Africa

Amid reshuffling, Africa-focused Tullow Oil ready to grow

27 Apr 2017   Africa

With a reshuffling in the front office underway, Tullow Oil said Wednesday its production offshore West Africa for the first quarter met expectations. Tullow CEO Aidan Heavey is handing the reins over to Paul McDade. The reshuffling follows what Heavey said was an “exceptionally busy” first quarter for the Africa-focused explorer. So far, the company has offered a greater stake in its operations in Uganda and is working to remediate some of the production infrastructure offshore West Africa, which was hampered last year by equipment problems. “As I hand over my role as CEO to Paul McDade, I am confident that Tullow has the financial and operational flexibility to prosper in 2017 and beyond,” Heavey said in a statement . For full-year 2016, the company said […]

Nigeria Seizes Foreign Vessel for Alleged Theft of Shell Crude

27 Apr 2017   Nigeria

Nigeria detained a vessel with crew members from countries including Pakistan, Indonesia and Ukraine for alleged theft of crude from a facility owned by Royal Dutch Shell Plc, the navy said. The tanker, MT TECNE, was apprehended before dawn on April 25 while loading crude from the Afremo platform operated by Shell’s Nigerian unit, Ibrahim Dewu, a navy spokesman, said Wednesday by phone from the southern city of Warri. “They had siphoned about 2,000 metric tons of crude oil from the loading jacket before their arrest,” he said. A Nigerian, three Ghanaians and a Benin national were among the crew arrested, he said. Organized criminal gangs have for years stolen crude from pipelines and facilities in the Niger River delta, home to the country’s oil industry, either for sale to vessels waiting offshore or for local refining. Nigeria’s Petroleum Ministry estimates that sometimes as much as 10 percent of […]

Will Libya’s Production Rebound As Its Largest Oil Field Re-Opens?

26 Apr 2017   Libya

Libya’s biggest oil field, Sharara, which has been offline for most of the past month, is set to reopen after the Petroleum Facilities Guard (PFG) reached an agreement with protesters who have repeatedly shut down the pipelines that pump oil into the field, according to PFG chief, Brigadier General Idriss Abu Khamada. The deal that the PFG has reached will lead to the reopening of the Sharara field, which produces 200,000 bpd, according to Khamada. At the end of March, unnamed armed factions were said to have blocked production at the Sharara and Wafa fields in western Libya, cutting the country’s total output by 252,000 bpd . Sharara alone produced 220,000 bpd before the shutdown, accounting for a large part of Libya’s overall 700,000 bpd production until that point. It resumed pumping oil after a two-year pause last December. Less than a week later, Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC) […]

Nigeria: Malabu Scandal – Group Wants Nigerian Govt Involved in Italian Trial

26 Apr 2017   Nigeria

The Human and Environmental Development Agenda, HEDA Resource Centre, has petitioned Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, requesting the representation of Nigeria as an aggrieved party in the hearing of the Milan Court’s prosecution of Shell and ENI with respect to the scandalous Malabu deal. In a petition addressed to Mr. Osinbajo, who also doubles as the Chairman Asset Recovery Committee, HEDA in the petition signed by its chairman, Olanrewaju Suraju, urged the federal government to request that the Italian court judge should recognize Nigeria as a civil party to the criminal proceeding in order to request adequate compensation for the damages received by the corruption scheme. “The media was awash about six years ago with information on how one of Nigeria’s richest oil field, OPL 245 was sold in shady circumstances and more than half of the $1.1 Billion paid to Malabu Oil and Gas for the procurement was used […]

Nigeria Said to Let Market Set Naira Rate on Exchange Window

25 Apr 2017   Nigeria

Central bank Governor Emefiele said to tolerate naira dropping Naira forward contracts jump to highest levels since March Nigeria’s central bank will let the market determine the naira’s rate in a new foreign-exchange window for portfolio investors as the nation struggles to revive its economy amid a dollar shortage. Naira forward contracts and banking stocks rose. Governor Godwin Emefiele told senior bankers that he would tolerate the naira weakening in the window, which started today, according to a person who attended meetings with the policy maker over the past two weeks. While that may cause the currency to depreciate to its black-market level, the central bank probably won’t devalue the interbank exchange rate, the person said, declining to be identified because he wasn’t authorized to speak publicly. Isaac Okorafor, a spokesman for the central bank, didn’t answer calls to his mobile or immediately respond to a text message. Nigeria […]

Eni-Operated Libya Oil Field to Re-Open After Two-Year Halt

21 Apr 2017   Libya

El-Feel deposit has yet to resume output due to power outage Field known also as Elephant has 80,000 barrel-a-day capacity Libya’s El-Feel oil field, operated by a venture between Eni SpA and the state producer, delayed its long-anticipated restart after a two-year halt in operations that crimped the OPEC nation’s output. The field, also known as Elephant, reopened Wednesday, according to a person familiar with the situation who asked not to be identified because of a lack of authorization to speak to media. But it hasn’t started pumping yet as officials await guarantees on the field’s security, the state-run National Oil Co. said in a statement on its website Thursday. Output can’t resume until operations restart at Sharara, Libya’s largest oil field, because Sharara helps power El-Feel, NOC said. Sharara isn’t operating because of a valve closure. Idris Bukhamada, a petroleum facilities guard brigadier, also said that an electricity […]

Giant Libyan Oilfield Reopens After 2 Year Outage

21 Apr 2017   Libya

The El-Feel oil field in western Libya—operated by a joint venture between Italy’s Eni and Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC)—reopened on Wednesday after two years, and expects to start pumping oil as soon as a power outage is fixed, Bloomberg reported on Thursday, citing a person familiar with the matter. Should the field, also known as Elephant, start producing soon, it could add up to 90,000 bpd to Libya’s oil output that has been crippled by continuous faction fighting and political turmoil. Authorities are working to fix soon the power outage at the field, which has been closed since April 2015, Petroleum Facilities Guard (PFG) Brigadier Idris Bukhamada told Bloomberg. In December last year, NOC confirmed in a statement the re-opening of Shahara and El-Feel fields, with production capacity of about 330,000 bpd and 90,000 bpd, respectively, after Rayayina Patrols Company of the PFG, Western Branch, announced lifting of […]

Oil Companies Exploiting Famine And Financial Ruin In South Sudan

21 Apr 2017   Sudan

South Sudan’s vulnerable financial state is making the civil-war-torn state easy prey for opportunistic oil and gas companies that could be offering Juba a fraction of the energy profits they would earn under stable circumstances. The South Sudanese government and three humanitarian agencies declared a famine in some parts of the country in February , while the newly independent nation is desperately trying to bring its oil back online. A string of deals signed by President Salva Kiir over the past four months has demonstrated the country’s desperation for fresh streams of revenue as the civil war now approaches its four-year anniversary. “The government is working hard to reinvigorate the petroleum industry in South Sudan by creating an enabling environment for international oil and gas companies to invest and operate,” according to Petroleum Minister Ezekiel Lul Gatkuoth. “It is up to the oil companies to come in, explore and […]

Africa: Two Oil Giants Could Face Trial in Italy Over Nigerian Deal

21 Apr 2017   Nigeria

This Thursday a Milan court is to decide whether to go ahead with criminal proceedings against the oil giant Shell and its Italian partner ENI in connection with the purchase of the rights to a Nigerian oil field. “Etete can smell the money. If, at 70 years old, he does turn his nose up at 1.2 bilion he is completely certifiable.” That’s a quote from a confidential email which is embarrassing the oil giant Shell. For years, Shell had strenuously denied that it knew anything about the involvement of convicted money launderer and former Nigerian oil minister Dan Etete in its purchase of the rights to one of Nigeria’s biggest oil fields. But last week, the British environmentalist and anti-corruption organization, Global Witness, published confidential emails written by a Shell employee. This correspondence, which went right to the top of the Shell management hierarchy, proves that there was a […]

Nigeria: Nowhere to Hide – Prosecutors Turn Up the Heat On Oil Execs At Heart of Corruption Scandal

21 Apr 2017   Nigeria

The latest developments in a multi-billion dollar corruption scandal show how the net is closing in on oil bosses who allow shady deals to happen on their watch – and how vital global transparency rules that make such deals much harder must be upheld. Last month, we celebrated a huge victory for the people of Nigeria when news broke that the Nigerian government seized a valuable block OPL 245 from oil giants Shell and Eni. The move followed years of investigations by Global Witness and our partners into the companies’ backroom deals and undisclosed payments that led to them getting hold of the lucrative block. This was truly historic news in itself – but it’s just the start of the story. Developments are occurring thick and fast as the heat is turned up on the individuals at the centre of the scandal. On Thursday, Italian authorities requested that Shell, […]

Russia interested in oil and gas opportunities in Senegal

18 Apr 2017   Russia, Senegal

Russia has an opportunity to foster a better trade relationship with Senegal, an emerging West African oil producer, the Russian foreign minister said.  Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov hosted his Senegalese counterpart, Mankeur Ndiaye, at his Moscow office to discuss opportunities in the energy sector.  “Our trade and economic cooperation has been on the rise, our companies have been looking at a number of promising projects in Senegal, including those in the oil and gas industry, ship-building and fishing sectors,” the Russia foreign minister was quoted by state news agency Tass as saying.  Russian interest in Senegal follows a March decision by the British subsidiary of China National Offshore Oil Corp. to outline areas of mutual interest offshore Gambia and Senegal with Australian energy company FAR Ltd.  FAR Ltd. has a stake in the SNE and FAN prospects off the coast of Senegal. When discovered in 2014, SNE in particular was considered one of the larger discoveries ever made. By the company’s estimates, more than 1.5 billion barrels of oil may be in basins off the coast of Senegal.

Nigeria to Restore Oil Output Even as OPEC Weighs Extending Cuts

14 Apr 2017   Nigeria

Bonga, Forcados facilities will restart by July after work OPEC must extend cutbacks to keep prices above $50 a barrel Nigeria will revive oil production this summer as it completes maintenance and repairs, and expects fellow OPEC members to continue to cut their output in the second half of the year, Oil Minister Emmanuel Kachikwu said. Africa’s second-biggest producer will finish repairs on the Forcados pipeline by June and complete maintenance at the Bonga oilfield the following month, Kachikwu said in a Bloomberg Television interview. The country’s output slumped to 1.27 million barrels a day last month, the lowest in decades, according to data provided by the nation. It aims to reach 2.2 million barrels a day. Play VideoPlayMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration Time 0:00Loaded: 0%Progress: 0%Stream TypeLIVERemaining Time -0:00Playback Rate1 Chapters Chapters captions settings, opens captions settings dialog captions off, selected CaptionsFullscreen This is a modal window. No compatible source […]

Libya’s Haftar says Russian base not being discussed – RIA

13 Apr 2017   Libya, Russia

The question of a Russian military base being set up on Libyan territory is not being discussed, Russia’s RIA news agency quoted Libyan military commander Khalifa Haftar as saying on Thursday. (Writing by Christian Lowe; Editing by Alexander Winning)

Libyan Oil Output Said to Drop to Six-Month Low on Field Halt

12 Apr 2017   Libya

Production cut to 490,000 barrels a day, person familiar says Country’s biggest field Sharara stopped pumping on April 9 Libya’s oil production fell by 30 percent to the lowest level since September as the OPEC producer’s biggest field stopped pumping just one week after reopening from an earlier halt. The North African nation’s output dropped to 490,000 barrels a day from 703,000 a day after the Sharara field shut, a person familiar with the situation said, asking not to be identified because of a lack of authorization to speak to media. Sharara pumped about 213,000 barrels a day before halting on April 9, the person said. The country is currently producing at its lowest level in more than six months, data compiled by Bloomberg show. The pipeline that transports crude from Sharara in western Libya to the Zawiya refinery also stopped operating on April 9. The National Oil Corp. […]

Libya estimates field closure costing $9.8 million per day

12 Apr 2017   Libya

The closure of one of the largest oil fields in Libya means a loss of about $9.8 million and the outage of huge volumes of oil, a national oil company said. Libya’s National Oil Corp. confirmed its Sharara oil field was shut down because of attacks by militants on regional pipeline infrastructure. The field has operated in fits and starts as Libya tries to push the momentum on the national security front toward the side of peace and emerged from a previous closure just one week ago. The NOC said in a statement the closure resulted in the loss of “immense” volumes of oil and natural gas designated for exports across the Algerian border. The loss from the shutdown was estimated […]

Libyan Oil Production Falls Further As Wafa Field Goes Offline

12 Apr 2017   Libya

Just a day after production at Libya’s largest oil field was suspended , the National Oil Corporation told local media that another field, Wafa, has also stopped producing. This could result in daily losses of as much as $10 million, NOC warned, adding that oil and gas from Wafa could siphon into Algeria, as the field is connected underground with Algeria’s Alrar. Sharara and Wafa together account for over 250,000 barrels of crude in Libya’s total daily output. Two weeks ago, an unnamed armed group blocked the pipeline feeding crude from Sharara and Wafa into the Zawiya export terminal, sending oil prices soaring. Production was resumed a few days later. This Sunday, reports of another pipeline block at Sharara emerged, again referring to those responsible for the block as unnamed armed groups. This situation was resolved more quickly, with intervention from NOC’s chairman Mustafa Sanalla, who managed to convince […]

Shell Knew Nigeria Ex-Minister’s Company Would Get Oil-Deal Cash

12 Apr 2017   Nigeria

Transaction under investigation amid allegations of corruption Company previously said it was unaware minister would be paid Royal Dutch Shell Plc said it knew some of the $1.1 billion paid to the Nigerian government in 2011 for an exploration license would go to a company linked to the country’s former oil minister, changing its previous stance on a deal that’s under investigation for alleged corruption. The Anglo-Dutch oil company reiterated that its joint purchase with Eni SpA of the license was “fully legal” and it paid no money to Dan Etete or his company Malabu Oil and Gas Ltd. Following the publication of internal emails showing staff discussed the risk that funds from the transaction could ultimately be used to pay off officials, Shell acknowledged on Tuesday that it was aware of the former minister’s involvement. “We knew that the Federal Government of Nigeria would compensate Malabu to settle […]

Libya Biggest Oil Field Said to Shut for 2nd Time in Two Weeks

11 Apr 2017   Libya

Libya’s biggest oil field was said to stop producing, just one week after it reopened, the latest in a series of disruptions in the country’s crude output. The pipeline carrying crude from Sharara, Libya’s biggest field, to the Zawiya refinery stopped operating on Sunday, according to two people familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified because they’re not authorized to speak to media. It wasn’t clear why the pipeline was shut. The state oil company National Oil Corp. couldn’t be reached immediately for comment. Sharara, in western Libya, was pumping 200,000 barrels a day, the NOC said on April 4. The halt is poised to disrupt the country’s production which just returned to its normal levels of about 700,000 barrels a day. Clashes among rival armed groups in early March led to the closing of two of the nation’s biggest oil export terminals, forcing a number […]

OMV sees Libya as a natural fit

11 Apr 2017   Libya

Libya fits in well with a strategy of capitalizing on mature onshore oil basins and service to European energy needs, the head of Austria’s OMV said. Representatives from the National Oil Corp. of Libya met with their counterparts at OMV in Vienna. OMV Chief Executive Officer Rainer Seele said the joint meeting was indicative of the strategic value of Libyan oil. Libya holds, by OMV’s estimate, around 47 billion barrels of oil. Onshore areas are considered mature, though OMV said that’s where it’s positioned best. “Libya is an ideal technological fit for OMV,” he said in statements emailed to UPI. According to Libya’s NOC, both sides focused on developing technical studies to increase the reserve estimate and […]

Nigeria: Malabu Scandal – Jonathan Must Have Gotten $200 Million, Middleman Tells FBI, Others

11 Apr 2017   Nigeria

Former President Goodluck Jonathan probably received as much as $200 million to approve the controversial $1.3 billion sale of OPL 245 oil field, Italian prosecutors said in court documents. The documents, which were extracts of a thorough investigation by Italian authorities into the deal, also confirmed that Shell and ENI knew a good chunk of the $1.3 billion will be disbursed as kickbacks to Nigerian politicians, yet went ahead with the deal. The findings were obtained by BuzzFeed and Italian business newspaper, Il Sole 24 Ore. BuzzFeed released its own version earlier today. The prosecutors quoted Ednan Agaev, a Russian middleman who helped negotiate the transfer of the oil block to Shell and Eni, as saying that Dan Etete, the former Petroleum Minister at the heart of the oil scandal, said he intended to dole out as much as $400 million in bribes if the deal went through. If […]

Nigeria: Malabu Scandal – After Telling Lies for Years, Shell Admits It Knew Etete Would Benefit From $1.1 Billion

11 Apr 2017   Nigeria

After repeated denials in various countries, Anglo-Dutch oil giant, Royal Dutch Shell, on Monday finally admitted it had foreknowledge that the $1.3 billion itself and ENI paid to Nigerian government for the OPL 245 oil block licence would ultimately be used to settle convicted former Minister of Petroleum, Dan Etete. “Over time, it became clear to us that Etete was involved in Malabu and that the only way to resolve the impasse through a negotiated settlement was to engage with Etete and Malabu, whether we liked it or not,” The New York Times quoted Andy Norman, a spokesperson for Shell, as saying in an email Monday. The Dutch oil giant knew the Nigerian government “would compensate Malabu to settle its claim on the block,” Mr. Norman added. The confession came a day after intercepted telephone conversation between Shell’s chief executive, Ben van Beurden, and his then chief financial officer, […]

Eni, Shell deny wrongdoing in Nigeria after allegations of improper payment

11 Apr 2017   Nigeria

Oil majors Royal Dutch Shell and Eni reiterated on Monday that neither they nor their personnel had been involved in any wrongdoing in Nigeria, including improper payments to Nigerian officials. The comments follow media reports alleging how hundreds of millions of dollars from the two companies were used for illicit payments. A joint investigation by BuzzFeed News and Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore on Sunday claims to show transactions worth $1.3 billion made in 2010-2011 that Shell and Eni paid to acquire an exploration license for an offshore oil block known as OPL 245. The money was paid to the Nigerian government, but BuzzFeed and Il Sole said documents showed Shell’s top executives at the time knew those sums would go to Malabu Oil and Gas, […]

Libya Biggest Oil Field Said to Shut for 2nd Time in Two Weeks

10 Apr 2017   Libya

Libya’s biggest oil field was said to stop producing, just one week after it reopened, the latest in a series of disruptions in the country’s crude output. The pipeline carrying crude from Sharara, Libya’s biggest field, to the Zawiya refinery stopped operating on Sunday, according to two people familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified because they’re not authorized to speak to media. It wasn’t clear why the pipeline was shut. The state oil company National Oil Corp. couldn’t be reached immediately for comment. Sharara, in western Libya, was pumping 200,000 barrels a day, the NOC said on April 4. The halt is poised to disrupt the country’s production which just returned to its normal levels of about 700,000 barrels a day. Clashes among rival armed groups in early March led to the closing of two of the nation’s biggest oil export terminals, forcing a number […]

Niger Delta Diplomacy At Work: Oil Production Recovers In Nigeria

10 Apr 2017   Nigeria

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari’s nascent campaign to negotiate with separatists in the oil-rich Niger Delta has proven to be more effective in restoring oil output to pre-conflict highs than his previous all-out war tactic. “Despite the president’s initial threats and bluster on the delta, common sense now seems to be prevailing,” Cheta Nwanze, of Lagos-based head of research at SBM Intelligence, told World Oil this week. “The government needs steady oil production to stand any chance of a quick end to the economic recession.” It’s a numbers game, really. Oil output hit a low last August, with production falling to 1.4 million barrels per day, compared to the 2014-2015 average of 2 million bpd. Since Lagos declared that it had reached a truce with a consortium of militant groups in November, production has recovered to 1.68 million bpd. Only a single force majeure, a clause that allows production companies […]

West African explorer FAR Ltd. gets cash injection

6 Apr 2017   Senegal

West African explorer FAR Ltd. said it raised substantial capital to fund its development programs in the emerging oil basin offshore Senegal. FAR placed 1 billion shares to institutional and other investors to generate around $60 billion in capital. The company said the proceeds would be used to fund drilling, evaluation and pre-development programs off the coast of Senegal, and potentially the acquisition of further assets off the Gambian coast. Trading for the general public is halted “until further notice,” and the company said the shares it did release were discounted by 4.8 percent. With full underwriting, Managing Director Catch Norman said the evidence is there that FAR’s portfolio is high quality. “The cash raised is expected to fund FAR through […]

Nigerian oil output slumps to 1.676 mil b/d in March: ministry

5 Apr 2017   Nigeria

Nigeria’s crude oil and condensate production averaged 1.676 million b/d in March, a fall of over 200,000 b/d from the previous month, the country’s petroleum ministry said Tuesday. The ministry said the country’s oil output was 1,676,045 b/d in March, down from around 1.9 million b/d in February, but it did not provide the reason for the sharp month-on-month fall. However, sources close to the matter said output was down mainly due to maintenance at the Bonga field, which averages around 150,000-200,000 b/d. Shell said in early-March that Bonga production would be shut in for about four to five weeks due to turnaround maintenance and engineering upgrades at the Bonga floating, production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel. Nigerian oil production still remains sharply below its capacity of 2.2 million b/d, with the main export grade Forcados still shut in. But Nigerian oil output has recovered gradually this year as […]

Oil Rally Stalls as Libya Production Resumes

4 Apr 2017   Libya

Crude-oil futures fell on Monday, snapping a four-session winning streak, after the resolution of output disruptions in Libya brought the recent rally in prices to a halt. U.S. crude futures shed 36 cents, or 0.7%, to $50.24 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent, the global benchmark, lost 41 cents, or 0.8%, to $53.12 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe. The declines came after oil prices logged their strongest weekly…

Libya’s Oil Production Set to Rebound as Biggest Field Reopens

4 Apr 2017   Libya

Libya’s crude production rebounded to about 660,000 barrels a day as the OPEC nation’s biggest oil field resumed output after about a week of disruption. Force majeure on the Zawiya export terminal was lifted after pumping resumed Sunday at Sharara, the nation’s biggest oil field, Mustafa Sanalla, chairman of Libya’s state-run National Oil Corp., said Monday by phone. Libya’s overall production is 660,000 barrels a day, according to a person familiar with the matter who isn’t authorized to speak to the media and asked not to be identified. Libya’s output had dropped to about 500,000 barrels a day last week when production was halted at Sharara, according to the same person. Libya, with Africa’s largest oil reserves, is struggling to recover from years of conflict between rival governments and militias. Its production was exempted from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ production cuts, because of its internal strife. Some […]

Oil Workers Become A Priority Target In South Sudan Conflict

4 Apr 2017   Sudan

Attacks on foreigners working on South Sudan’s oil and gas facilities serve as a warning for multinationals to stay away from the new country’s national resources, just as oil prices recover enough for Juba to begin profiting from the oil sector. Rebels in the northern portion of South Sudan said they had captured two Indians and One Pakistani during fighting that neared oil assets last month. Most of the oil in the country holding sub-Saharan Africa’s third-largest reserves is pumped by China National Petroleum Corp., Malaysia’s Petroliam Nasional Bhd., and Oil & Natural Gas Corp. of India. “The opposition is continuing a tactic of disrupting and dissuading renewed engagement from oil companies in South Sudan,” Luke Patey, an analyst at the Danish Institute for International Studies told World Oil. There are faint signs that anti-government forces are willing to work with international organizations to remediate their image as an […]

Prospects for Nigerian oil rising, regional explorer says – UPI.com

4 Apr 2017   Nigeria

A memorandum of understanding with GE Oil & Gas could help lift more oil out of a Nigerian basin, regional exploration company Lekoil said.  Lekoil, a company focused on West African oil and gas production, said it signed a memorandum of understanding with the GE subsidiary to develop a work project for the Ogo oil field in Nigeria.  Lekoil CEO Lekan Akinyanmi said the Ogo field is a world-class discovery and the agreement with GE is just a first step toward development for the rest of the oil production license area.

South Sudan: Rebels Vow to Stop Oil Production

3 Apr 2017   Sudan

The main rebel group in South Sudan is threatening to disrupt oil production in the country, a day after it released three foreign oil workers it kidnapped earlier in the month. An official of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM IO) said the government is using oil revenue to purchase weapons and kill civilians. “People in South Sudan are not receiving their money (from oil revenue). This money is going to their pocket (of government officials) and for buying arms for killing our people. If we have chance to stop the oil production, we will do it,” said Dak Duop Bichok, the head of the SPLM IO’s committee for energy and mining Oil workers released Duop confirmed the rebel group has released three foreign oil workers it abducted in the Adar fields of oil-rich Upper Nile State earlier in March. VOA’s South Sudan In Focus obtained a […]

China wades into oil basins off the West African coast

1 Apr 2017   China, Senegal

Prospects for expanding the footprint in emerging oil basins off the Senegalese and Gambian coasts has increased through a Chinese partnership, FAR Ltd. said. FAR Ltd., an Australian company with a heavy focus on oil basins off the coast of Africa, said it entered into a partnership with the British subsidiary of China National Offshore Oil Corp. that defines areas of mutual interest off the coast of Gambia and Senegal. The deal gives both companies the ability to partner up on evaluating, bidding, negotiating and managing any joint ventures or buy-in opportunities for oil and gas in the broader Mauritania-Senegal-Guinea-Bissau deepwater basin. FAR Managing Director Cath Norman said in a statement that her company has […]

Mysterious Outage In Libya Could Drive Oil Prices Higher

31 Mar 2017   Libya

It’s been a rollercoaster ride for Libya’s oil sector the last few months . With production from this important OPEC player swinging wildly with unstable politics in the country. And news this week suggests things just got worse for Libya’s oil industry — in a major way. Unnamed sources in the country told Bloomberg Wednesday that Libya’s largest oil field, Sharara, has been suddenly shut in. With the pipeline carrying crude from this massive operation having been completely idled. As a result, sources said Libya’s overall oil production has now fallen to 560,000 barrels per day. Coming just days after Libya’s National Oil Corp. had publicly pegged the country’s production at 700,000 b/d. That suggests the stoppage at Sharara has lowered production by 140,000 b/d — representing a 20% decline. With the shortfall happening virtually overnight, and with no apparent warning to oil traders. Here’s the most important point: […]

Egypt To Halve Arrears With Oil Companies In Coming Weeks

30 Mar 2017   Egypt

Egypt expects to cut the $3.5 billion euros it owes to international oil companies by around half in coming weeks, the Egyptian oil minister said on Wednesday. “We have made a lot of progress on paying off arrears,” Tarek El Molla said at an oil and gas conference. The minister also said he expected to finalise an agreement to import crude oil directly from Iraq in a month at the most. “We will import around 1 million barrels a month,” he said. Asked when Egypt might become an exporter of oil and gas, Molla said the country would be self sufficient by the end of 2018. “Starting from 2019 and beyond we can start talking about exporting,” he […]

Libya’s Oil Output Falls to Six-Month Low as Field Shuts

30 Mar 2017   Libya

Libya’s crude production dropped to about 500,000 barrels a day, the lowest since September, as exports from the nation’s second-largest terminal at Zawiya were disrupted. The OPEC nation’s output has fallen from about 700,000 barrels last week since production halted at Sharara in southwest Libya following the shutdown of the pipeline that links the field to Zawiya, according to a person familiar with the matter who isn’t authorized to speak to the media and asked not to be identified. Shipments from Zawiya , west of Tripoli, are now under force majeure. An increase in Libya’s crude output since late last year faltered this month when an armed group took control of the nation’s biggest oil port at Es Sider , east of Tripoli, where the first tanker in weeks loaded on Monday, according to tanker tracking. The nation’s output averaged about 624,000 barrels a day in the past five […]

Libya’s NOC locked in new battle over oil sector powers

29 Mar 2017   Libya

Libya’s National Oil Corp, or NOC, has become embroiled in a new political battle as it seeks to defend its role as both policy setter and regulator in the oil and gas sector. NOC chairman, Mustafa Sanalla rejected plans from the internationally recognized government in Tripoli which would divide the state-owned company’s powers. The UN-backed Presidency Council (PC) issued an order Monday dividing the authority of Libya’s oil ministry between the prime minister’s office and the NOC. It also stripped Sanalla of his position as oil minister, a role he inherited by default in 2014 when nobody was nominated to fill the position. “I have asked the Presidency Council to withdraw its recent resolution. It has exceeded its authority,” Sanalla said in a statement late Monday on the NOC’s website. Under the order, the prime minister’s office will assume the role of a traditional oil sector regulator — signing […]

Libya’s Oil Output Drops After Biggest Field Closes

29 Mar 2017   Libya

Libya’s biggest oil field was said to stop producing, leading to a 20 percent decline in crude output from the country with Africa’s largest reserves. The OPEC nation’s output dropped to 560,000 barrels a day, according to a person familiar with the matter who isn’t authorized to speak to the media and asked not to be identified. The North African country was pumping 700,000 barrels a day, Mustafa Sanalla, chairman of state-run National Oil Corp., said on March 22. Oil prices rose as much as 2.2 percent. The pipeline carrying crude from Sharara, Libya’s biggest field, to the Zawiya refinery stopped operating, the person said. It wasn’t clear why the pipeline was shut. The NOC didn’t respond to calls seeking comment. The NOC declared force majeure on loadings of Sharara crude from the Zawiya oil terminal and on loadings of Wafa field condensate from the Mellitah terminal, according to […]

Libya’s oil output down 252,000 bpd due to armed protests

29 Mar 2017   Libya

A general view of the El Sharara oilfield, Libya December 3, 2014. Oil production from the western Libyan fields of Sharara and Wafa has been blocked by armed protesters, reducing output by 252,000 barrels per day (bpd), a source at the National Oil Corporation (NOC) said on Tuesday. NOC declared force majeure on loadings of Sharara crude from the Zawiya oil terminal in the west of the country and Wafa condensate loadings from the Mellitah terminal. Supplies were stopped by the shutdown of pipelines leading from the fields to Zawiya refinery and port, a Libyan oil source said. The identity of the group was not immediately clear and there had been no claim of responsibility, he said. The shutdown at Sharara, which had been producing about 220,000 bpd, began on Monday, a day after the Wafa shutdown, the NOC source said. There was no official comment from the NOC. […]

War-Ravaged South Sudan Draws $500 Million Oranto Oil Bet

29 Mar 2017   Sudan

Nigeria’s Oranto Petroleum International Ltd. plans to bet half a billion dollars that Africa’s newest nation can end a three-year civil war and create the conditions to revive its oil industry. Oranto, a closely held company part-owned by the Eze family that also has assets in Equatorial Guinea and Nigeria, plans to invest $500 million to develop the oil block awarded by South Sudan earlier this month. “We have faith that the differences in South Sudan will be brought to an end and that our exploration campaign will move smoothly,” said Oranto Chairman Prince Arthur Eze. “Over the medium to long term as South Sudan develops, security becomes stronger and export options increase, we expect the price of producing and operating in South Sudan to go down.” South Sudan is bidding to double crude production that plunged by at least a third to about 130,000 barrels a day since […]

Libya’s Biggest Port Loads First Oil Tanker Since Clashes

28 Mar 2017   Libya

Libya’s biggest oil terminal loads its first tanker since fighting between armed groups earlier this month halted shipments from two ports in the country with Africa’s largest crude reserves. The Suezmax vessel Demetrios, which can carry as much as one million barrels, loaded from Es Sider for export to China, according to a person familiar with the situation, who asked not to be identified because the matter isn’t public. Fighting between rival groups erupted on March 3, disrupting output and forcing Es Sider and Ras Lanuf, the country’s third-biggest terminal, to halt shipments. Operations at both ports have since restarted after the clashes ended. Libya’s oil production has climbed back to where it was before the battle for control of the ports forced Waha Oil Co. , which feeds Es Sider, to suspend output. The country is producing 700,000 barrels a day and targets 800,000 before the end of […]

Oil streak continues offshore Senegal

28 Mar 2017   Senegal

After going eight-for-eight in oil discoveries off the coast of Senegal, Australian energy company FAR Ltd. said it expects a revision to reserve estimates. FAR Ltd. said it confirmed an oil discovery at the VR-1 well about 3 miles away from its SNE discovery off the coast of Senegal. It’s the eighth successful well drilled offshore Senegal since work started in 2014. “The VR-1 well has been highly successful, providing important information regarding the geology of the western flank of the SNE field,” Managing Director Cath Norman said in a statement . The SNE oil field met the minimum threshold to be considered a commercial opportunity by the third quarter of 2016, less than two years after it was discovered. By the company’s estimates , more than 1.5 billion barrels of oil may be in basins off the coast of Senegal and the results from […]

Libya’s National Oil Corp warns of new attempt at independent oil sales

27 Mar 2017   Libya

Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC) said on Sunday that it had identified “illegal” efforts to sell crude oil without its approval and warned potential buyers not to enter into such contracts. Factions based in eastern Libya have previously tried to sell oil independently of NOC in Tripoli, but their moves have been frustrated by U.N. resolutions that remain in place. “NOC identified a group of individuals abusing the current status of political division in Libya by entering into illegal contracts with unknown or unqualified companies,” NOC said in a statement without providing detail on who was involved. “These individuals, and others associated with them, have offered Libyan crude oil for sale at huge discounts below the official selling price (OSP).” The statement added that this could cost the […]

Nigeria: $12 Billion Trans-Sahara Gas Pipeline On Track – NNPC

25 Mar 2017   Nigeria

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, yesterday, disclosed that it is committed to the Trans Saharan Gas Pipeline, TSGP, and that the project was still on track. According to a statement, GMD of NNPC, Maikanti Baru, disclosed this in Abuja while receiving the National Coordinator of The New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD-Nigeria), Ms.Gloria Akobundu. The $12 billion Trans Saharan Gas Pipeline is a 4,401 kilometres natural gas project to be constructed from Nigeria, starting from Warri, Delta State, to Algeria via Niger Republic, and from Algeria to Spain. It was conceived under the NEPAD Initiative championed by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Thabo Mbeki of South Africa, Abdoulazeez Boutaflika of Algeria and Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal. The proposed gas pipeline, to be built through a partnership between the NNPC and Algeria’s Sonatrach, would stretch 1,037 kilometres from Nigeria to the Niger border, 841 kilometres from Niger to Algeria, 2,303 […]

Shell dumps assets onshore Gabon

25 Mar 2017   Gabon

Shell is leaving parts of Africa behind as part of a divestment streak that followed its merger with BG Group. File photo by Mohammad Kheirkhah/UPI. March 24 (UPI) — As part of an effort to streamline its portfolio after acquiring BG Group, Royal Dutch Shell said Friday it was leaving parts of Africa behind after 55 years. Shell announced it would sell its entire onshore interests in Gabon to Assala Energy Holdings, part of The Carlyle Group, for $587 million. Andy Brown, a director for Shell exploration and production programs, said the company has a legacy extending back to the early 1960s. “The decision to divest was not taken lightly, but it is consistent with Shell’s strategy to concentrate our upstream [exploration and production] footprint where we can be most competitive,” he said in a statement . “This transaction shows the clear momentum behind Shell’s $30 billion divestment program, […]

Shell Oil Spills Led to ‘Astonishingly High’ Pollution in Nigeria

24 Mar 2017   Nigeria

Royal Dutch Shell PLC oil spills that haven’t been cleaned up for over eight years have contributed to “astonishingly high” levels of pollution in a Nigerian community, according to a consultant who helped produce a confidential damage assessment for Shell and its partners in the cleanup. Shell admitted liability for two large oil spills from a broken pipeline in 2008 in Bodo, a Niger Delta fishing community that, according to U.K. court claims, was inundated with over 500,000 barrels of oil—roughly twice the amount when…

Libya sets goals for higher oil production

24 Mar 2017   Libya

Libya aims to increase crude oil production at some of its fields by 55,000 barrels to the extent that conditions permit, the nation’s main oil company stated. Officials with Libya’s National Oil Corp. met with representatives from Italian energy company Eni and Mellitah Oil & Gas, which ranks itself as the largest in Libya in terms of production. The NOC said all parties discussed increasing production at the Abu Attifel and al-Remal oil field by 55,000 barrels within the next few weeks “as per the scheduled plan and to the extent that resources permit.” Eni lists the fields in its portfolio and counts Mellitah as the operator. Oil is fed from the complex to the coastal terminal at Zuetina and then onto the […]

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.