Director Isaac Osei said in an interview. Output at the existing 45,000 barrel-a-day plant has been slashed by an explosion at its crude distillation unit in January. “We need that refinery to strategically position ourselves to service other countries, especially land-locked countries,” Osei said in Tema. He declined to say how much the plant will cost or how it will be funded. Nations in the region such as Togo, Burkina Faso and Mali have no oil-refining capacity. Former President John Mahama said in May that a new plant would be designed with […]

Libya’s Biggest Oil Port Seized in Blow to Production Surge

6 Mar 2017   Libya

Libya’s biggest oil port was seized by an armed group, dealing a blow to the North African country as it seeks to revive production of its most important commodity. Brent crude futures climbed. The Benghazi Defense Brigades, a militia that’s not allied to the United Nations-backed government in Tripoli, took control of the Es Sider terminal on Friday afternoon, according to people with knowledge of matter who asked not to be identified because they aren’t authorized to speak to the media. The facility had previously been under the control of eastern-based military commander Khalifa Haftar. “That is a considerable blow to Haftar,” said Mattia Toaldo, senior policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations. “We have to see if there is an immediate impact on exports. But for confidence in Libya’s production it’s a blow.” The clashes show just how vulnerable Libya’s recent oil-production surge is to conflict […]

Libya Oil Output Falls as Fresh Clashes Force Ports to Shut

6 Mar 2017   Libya

Libya’s crude output dropped after clashes forced two of the country’s biggest oil ports to shut down, threatening the OPEC member’s efforts to revive the production of its most important commodity. The North African country’s production fell to 650,000 barrels a day from about 700,000 barrels a few days ago, according to a person with knowledge of the matter, who asked not to be identified because the person isn’t authorized to speak to media. Crude shipments from Es Sider, the nation’s largest oil port, and Ras Lanuf, its third-biggest, have been suspended until security improves and workers return to the facilities, Jadalla Alaokali, a board member of Libya’s National Oil Corp., said by phone. Production from fields feeding the ports has declined and may be cut further if the two terminals remain shut and the situation doesn’t improve soon, he said. The Benghazi Defense Brigades, a militia not allied […]

Armed faction enters major Libyan oil port

4 Mar 2017   Libya

An armed faction entered a major Libyan oil terminal and a nearby airport on Friday, after attacking forces that have controlled the terminals since September, officials and residents said. The terminals at Es Sider and Ras Lanuf are two of Libya’s largest, with potential combined production capacity of about 600,000 barrels per day (bpd). The new uncertainty over their status could be a blow to Libya’s hopes of further reviving its oil production. It was unclear who controlled the ports late on Friday. There was no statement from the Libyan National Oil Corporation (NOC) in Tripoli, which reopened the ports after the eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA) took them over seven months ago. Since then the LNA’s opponents have launched several unsuccessful attacks against the ports in Libya’s eastern […]

Libya’s Biggest Oil Port Seized in Blow to Production Surge

4 Mar 2017   Libya

Libya’s biggest oil port was seized by an armed group, dealing a blow to the North African country as it seeks to revive production of its most important commodity. Brent crude futures climbed. The Benghazi Defense Brigades, a militia that’s not allied to the United Nations-backed government in Tripoli, took control of the Es Sider terminal on Friday afternoon, according to people with knowledge of matter who asked not to be identified because they aren’t authorized to speak to the media. The facility had previously been under the control of eastern-based military commander Khalifa Haftar. “That is a considerable blow to Haftar,” said Mattia Toaldo, senior policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations. “We have to see if there is an immediate impact on exports. But for confidence in Libya’s production it’s a blow.” The clashes show just how vulnerable Libya’s recent oil-production surge is to conflict […]

Nigeria Charges Shell, Eni With Corruption Over Oil License

4 Mar 2017   Nigeria

Nigeria’s anti-graft agency filed new charges against Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Eni SpA , alleging the companies “corruptly” paid $801 million in 2011 when acquiring an offshore oil field. The European oil majors gave that sum to former Nigerian oil minister Dan Etete, his Malabu Oil & Gas Ltd. and others in relation to the purchase of Oil Prospecting License 245 and “thereby committed an offence,” according to documents from the Federal High Court in Abuja. “Eni reaffirms the correctness of its conduct within the acquisition of the license,” the Italian oil producer said in an emailed statement on Friday. The company said it hasn’t been notified of any charges relating to the deal. The latest charges come after a Nigerian court in January ordered Eni and Shell to temporarily cede control of the jointly owned license to the government pending investigations. The $1.1 billion acquisition of the […]

South Africa: The Next Hot Spot For Offshore Oil Exploration

2 Mar 2017   South Africa

South Africa’s land is known for its resources such as platinum, gold, diamonds, copper and coal. But its waters may be hiding future giant oil and gas discoveries potentially capable of changing the country’s power generation mix by reducing its use of coal. Dr. Anongporn Intawong, Team Leader Geoscientist at seismic surveys provider Spectrum, believes there could be a giant future discovery off South Africa’s coast. Intawong delivered a presentation ‘Future giant discovery in the Outeniqua Basin, offshore South Africa’ at Finding Petroleum’s event Finding East & Southern African Oil & Gas in London last week. “ What we are seeing is that [there] might be a future giant discovery in this basin, ” Intawong said at the event, reports Rigzone , whose assistant European editor Andreas Exarheas tweeted a photo from the presentation. Spectrum’s Intawong did not quantify the size of possible future discoveries, but reminded the audience […]

Nigeria Economy Contracts in 2016 for First Time in 25 Years

1 Mar 2017   Nigeria

Nigeria’s economy shrank for a fourth consecutive quarter in the three months through December and contracted for the whole year, the first such move since 1991. Gross domestic product in Africa’s most-populous country declined 1.3 percent in the quarter from a year earlier, after shrinking 2.2 percent in the previous three months, the National Bureau of Statistics said in an e-mailed statement Tuesday. The median of 10 economist estimates compiled by Bloomberg was for the economy to shrink by 1.4 percent. GDP contracted 1.5 percent for all of 2016. It was the first full-year drop in 25 years, according to International Monetary Fund data. Lower prices and output of oil, Nigeria’s biggest export, cut government revenue by about half and reduced the foreign currency available to import refined fuel and factory inputs. A weakening naira contributed to inflation accelerating to the highest level in more than a decade, prompting […]

Nigeria: Buratai Says Niger Delta Now Witnessing Less Oil Theft

28 Feb 2017   Nigeria

The Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, a Lieutenant General, says contrary to notion in some quarters, illegal bunkering, refinery and oil theft in the Niger Delta had reduced. Fielding questions from journalists in Uyo, on Tuesday, Mr. Buratai said with the establishment of new army formations in the region, illegal activities were being checkmated. The army chief was on tour of army formations in Akwa Ibom, including the newly established 2 Brigade in Uyo. “Strictly speaking, there is no rise (in illegal bunkering and oil theft) because of the efforts of all the stakeholders, the military and other security agencies, working hard to make sure that the sabotage is checked. “That is why you see so many arrests, so many moves to stop the illegal bunkering. It is a new drive, new effort put by all the security agencies. “You know that we have a new 6 Division […]

Economic Slump Squeezes Nigerians Fearing Pain Isn’t Over

27 Feb 2017   Nigeria

The ‘Computer Village’ in the Ikeja suburb of Lagos, where electronic products such as mobile phones, computer hardware and accessories are sold. It’s 4 p.m. in Nigeria’s capital and Ahmed Chiji has been running from car to car near the National Mosque selling mobile-phone airtime vouchers. His total for the day: 500 naira ($1.59). That’s as little as a 20th of what he was selling at the beginning of last year before the economy, hit by falling crude oil prices, militant attacks on oil pipelines and foreign-exchange shortages, began contracting. Chiji, a 27-year-old high school dropout, says he can no longer make ends meet at a time when the inflation rate is at the highest in more than a decade. “Government is asking us to be patient for them to do something,” Chiji said at an intersection in Abuja. “I think the worst is yet to come.” The economic […]

FAR makes further progress offshore Senegal

24 Feb 2017   Senegal

Drilling of a fifth appraisal well into what may become one of the more promising basins off the West African coast is completed, FAR Ltd. announced. FAR is said its SNE-5 appraisal well reached the total depth necessary to sample its target. “To date, the operations have been completed safely and ahead of schedule,” the company stated . FAR has nearly 3,000 square miles off the coast of Senegal under license and achieved discoveries already from its FAN and SNE wells. By the third quarter of 2016, the company said the SNE oil field in particular met the minimum threshold to be considered a commercial opportunity. That statement came less than two years after the field was discovered. […]

Future Giant Discoveries Could be Lurking Offshore South Africa

24 Feb 2017   South Africa

Future giant discoveries may be lurking in the Outeniqua Basin offshore South Africa, according to Anongporn Intawong, a team leader geologist at Spectrum. Future giant discoveries may be lurking in the Outeniqua Basin offshore South Africa, according to Anongporn Intawong, a team leader geologist at Spectrum. “What we are seeing is that [there] might be a future giant discovery in this basin,” Intawong told oil and gas industry delegates at a conference in London Thursday, which was attended by Rigzone. Although Intawong didn’t speculate on the potential size of any future discoveries, previous finds in the Outeniqua Basin have yielded recoverable reserves of up to 314 million barrels of oil equivalent, the Spectrum representative said. Interesting talk from Spectrum’s Anongporn Intawong on the potential of the Outeniqua Basin offshore South Africa – FP Event , London pic.twitter.com/MrOuATWYen — Andreas Exarheas (@Andreas_Ex) 23 February 2017 In an encouraging announcement for […]

Libya signs deal with Russia’s Rosneft

22 Feb 2017   Libya

An agreement with Russian oil company Rosneft helps lay a foundation for the recovering oil sector in Libya, Libya’s top oil producer said. Meeting on the sidelines of an international energy conference in London, the head of the National Oil Corp. of Libya met with Rosneft Chairman Igor Sechin to lay the groundwork for investments in the Libyan oil sector. “This agreement with Russia’s largest oil company lays the foundations for us jointly to identify areas of cooperation,” NOC Chairman Mustafa Sanalla said in a statement . “Working with NOC, Rosneft and Russia can play an important and constructive role in Libya.” Libya’s oil sector is recovering following years of civil war that followed the downfall of the regime of Moammar Gadhafi […]