Earth Finds

Earth Finds

Deep Petroleum Industry Reforms Set Angola On Path To Growth In 2019

Reforms span from changes in tax law to changes in concession contracts and the opening of marginal fields to African independents.

Key measures include the formation of upstream and downstream taskforces, the privatization of some Sonangol subsidiaries, and the creation of a new regulator to manage concessions. The measures are already attracting interest from investors and establishing confidence in the administration.

Angola's economy is set for recovery in 2019, in large part due to a series of regulatory reforms opening the country to new investment.

Since entering office in 2017, President João Lourenço has focused on cleaning up corruption and implementing aggressive reforms to transform the oil and gas sector and the economy.

The reforms, which span from deep changes in tax law to changes in concession contracts and the opening of marginal fields to African independents, have hit the books just as the oil price is stabilizing, and Angola is already attracting new interest from investors.

Lourenço has made key appointments to shift the trajectory of the oil and gas sector, notably naming Diamantino Azevedo the new Minister of Mineral Resources and Petroleum. The Ministry of Mineral Resources and Petroleum quickly put together a task force comprised of both international and domestic stakeholders, including the Ministry of Finance, the Office of the President, Sonangol, BP, Chevron, ENI, Esso, Equinor, and Total. The task force has proposed improvements in several areas, including: simplifying the oil concessions management process; implementing incentives for investment in marginal fields; and creating a natural gas regulatory framework.

By December 2018, several new laws have been enacted, including:

  • The Natural Gas Regulatory Framework, which establishes policies for the monetization of natural gas (both associated and non-associated gas) in existing and new concessions;
  • Incentives for investments, which vary from tax reforms to contract reforms, to encourage economic exploration and development of natural resources;
  • Improved terms to better allow for exploration within development areas in existing blocks.

Considered one of the most important changes to Angola's oil and gas sector, an independent regulator has been created to manage the country's oil and gas concessions, which were previously handled by the state-owned Sonangol.

The National Oil and Gas Agency is the new granter and manager of concessions in a complete restructuring of the management of Angola's oil and gas industry. The move is designed to improve transparency, attract new investment and increase output.

The reforms have also addressed the downstream sector. The government has created a task force to focus on downstream issues, similar to the upstream task force.

The taskforce teams will focus on what is needed to build a high conversion refinery in the Lobito municipality and a refinery in Cabinda. Eight companies have already been pre-selected for the Lobito refinery and seven selected for the Cabinda refinery. Angola currently imports about 80 percent of its refined petroleum products.

The measures appear to be working — the World Bank's economic outlook for Angola released in December 2018 predicts GDP will grow by 1.7 percent in 2018 and 2.2 percent in 2019 — the first time the country will have seen positive growth since 2014. An improved investor environment is listed as a cause for the improvement.

Mega oil and gas projects have achieved final investment decision since 2018, and several more are headed for FID in 2019 and 2020. A new licensing round is expected to attract new international explorers to the country, as well as promote the participation of Angola's domestic sector by offering incentives for marginal fields.

  • Published in Africa
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Innovation Paves Way For Next Stage Of Global Energy Transformation

Countries at the forefront of the energy transformation are getting more than a third of their energy from variable renewables like solar and wind, and they're doing it in a cost-effective manner.

By making use of innovative solutions that allow to integrate a higher share of renewables into power systems, innovation holds the key to a cost-effective global energy transformation.

These findings come from a first-of-a-kind mapping and analysis of innovations that will transform the power sector, launched by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) today in Brussels.

IRENA's Director-General Adnan Z. Amin presented the report in the presence of EU Energy and Climate Action Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete at an official launch event hosted by the European Commission.

The report "Innovation Landscape for a Renewable-Powered Future: solutions to integrate variable renewables" contains the most in-depth assessment of the power sector transformation to date.

It shows how synergies between different innovative solutions in business models, market design, enabling technologies and system operation are lowering the cost of integrating high shares of variable renewable energy (VRE), while making energy production, transmission and consumption more flexible and empowering a new generation of energy consumers.

Decarbonising the global power sector in line with the Paris Agreement objectives will require an 85% share of renewable energy in total electricity generation by 2050, IRENA's 2050 Roadmap estimates.

By then, variable renewables would account for 60% of the total power generated globally. Moving to a new phase where the massive but cost-effective scale-up of renewables power is crucial, the power sector transformation is strongly accelerated by innovation trends in digitalization, decentralization and electrification of the end-use sectors.

Understanding and learning from the experiences from leading countries in VRE integration is crucial to replicate and enhance innovation that can accelerate this transformation.

With close to 15% of VRE share in annual electricity generation today, the EU has the highest levels of variable renewables in power systems globally. "Europe has shown tremendous leadership in initiating the system-wide innovations needed to support the widespread adoption of renewables and

decarbonise the global economy", said IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin. "The region's success shows us that innovation is creating an energy transformation that is technically feasible and economically attractive. Innovation is the engine powering the energy transition and the global pace of innovation is accelerating.

IRENA's new report will provide a clear, navigable and comprehensive guide on innovations being piloted around the world, aiming to support informed decision-making by all countries to deploy low-cost renewables and accelerate the global energy transition further."

EU Commissioner for Energy and Climate Action Miguel Arias Cañete reiterated the importance of renewable energy in helping the region to meet its climate objectives, "The EU has already started the

modernisation and transformation towards a climate neutral economy. Implementing the EU's Clean Energy package will further boost innovation, and the EU can continue to show leadership and support the rest of the world by exporting innovative solutions in the fight against climate change.

Innovation is central to our efforts, and this report from IRENA is a valuable contribution to become the world's first major economy to go climate neutral by 2050."

The new report identifies 30 key innovations and 11 innovative solutions in development by pioneering companies and backed by far-sighted governments around the world.

By showcasing many examples of projects and pilots for the power sector transformation across the globe, it supports policy makers in adopting innovation frameworks built on the combination and synergies between innovative solutions.

As a unique toolbox it will help decision makers to rethink their power systems and implement solutions that account for specific national circumstances.

  • Published in Energy
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Court Adjourns Hearing Of Sudhir, Sebalu And Lule Case

The Commercial Court hearing of a case in which Crane Management Services (CMS), sued Sebalu & Lule Advocates over conflict of interest, has today stalled following the presiding judge, Justice David Wangutusi Wasieba “being unwell.”

According to the court registry, the trial judge is sick and unable to preside over the hearing of this case. The ‘conflict of interest’ case has been pushed to March 1, 2019.

Last December, Dr Ruparelia, the proprietor of Crane Management Services, filed a lawsuit in the Commercial Court saying that Sebalu and Lule Advocates were unfit to represent Bank of Uganda (BoU) and dfcu bank because they once represented Crane Management Services which owned Crane Bank in several court cases.

In his suit the businessman said; “In view of the advocate-client relationship between the applicant (Crane Management Services sued dfcu bank) and the 1st respondent (Sebalu & Lule advocates), the latter’s continued participation as defence counsel for the 2nd respondent (dfcu bank) herein, which is the defendant in High Court Civil Suit (HCCS) No. 109/2018 against the applicant/plaintiff, is prejudicial to the applicant’s head suit.” 

Dr Ruparelia told Watchdog Uganda in an interview that ‘this is wasting and time and money.’ “I and my team came ready to battle out this case. We can’t allow this to continue. They have done so many things to delay us but we have to agree with the law. First, all these lawyers know that what they are doing is unethical but we shall fight and see we get justice.”

Sudhir demands that the judge issues out a permanent injunction on Sebalu and Lule Law Firm banning them from appearing before the court as the shielding units for dfcu bank, and the other court cases that Crane Management Services and dfcu are engaged in.

In the case (HCCS No.109 of 2018), CMS is demanding for USD385,728 and UGX2,998,558,624 as rental arrears. This is before interest, general damages, interest on general damages and costs of the suit.

Dfcu is being sued on account of being the successor in title to Crane Bank (in receivership) and as such “having by its conduct assumed the rights and obligations under the tenancies in respect of the suit properties.”

Dfcu is also facing other law suits by Meera Investments Ltd, the property development arm of the Ruparelia Group, for “fraudulently” and “illegally” transferring 42 properties belonging to Meera into dfcu’s name. The property company wants dfcu evicted out of the 42 properties, currently hosting various dfcu branches.

Citizen Wants Museveni To Sack Incompetent Mutebile, Kasekende, Kasaija

President Yoweri Museveni must sack Bank of Uganda governors, Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile, Louis Kasekende and the finance minister Matia Kasaija because they are incompente, a petition by a concerned citizen, Dr Paul Bamutaze was been received by State House Anti-Corruption Unit on February 19

Dr Paul Bamutaze, reveals that he is concerned by the ongoing mismanagement of the affairs of the central bank and the illegal sale of properties of several banks such as Crane Bank, Global Trust Bank and National Bank of Commerce among others.

“The petitioner has been following the Cosase committee proceedings and was surprised at the shocking utterances by the Governor of Uganda ‘that liquidation reports are hidden away from him by his junior staff’ this is so worrying as to whether the Governor Bank of Uganda still has the authority over the management and affairs of the Central Bank of Uganda,” the petition reads in part.

“The Governor Bank of Uganda and the Deputy Governor are under a supervisory duty over and above all the employees of the Central Bank and in the best interest of the country’s economy. Your excellence, the Governor, Deputy Governor and the Minister of Finance have since failed in their ability to fulfill their administrative, managerial and supervisory roles.”

It is in this regard that Dr Bamutaze seeks President Museveni’s intervention by exercising his powers as the appointing authority and fountain of honour by relieving Mutebile, Kasekende and Kasaija of their duties whom he says have failed Ugandans.

“Your excellence, the actions of the Governor Bank of Uganda, the Deputy Governor Bank of Uganda and Minister of Finance have cause so much financial instability and if not immediately well handled are likely to cause an economic crisis,” says Bamutaze in a letter copied to among others the Speaker of Parliament, Prime Minister and NRM Secretary General.

He also requests the president to prompt an out of court settlement for the ongoing court matters between BoU and former Crane Bank owner Dr Sudhir Ruparelia as well as have Justine Bagyenda, former Central Bank Director of Supervision prosecuted for her heinous action and abuse of office.

“If this government is so much interested in the fight against corruption, the actions should beign now and the culprits be brought to book. It is for the fact Mr Oresident that the Central Bank has become a laughing matter from the public,” notes Bamutaze.

“As it is your excellence, the financial economy is currently stunted and the incompetence of the leadership at the Central Bank of Uganda threatens the economy but also shuns away potential investors and deters other business people to re-invest their monies in Uganda especially in the banking sector. Important to note is justice be done to the many employees that unfairly lost jobs as a result of the unconstitutional sale of the banks in question.”

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