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Africa news roundup

The African oil and gas industry is seeing new development, as oil and gas fields are discovered and developed. From pipelines in Mozambique to refineries in Sierra Leone, the continent's petrochemical industry is in a period of growth.

Mozambique planning two pipelines

As part of its Master Plan for Natural Gas, Mozambique's Ministry of Mineral Resources and Energy has announced it is planning to construct two new gas pipelines. Both of these will be located in the town of Palma in the province of Cabo Delgado, which is known to have large natural gas deposits.

The first pipeline will be around 300 km long, travelling from Palma to the city of Pemba in the same province. The second pipeline will travel from Palma to the country's capital of Maputo, which is a distance of roughly 2,600 km. It is hoped that this will also boost Mozambique's maritime industry.

BP Angola plans to increase oil production

Darryl Wills, president of BP Angola, has announced that his company is planning to significantly increase production of oil in Angola over the next five years. The BP Group subsidiary is working on the assumption that the oil price will stay low, leading to an oversupply in the world market, and this move is a response to that prediction.

This strategy will allow the firm to stay in Angola even if the price of oil drops to $20 per barrel, according to Mr Wills. BP Angola's plan involves increasing oil production by 50 per cent by 2020, up from its current rate of 320,000 barrels per day to 480,000. The company owns 50 per cent of Angola's Block 18, which currently produces 150,000 barrels per day.

Iran to build Sierra Leone refineries

Iran's National Iranian Oil Engineering Company (NIOEC) is in negotiations with Sierra Leone to set up an oil refinery in the country, as part of an overall plan of foreign investment. Iran hopes this will secure a market for its crude oil overseas, as the refinery and accompanying storage depots will be supplied with Iranian oil.

Ali Asghar Sajedi, NIOEC's managing director, said an agreement had already been reached to build an oil depot in Sierra Leone. He added: "If the second phase leads to a conclusion, the feasibility studies for the construction of an oil refinery in the country will be carried out."

Bir Seba field in Algeria sees first flow

December 11th saw the first flow of oil from lots 433A and 416B of Algeria's Bir Seba field, which is run by the PetroVietnam Exploration Production Corporation (PVEP). The company is working in a joint venture with Thailand's PTT Exploration and Production Company (PTTEP) and Algeria's Sonatrach, the nation's state-owned oil and gas firm.

It is thought that the project - which has attracted around $1.26 billion of investment since 2009 - will be producing around 40,000 barrels of oil per day by 2020. The joint venture has already drilled 16 wells in Algeria, and is producing around 20,000 barrels of oil per day.

Buyers found for Equatorial Guinea's Fortuna LNG project

London-based Ophir Energy is operating a floating liquefied natural gas (LNG) project - named Fortuna - off the coast of Equatorial Guinea. The firm announced that it has signed heads of agreements with six different buyers for the resource, which caused its shares to rise by 4.5 per cent.

Ophir is planning to sell 2.2 million tonnes of LNG offtake per year once a final investment decision has been made. Fortuna is located in Equatorial Guinea's Block R, a 2,450 sq km offshore area estimated to hold almost 96.3 billion cubic m of natural gas. Ophir owns 80 per cent of the block, with the remaining 20 per cent held by GEPetrol.

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