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Africa news roundup

The majority of recent oil and gas news from Africa is from three countries. Nigeria has made the news for its ban on foreign oil and gas tankers loading or unloading in its ports, but the nation's president has announced that this will be lifted.

Meanwhile, South Africa is looking to construct a terminal that will allow it to purchase LNG, while hoping to resume imports of crude oil from Iran once sanctions are lifted. Kenya has also made the news, both due to funds being raised for an oil development and a date being set for the completion of a pipeline linking to Uganda. Read on for more:


South Africa to construct LNG terminal?

The port of Saldanha Bay in western South Africa could be the location of the country's first liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal. The proposed project, which would cost around 20 billion rand (roughly $1.4 billion) would be used to handle LNG imports intended for use in the nation's power plants.

South Africa currently relies a lot on coal for its power, and is looking to diversify. It is also suffering through a series of power shortages, which it aims to relieve with the import of LNG.

The proposed project would involve building the terminal at Saldanha Bay - which is already becoming an oil and gas hub - as well as pipelines that would transport the LNG to where it was needed. These would travel as far as to Cape Town, which is around 150 km away from the port.

Fernel Abrahams, project manager for the scheme, told Reuters: "Saldanha Bay ticks all the boxes. It makes economic sense, it will help improve energy security and all our studies around ocean conditions, demurrage and market growth show it is technically feasible to land gas here."


Nigeria lifts oil tanker ban

The Nigerian government has at last lifted a two-month ban on foreign oil and gas tankers, which prevented 113 of the ships from loading or unloading their cargo at the nation's ports. However, the trade of petroleum products is still not completely free, as all ships entering Nigeria must receive a 'letter of comfort' from the state's oil company, Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

This letter is only given out to vessels that can guarantee they will not be used for any kind of illegal activity, as Nigeria has had a real problem with oil theft. According to president Muhammadu Buhari around 250,000 barrels of oil are stolen every day in the country, which was the reason for the ban in the first place.


$50m raised for development of Kenyan oil field

The South Lokichar basin in northwest Kenya has the potential to produce an extremely large amount of oil for Kenya and its trade partners, if properly appraised and developed. A major step in this process has been taken, with the announcement by Africa Oil Corporation that it has raised around $50 million to fund this process.

In order to work in the basin, companies must submit detailed field development plans showing any facilities and pipelines that will need to be built in the area. Africa Oil Corporation has until the end of 2015 to do this, and now it has the money it can budget appropriately and move forward with the project.

It is thought that the South Lokichar basin contains roughly 600 million barrels of crude oil. Blocks 10BB and 13T are located there. These were discovered jointly by Africa Oil Corporation and Tullow Oil. In some cases African oil companies have struggled to find funding for this kind of work, but in this case the project has been able to get underway.


South Africa eager to resume Iranian oil imports

With the changing political situation in the Middle East having led to trade sanctions on Iran being lifted, some nations are looking to take advantage of the country's oil reserves. One of these is South Africa, which according to deputy foreign minister Nomaindiya Mfeketo would resume imports "tomorrow" if there were no obstacles.

The senior official told reporters: "We are definitely negotiating and looking at when to fully resume oil imports from Iran. It depends on how quick those negotiations are … so that we can sign on the dotted line."

South Africa once imported around 380,000 barrels of crude oil per day from Iran, and its government has reportedly said that it never approved of sanctions against the Middle Eastern nation.


Kenyan oil pipeline expected to start operations in 2022

After a long period of discussion, a decision has at last been made on the fate of the Uganda-Kenya pipeline. The structure's design and route has been released by the firm in charge of delivering the project, Japan's Toyota Tsusho, and it has been revealed that it will begin operations no earlier than October 2022.
Daniel Kiptoo, the petroleum legal adviser to the cabinet secretary in Kenya’s Ministry of Energy and Petroleum, said: "Kenya and Uganda have now settled on the route, for the oil pipeline, this is what was delaying construction and could stretch the deadlines set by both governments for first oil."

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