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Technip signs $500 mln deal to refurbish Libya’s Bahr Essalam oil platform

Comments (0) Business, Latest Updates from Reuters, Middle East

PARIS (Reuters) – French oil services company Technip has signed a deal worth $500 million with a consortium that includes Libya’s National Oil Company (NOC) and Italy’s oil and gas major ENI to refurbish an offshore oil platform.

A statement from the French foreign ministry where a Libyan delegation was visiting on Tuesday, said the platform is for the Libya’s Bahr Essalam oil field off Tripoli.

The deal was signed by NOC’s chief executive Mustafa Sanalla and Technip’s CEO Thierry Pilenko.


(Reporting by John Irish; Writing by Bate Felix; Editing by Ingrid Melander)

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Mauritania, Senegal seek to become oil, gas exporters

Comments (0) Africa, Business, Featured

senegal gas

The two West African countries bet on a long-term recovery as global fuel prices slump.

In spite of the slumping price of oil in the past year, two West African countries are betting on a long term recovery as they race to produce enough oil and gas to become exporters by 2020.

Mauritania and Senegal both report promising off shore oil discoveries and each nation plans to proceed with multi-billion dollar extraction projects.

However, David Thomson, an analyst with Wood Mackenzie cautioned that securing financing for the projects could be challenging and take time. “These projects are massive and they’re very capital intensive,” Thomson said.

Offshore wells promising

In Senegalese waters, Cairn Energy reported that it had drilled three wells that revealed significant amounts of oil off Africa’s western extremity. Drilling was planned at a fourth, according to the Scottish energy company’s chief executive, Simon Thomson.

The United States company Kosmos Energy said it had confirmed a large pool of natural gas that straddled the Mauritanian-Senegalese border at sea and it planned to drill in the area.

The projected yield is 20 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, an encouraging threshold for further drilling, Kosmos spokesman Thomas Golembeski said.

Other African nations wait

The Senegalese and Mauritanian plans contrast with other nations such as Tanzania and Kenya, which are delaying tapping similar resources until the economic climate improves.

Nadine Kone of Oxfam International questioned the wisdom of Senegal’s and Mauritania’s plans. “Why rush with oil given where prices are now?” Kone asked.

After increasing by 20 percent in April, global oil prices fell in early May to below $45 a barrel and experts predicted weakened demand.

Senegal oil

Producers see increase in demand

Golembeski said the Kosmos thinks demand will have increased by the time the gas site is ready to deliver. He cited the ease of shipping to Europe as an advantage for exports from the region.

“Demand for oil and gas will continue to increase over time as more and more people around the world move from rural areas into the cities and want the conveniences of modern life,” he said.

Both countries have enjoyed steady economic growth in the past five years.

With a population of 3.6 million and a gross domestic product of $15.5 billion, Mauritania has seen sustained economic growth, primarily as a result of growth of the mining industry. The country is Africa’s second leading exporter of iron ore and also exports gold and copper.

According to the Heritage Foundation, the nation’s gross domestic product saw a growth rate of more than 5 percent on average during the past five years.

Senegal’s economy has grown at an average annual rate of 3.5 percent in the past five years, the foundation said, but volatility of economic growth has undermined progress in social development and fighting poverty. The nation has a population of 14.5 million and a gross domestic product totaling $33.6 billion. Senegal is primarily rural and has historically had few natural resources, relying instead on agricultural exports.

In 2015, with a growth rate of 6.5 percent, Senegal was the continent’s second fastest growing economy. Services, chemical production and construction drove growth.

Questions about oil proceeds

Kone of Oxfam questioned whether the five-year window the energy companies are projecting from exploration to sale is enough time to create a legal framework to regulate the governments’ use of proceeds from their 10 percent shares in projects within their boundaries.

Despite economic growth, both countries suffer from youth unemployment and chronic poverty and many residents do not have access to housing, health services, education or even clean water.

Kone cited Ghana, which discovered oil in 2007, as a model in the region that Mauritania and Senegal might emulate. Ghana created a dedicated fund from the proceeds that it used to invest in priority areas such as education and agriculture.

A contrasting example is Nigeria, where the state-run oil agency withheld billions of dollars funds that were designated for government services. Nigeria derives about 70 percent of its revenue and is Africa’s top producer of crude oil.

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Nigeria to begin exploratory oil drilling in Chad Basin by October

Comments (0) Africa, Business, Latest Updates from Reuters

ABUJA (Reuters) – Nigeria plans to begin exploratory drilling in search of oil in the northeastern Chad Basin region by October, the head of the state oil company has said.

Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, who last year said Africa’s biggest crude exporter may be on the verge of a significant oil find in the Lake Chad area, said in a statement on Sunday that seismic studies were ongoing.

“Drilling activities will commence by the last quarter of 2016,” the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) chief, who is also minister of state for oil, was quoted as saying in the statement issued by the state oil company.

Africa’s biggest economy has been hit hard by the sharp fall in global oil prices because it relies on crude exports for around 70 percent of government revenue.

NNPC spokesman Garba Deen Muhammad said exploration in the region was intended to “add value to the hydrocarbon potentials of the Nigerian inland basin, provide investment opportunities, boost the economy as well as create millions of new jobs”.



(Reporting by Camillus Eboh and Alexis Akwagyiram, editing by David Evans)

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Exxon Mobil to drill offshore post-Ebola Liberia in 2017

Comments (0) Africa, Business, Latest Updates from Reuters

MONROVIA (Reuters) – Exxon Mobil Corp said it plans to start drilling in Liberia in 2017, in what President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said was a sign of economic recovery after the Ebola epidemic.

The West African country produces no oil but has awarded a number of exploration blocs offshore, following the examples of Gulf of Guinea neighbours Ghana and Nigeria.

Exxon Mobil intends to start drilling late 2017, Steven Buck, its country manager for Liberia and Ivory Coast, said. The U.S. oil major signed for bloc 13 in 2003 but put the project on hold due to the Ebola epidemic.

The worst known outbreak of the haemorrhagic fever killed 4,800 people in the country and deterred investors. Liberia was declared Ebola-free in September but Johnson Sirleaf has said it will take two years to regain its economic footing.

“I am very excited to see Exxon Mobil here,” she said on Thursday after a meeting with Buck. “Their presence demonstrates to the world that Liberia is once more on the move.”

The United States has lifted economic sanctions on Liberia that it had put in place against former president Charles Taylor, who is serving a 50-year sentence for atrocities committed in Sierra Leone during its civil war.


(Reporting by Alphonso Toweh; Writing by Emma Farge and Makini Brice, editing by William Hardy)


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Total to resume South African offshore drilling next year

Comments (0) Africa, Business, Latest Updates from Reuters

CAPE TOWN (Reuters) – French oil major Total is expected to resume drilling offshore South Africa in the second half of 2016, part of a broader campaign to explore in Africa, a senior official said on Wednesday.

Total last year stopped drilling off the southern coast of South Africa after experiencing mechanical problems with its rig during high winds and rough seas in the Outeniqua Basin, about 175 km (109 miles) off the southern coast of South Africa.

“Our plan is to drill next year but only if those conditions are met. I think it is better to think second half than first half,” Kevin Mclachlan, Total’s senior vice president for exploration told Reuters on the sidelines of an African oil and gas conference in Cape Town.

Total is the operator of Block 11B/12B, where it holds a 50 percent stake in the field with equal partner CNR International, a subsidiary of Canadian Natural Resources Ltd.

Mclachlan said the company planned to drill between 10-15 wells over the next three years across the continent, including in Africa’s top two oil producers Nigeria and Angola.


(Reporting by Wendell Roelf; Editing by James Macharia, Reuters)

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Egypt awards four offshore oil and gas exploration licences

Comments (0) Business, Latest Updates from Reuters

CAIRO (Reuters) – Egypt has awarded four new licences to explore for oil and gas off its Mediterranean coast, weeks after ENI’s giant Zohr gas find piqued fresh international interest in the area.

Egypt’s state gas company EGAS said in a statement it had awarded one licence to Britain’s BP and one to Italy’s Edison. A consortium involving BP and ENI’s Egyptian subsidiary had also picked up a bloc as had another consortium involving ENI, BP and France’s Total.

ENI announced in late August that it had discovered the largest known gas field in the Mediterranean off the Egyptian coast, predicting that the find could help meet the country’s energy needs for decades to come.

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