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Up until now, everyone has heard about renewable energy and its positive impact on the environment. But, are you really aware of the impact these renewable energy sources can bring upon your monthly bills, home and this entire planet/
Renewable energy is certainly been termed as the key to a sustainable future for mankind and experts around the world are pushing for it in the best manner possible. NJ Ayuk, one of the most recognized energy experts from South Africa, also echoes the same notion.
As per NJ Ayuk guardian, the following facts can be seen as the major reason why we all must take these renewable energy sources seriously.
Better for the ecosystem
Its a world known fact that fossil fuels like coal and petroleum are literally loading up our ecosystem with more and more greenhouse gases. Now, this is something that is leading to various catastrophic effects on this planet like rising in sea levels, soaring temperatures, and melting of the ice caps. NJ Ayuk centurial law group believes that this is the sole reason why opting for these renewable sources of energy is a better idea. Besides being cleaner, these sources provide us with sustainable energy sources for our future generations.
Best for human health
As per a recent report released by a famous UK journal, more than 40 thousand people succumb to death due to air pollution in the country. On the other side, it has also been reported than more than 250 hospitals are been located in areas where the pollution levels are way higher than what WHO has quoted as ‘dangerous’.
NJ Ayuk wife says that this is where governments and the authorities around must take this as an alarming situation for humanity and take concrete steps to stop any further damage.
The abundance of green energy sources
While fossil fuel sources like coal is been termed as finite, cleaner energy sources are available in abundance on this planet. Right like the name suggests, these renewable sources of energy can top up the tank of energy production till eternity.
NJ Ayuk further says that countries like Germany and Costa Rica have already taken big steps in the same context and if we talk about Germany itself, almost half of its energy production is based on renewable sources.
Costa Rica, on the other side, has recently gone on a ‘ 300 days on renewable energy supply’ spree with the entire country. Well, this certainly shows that there is some big hope we can live through in the coming years in regards to the utilisation of these renewable energy sources.
This could very well be the only way we can imagine a better future for our coming generation ina healthy and safe environment.
As the whole world around is locked down inside their places, Covid-19 is really taking a toll on almost every economy and business around. No matter if it’s about people engaged in the Industrial sector, aviation sector or the Oil and energy sector, everyone is struggling to keep things in place. Now, this is where the Technology sector is bringing a new ray of hope for all such people and they can now think about innovative ways and methodologies, to keep things going.
NJ Ayuk, one of the most talked-about legal professional and co-founder of the NJ Ayuk Centurion law group, also affirm the same notion. He was in a conversation with a leading African business journal and pointed towards the emerging significance of tech in Africa’s oil and gas industry.
Time has come for technology to help us in this pandemic situation
COVID 19 has pushed most of the companies across the globe to heavily rely on tech solutions to carry through their daily operation. From holding all those virtual meetings to tracking and monitoring all the key assets, everything can now be managed by bringing the high-end tech solutions on board.
NJ Ayuk guardian further said that technology has come to the rescue of all these oil and gas companies while driving their operations in this crisis situation. In his words, ” Innovations such as the development of new ways to drill wells and handle equipment, the design of new seismic data collection programs, the management of petroleum data systems, and the monitoring and protection of internet-connected equipment have the potential to redefine how business is done in this sector.”
Tackling through the economic crisis
While talking of his famous book NJ Ayuk billions at play, he further said that all the African oil and gas companies must join hands with the local tech firm in order to bring more innovation in the way of handling day to day operations within the industry.
These firms must also encourage foreign tech firms in order to import all the required etch expertise and advanced solutions in the same direction. NJ Ayuk also said that the government must also support these firms while creating more flexible policies and guidelines to direct their operations.
Summing it up
NJ Ayuk energy chamber has also proposed the fact that in the wake of falling prices of crude oil in the world markets, governments must provide alternatives to this oil and gas companies so as they can contribute to other developmental projects in the common interest of the African people.
Hence, everyone from the oil and gas companies, tech firms to the local governments, must come together to work towards a better future, while also fighting with this pandemic in the process
Or Will China, Russia, and Others Take Charge?
With billions literally at play, is the United States ready to invest in Africa’s oil and energy opportunities? So far, US companies and the government have dragged their feet. Perhaps it is due to political turmoil, or a lack of understanding of the money that is at stake? Maybe Americans don’t realize that China, Russia and others are swooping in and taking advantage of opportunities that they seem to be blind to. They may also be skeptical of partnering with African nations, leaders and energy corporations. But with so much at stake, can the US really afford to waste time on the sidelines?
Russia, China, Africa and the United States
It is well-known that Russia and China are already working with Africa to form alliances needed for future prosperity. These countries are building infrastructure, negotiating deals, and making the needed investments in the future. The US is not being competitive despite the fact that they are positioned to gain the most.
The US Economic Engagement in Africa: Making Prosper Africa a Reality report recently stated that, “While other countries have ramped up their economic engagement with Africa via trade, investments, and private sector financing, the United States has remained, for the most part, disengaged. Though decades-long U.S. government initiatives in Africa are indicative of longstanding relations, the reality is that these initiatives have not been enough for the United States to compete in the changing development landscape.”
NJ Ayuk, the Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber has a practical approach and the answers in his book Billions at Play: The Future of African Energy and Doing Deals. He would like to see Africa and the US work together. “There is so much to gain by collaborating at this crucial time in history. Africa is rich in resources. By partnering with the U.S., we create cleaner, greener, cheaper energy sources, and create jobs, which has the potential to put those dollars back into the global economy, namely our partners in the US.”
Is the Investment in Africa Worth It?
To make money, one needs to invest money. Such is the case with Africa energy. The first step is investing in infrastructure. Roads, railroads and pipelines all need to be put in place. Ayuk estimates it to be a $700B investment. The US has always made such investments, but lately they have been overshadowed by China. Almost stealthily, China is moving in where the US should be.
USAID administrator Mark Green seems to think investing in Africa is worth it and expresses his belief in collaboration. In the American Enterprise Institute live stream conversation about private sector engagement late last year, he was quoted as saying, “In public-private partnerships, which USAID and others have done for a long time, [they] are largely about contractual grants, contracting. Now, we’ll still do contracting and grant-making. But what we’re really talking about with public sector engagement is true collaboration.”
Ayuk adds that “We need to look at Washington as a partner in investment and not just aid. If we create the jobs, the need for aid will be replaced with self-sufficient people.”
Green also said, “…when USAID was formed, all the capital flows going from the U.S. to, say, Africa, about 87 percent was traditional development assistance. Now, it’s below 10 percent. And the rest is large scale philanthropy, you know, almost call it family philanthropy. We see the good work of parishes and congregations and synagogues around the country. But the largest piece is commerce. America has commercial interest, investment interests, and investment relationships in the developing world; that’s a fundamental difference. And if we’re going to accomplish all of our goals, we have to tap into that.”
Billions at Play Is the Roadmap the US Needs
NJ Ayuk has a practical approach and the answers in his book Billions at Play: The Future of African Energy and Doing Deals, releasing October 22, 2019. To make the objectives succinct and outline the path to collaboration, Ayuk stands as a leader to join the US and Africa and ensure everyone is on the right path. Healthy and competitive economies are a big part of the equation.
Ayuk says, “If African governments, businesses, and organizations manage Africa’s oil and gas revenues wisely, we can make meaningful changes across the continent, and this will benefit both our nations.”
In his book, Ayuk also stresses that Africa needs companies that are willing to share knowledge, technology and best practices, and businesses that are willing to form positive relationships in areas where they work. This partnering is key to success.
Why Is It Taking So Long?
This isn’t a new development. As a matter of fact, in December of 2018 the Trump administration started the African policy for primacy and partnerships. At that point in time, the outlook was quite hopeful that the administration would promote US business development on the African continent. The goal was to inspire Africa to choose the US instead of Russia and China regarding commercial and political relationships.
At the time, then ambassador John Bolton announced the Prosperity, Security and Stability strategy on December 13, 2018 and it was centered around the idea of advancing prosperity by ,“advancing U.S. trade and commercial ties with nations across the region to benefit both the United States and Africa; security, through countering the threat from radical Islamic terrorism and violent conflict; and stability, through foreign aid, while ensuring that U.S. taxpayer dollars for aid are used efficiently.”
Has the instability on the US political scene affected opportunities for growth? Hopefully the focus will shift again so that all involved can be prosperous. Now is the time for the US to become more proactively involved before it is too late.
Despite the fact that African markets hold great potential for growth for the US, particularly in the private sector for businesses and investing, the continent is dealing with a bad reputation from its past. However, that reputation is no longer valid.
According to the US Economic Engagement in Africa: Making Prosper Africa a Reality report by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, “Despite evidence of the significant economic opportunities present in the region, Africa has been mischaracterized by the American media as a continent of despair, and U.S. engagement with Africa has, for the most part, been a foreign assistance relationship.”
When Americans think about investing in Africa, thoughts of corruption, concerns about adversely impacting the environment, issues with public-private partnerships and the difficulties in making sure the people of Africa are truly being helped, come to mind. But the future is built on trust, collaboration and accountability.
Ayuk advocates for trust and transparency. “Transparency is no longer a catch phrase. It’s the future of doing business. Trust in people and the community means more gets done.”
Ayuk is realistic and knows American investment comes with the requirement to keep everyone involved accountable. Governments in Africa understand now, more than ever, that they must cooperate and create synergy to have success. There is amazing opportunities for American business to get in now and help Africa grow and prosper, contribute to the infrastructure, which ultimately grows U.S. investment and secures a place in a prosperous future for all.
Build for the Future because Billions Are at Play
As one of the leading energy attorneys in Africa, NJ Ayuk’s optimistic outlook on making Africa more equitable is what everyone needs. He says, “Africa is rich in resources. By partnering with the U.S., we create cleaner, greener, cheaper energy sources, and create jobs, which has the potential to put those dollars back into the global economy, namely our partners in the US.”
NJ Ayuk also makes the case for the petroleum industry having the power to support and transform emerging economies in Billions at Play. Africa is more than capable to learn from itself. The role of natural gas in Africa’s energy future, effective and sustainable investment strategies, strategic oil and gas revenue management and, the role of women in the African petroleum sector, are all key factors addressed in the book.
Johannesburg, July 29th, 2019: The oil and gas industry is well known for being a very capital-intensive industry. The likes of BP, Exxon-Mobil, Saudi Aramco or Shell, routinely make the top-ten of the world’s largest companies by revenue, and the figures can be so strikingly large as to cause confusion from the point of view of the individual. That could have been a possible explanation for the BBC’s Panorama show’s outlandish claim over an alleged USD$10 billion “scandal” taking place in Senegal and involving the highest levels of government and most of the country’s main oil and gas players. It was either that or the sheer necessity to present an over-sensationalized view of the facts for the sake of audience shares, which I liked to believe was beneath such a respected media institution.
If not let’s see. Panorama’s story covers the sale and acquisition of two offshore oil and gas blocks in Senegal by a company named Petro-Tim, an unknown company registered in the Cayman Islands as a subsidiary of another ghost-like global entreprise named PetroAsia resources. Petro-Tim is controlled by Frank Timiș, a Romanian-Australian businessman with a rather cloudy reputation, to put it extremely mildly.
In 2012, former president Abdoulaye Wade and his economy minister Karim Wade approved the deal after allegedly doing some extensive due diligence and assessing the “proven track-record” of PetroAsia, which backed Petro-Tim. Timiș later sold much off its license to Kosmos Energy, another well-known exploration company with an impeccable track-record. After massive natural gas discoveries were made in the company’s two licenses, Timiș sold his remaining shares to global oil company BP for a reported USD$250 million and some undisclosed “royalty concessions”. After some share exchange with Kosmos, today, BP controls an operating 60% stake in the Cayar Offshore Profond and St. Louis Profond licenses, with Kosmos retaining 30% and Petrosen, Senegal’s national oil company, controlling the remaining 10%.
Now, Timiș initial acquisition of the licenses during the Wade administration might have happened under suspicious circumstances, as the BBC alleges, and might certainly be worth investigating, which president Macky Sall has already initiated. That, however, is no reason to demonize the whole of the country’s oil sector and produce false claims that jeopardize the work being done to develop an industry with the potential to bring considerable wealth, jobs and economic development to this impoverished nation.
The BBC states that BP paid USD$250 million for Timiș’ share of the two oil licenses, but that besides that hefty figure, Timiș was still entitled, or “could receive” as the narrator tells us, to anywhere between USD$9 and USD$12 billion dollars in royalties, depending on the price per million British terminal unit of natural gas. The reporter decided to round up the figure to USD$10 billion, for no other reason than to make the title of the story more appealing, I believe.
Now, let’s put that figure, which is allegedly to be paid to one single individual, into perspective. Senegal’s annual gross domestic product in 2017 amounted to USD$16.37 billion. From a corporate point of view, BP, which ranks as the world’s seventh biggest company and has operations all across the globe in several different sectors, recorded record profits in 2018, more than doubling its 2017 earnings, at the tune of USD$12.7 billion.
In light of these values, the statement that BP had agreed to pay Timiș the sum of USD$10 billion as royalties for his former minority stake in two non-producing natural gas licenses in Senegal is not only outlandish, it is irresponsible, and reveals a thorough ignorance of how the oil and gas industry functions.
It is somewhat ironic that when, during the half an hour reportage, the BBC journalist shows opposition MP Mamadou Lamine Diallo a sheet of paper with the BP logo featuring what the reporter claims is a scaling payment sheet of royalties due to Timiș (BP has since said it “does not recognise the document shown that referenced these figures”), Mr. Diallo’s reaction is one of disbelief, looking around and repeating the sentence “is this true?” several times. Well, it is a question worth asking, for it can not be true. As BP stated, and industry standards confirm, “the potential royalty figures referred to in the programme are wholly inaccurate and exaggerated beyond the realm of reality”. Whatever royalty agreement it has with Timiș “would be less than one percent of what the Republic of Senegal would receive. And again – very importantly – anything paid would not in any way affect the agreed share received by Senegal”, since it would be paid from BP’s share of profits and does not being stolen from poor Senegalese people, as the story claims.
Further, this report is unfairly damaging on several fronts. It perpetuates an image of inevitable chronic corruption in African business that so many African leaders, including president Macky Sall, having been working hard to reverse by promoting good governance and transparency. It jeopardizes the many efforts made in recent years by the current Senegalese administration to promote the development of an oil and gas industry that could help lift millions out of poverty and bring economic development to the nation. It causes uncertainty for investors and raises political instability.
It also perpetuates the image that the oil industry is inherently destructive for African nations like Senegal, ignoring considerable evidence of the contrary, and smudges the reputation of some of the most regulated companies in the world by accusing them of knowingly supporting corrupt deals when all the information about the deal has been submitted and evaluated by the Securities and Exchange Commission in the United States and other oversight institutions without raising any flags. Finally, it seeks to attack the work made by president Macky Sall in trying to promote foreign investment and economic development in Senegal.
Finally, let us look at the actual contract made between the government of Senegal and the license holders, which the story deems as so damaging for the Senegalese coffers.
First of all, when the initial concession contract was made for these two licenses, Senegal had no relevant commercial oil and gas discoveries at all, particularly in the high-cost deep offshore region. This represents a considerable added risk to investors and is commonly associated with more favourable contract terms than other proven oil regions. Nothing new there. Within this context, the contracts covering the exploration and production of Cayar offshore Profond and Saint-Louis Offshore profond foresee that once first oil or first gas is attained, the operating company can recover up to 75% of its extensive operating costs from the production profits. After costs are paid for the production is divided between the state and the license holders in a scale depending on how much oil or gas is being produced. Within that scale, the Senegalese state receives between 35% and 58% of the production. On top of that, we must consider Petrosen’s 10% participation, which can be expanded, under the contractual conditions, to 20% if there is a discovery. So, at a 20% share, Petrosen could receive between a minimum of 8.4% (20% of 42%) and 13% (20% of 65%) of the production. Once divided, the production kept by the producing companies is taxed as profit by the State at a rate of 25%. To sum it up, the Senegalese state will receive anywhere between 61% and 74.8% of all production coming from these licenses. What the BBC has said to have been described as “the most generous (contract) in the industry”, even though it never said who described it that way, seems very much standard for the region.
Within this framework, it is difficult to understand why this story would be drafted in such sensationalistic terms to involve companies that are well-known for its adherence to anti-corruption and due diligence procedures. It is also strange that the reporters would choose to so blatantly attack political leaders that were not even in power when the deal was done, and that have been responsible for ground-breaking reforms that are already producing benefits for the Senegalese economy.
Senegal is well on its way to become a de facto oil and gas producer by 2022 and with it, billions of dollars will be injected in the Senegalese economy, supporting job creation and economic development in a country that still depends mostly on a non-industrialized agricultural sector. Senegal’s efforts to develop its oil industry and its economy should be supported and lauded by international well-informed observers and not harmed by inaccurate reporting.
27 August 2019, Johannesburg, South Africa — African economies are undergoing a transformative period. The energy sector, in particular, holds great potential to revitalize African economies and empower the growth and development. This, is a subject NJ Ayuk dives into in great detail in his sophomore book, Billions at Play: The Future of African Energy and Doing Deals.
Now available for pre-order on Amazon, Billions at Play tells us how energy can work better for Africans.
With a foreword by OPEC Secretary General Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, Billions at Play sets out to answer the questions: How did Africa get here and what comes next? How do African countries and societies get the most value from their resources? What exactly can African leaders do to put their countries on a sustainable, profitable path? And how can all parties win in Africa’s energy deals of the coming decades?
In a straightforward approach, the Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber outlines the fortunes and misfortunes in Africa’s petroleum industry and presents to us that Africa can learn from itself to build competitive economies. In particular, he proposes that:
“If African governments, businesses, and organizations manage Africa’s oil and gas revenues wisely, we can make meaningful changes across the continent.”
Using his experience and knowledge of the global energy sector, Ayuk challenges key players to be more active in developing their resources and local content skills, and encourages decision-makers to put Africa’s people at the center of economic growth plans.
Making the case for the petroleum industry having the power to support and transform emerging economies, he unpacks key issues including what and how Africa can learn from itself, the role of natural gas in Africa’s energy future, effective and sustainable investment strategies, strategic oil and gas revenue management and, the role of women in the African petroleum sector.
The latter he insists is vital in the success of Africa’s oil and gas sector.
He asserts that the low number of women represented in the global energy sector is an opportunity missed. “I believe this is unacceptable, short-sighted, and, frankly a real stumbling block to African countries that want to realize the full socio-economic benefits that a thriving oil and gas industry can provide.”
Ayuk says that, “Africans are more than capable of making our continent successful.” However, global participation in the African energy landscape can produce greater benefits. Speaking on U.S.-Africa relations specifically, he stresses that Africa needs companies that are willing to share knowledge, technology and best practices, and businesses that are willing to form positive relationships in areas where they work.
In his foreword, H.E. Barkindo describes Ayuk as a dreamer who has “taken the time to develop a detailed roadmap for realizing that dream” and prompts people all over the world to take the time to read Billions at Play in order to “play a part in making his dream of petroleum-fueled economic growth, stability and improved quality of life happen for Africa.”
Billions at Play: The Future of African Energy and Doing Deals is now available for pre-order on Amazon. Order your copy today.
Johannesburg, July 2nd, 2019: The African Energy Chamber salutes the re-appointment of H.E. Mohammed Barkindo as Secretary General of OPEC as a factor of stability for African and global oil markets.
Secretary General Barkindo has managed to keep OPEC united as an organization under very unstable times and a deep crisis in commodity prices. His leadership and diplomacy has restored market stability and successfully sealed landmark agreements like that of the Declaration of Cooperation between OPEC and non-OPEC member countries.
More importantly for our continent, it is under Secretary General Barkindo that OPEC gained its two newest African members, Equatorial Guinea in 2017 and the Republic of Congo in 2018. Last year, he was awarded the Africa Oil Man of the Year award by Africa Oil & Power for prioritizing of cooperation in turbulent times, for stabilizing oil markets and for raising the voice of Africa on the global energy stage.
“The extension of H.E. Mohammed Barkindo’s mandate as Secretary General for another term is excellent news. It is well-deserved and a result of the trust he has gained from the entire global energy community,” declared NJ Ayuk, Executive Chairman of the Chamber and CEO of the Centurion Law Group. “Secretary Barkindo has maintained faith in the future of the oil & gas industry, he picks the right battles and fights them with courage. As the race towards stability continues, his sense of team work will continue building the bridges our industry needs to achieve greater prosperity.”
Johannesburg, 15 August 2019: The recent onshore discovery made in the Delta de la Cuvette deposit in the Republic of Congo is a game changer for Congo and Africa. The discovery was announced on August 10th by SARPD Oil and PEPA, a Congolese consortium working as operators on the Block.
Early projections indicate that the discovered deposits could produce up to 359 million barrels of oil, or 983,000 bopd, from Congo’s central province. This could in effect quadruple Congo’s production, which currently stands at over 330,000 bopd according to OPEC’s latest figures. Production has been steadily increasing in recent years, with a target set by the government of reaching 400,000 bopd by 2020.
“This is our first onshore discovery and it gives us a lot of hope that we shall make more discoveries especially now that we are to award more blocks for oil exploration in the ongoing oil licensing round,” said the H.E. Jean-Marc Thystère-Tchicaya, Minister of Hydrocarbons of the Republic of Congo
The Delta de la Cuvette deposit covers 9,392 m2 and comprises four wells, the first has been drilled in March of this year. When fully exploited, the license could propel Congo as Africa’s third largest oil producer, ahead of Algeria and Libya.
“This is in effect one of the largest African oil discovery in decades,” declared Nj Ayuk, Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber and CEO at the Centurion Law Group. “Africa has been an exploration hotspot where major oil & gas discoveries have been made in recent years by international explorers. The Oyo discovery in Congo, however, is the result of indigenous efforts made by Congolese companies. It speaks volumes to the value that local content development can create when local companies and entrepreneurs are given an opportunity to contribute to their industry. I want to urge the government to work with the industry to expedite the approvals for the necessary field development efforts. This is a win for Congo and for Africa.”
The discovery is also a game changer for Congo’s energy scenario, with most oil & gas production currently coming from offshore fields. The Republic of Congo has been pushing for years to open up energy access to its central and northern provinces, notably through the planned 1,200km pipeline between Pointe Noire and Ouesso. The exploitation of such large oil deposits in the centre of the country could open up a whole new energy frontier for Congo and the rest of the region.
The African Energy Chamber looks forward to seeing the full development of the license creating jobs for Congolese, and opportunities for Congolese companies and entrepreneurs to service one of Central Africa’s largest upcoming onshore development. Such a discovery has the potential to spur considerable economic growth for Congo and its central and northern provinces, especially as the country keeps recovering from a recent economic crisis due to plummeting oil prices. The IMF predicts a GDP growth of 5.4% in 2019, the highest in Central Africa.
Congo has 2 billion barrels of proven oil reserves from about 20 fields being exploited and about 10 permits granted and waiting to be developed. Its proven gas reserves stand at 200bn standard cubic metres over 20 years, according to the government, including 70bn of associated gas. While gas production stands at about 400bcf, various gas valorization and monetization projects are being supported by the government to generate diversification and economic growth. Congo estimates that it can monetize about 100bn standard cubic metres of gas by integrating various gas valorization projects in the country via a gathering and transportation system which is to be operational by 2020.
Johannesburg, 21 August 2019: To support growing energy cooperation and investment between China and Africa, the African Energy Chamber is organizing a working visit to Beijing next week.
Led by Executive Chairman Nj Ayuk, the delegation from the Chamber will be meeting with CEOs and Chairmen from China’s state-owned energy companies and the private sector, along with key industry associations in China. The visit aims at further introducing the Chamber to the Chinese market following a series of roadshows organized in China by the Chamber over the past two years and increasing demand for investment information on Africa by Chinese investors.
“The investment appetite of Chinese companies for Africa is only getting stronger given current international trade and business dynamics,” said Mickael Vogel, Director of Strategy at the Chamber. “We are receiving an increasing number of requests from Chinese companies to join the Chamber, especially to gain access to the latest investment opportunities in Africa, and to credible and reliable information on African energy markets. Our visit will be consolidating several relationships we have developed over the past two years and will lead to discussion on major energy deals for Africa.”
Last year, Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged an additional $60bn for African development over the next three years during the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation. Traditionally, a large majority of Chinese investments have been made in energy and transport, especially oil & gas, power, mining, railways and airport infrastructure.
As Chinese investment into Africa increases, the Chamber is assisting several Chinese companies in navigating Africa’s fast growing energy markets. The move is part of the Chamber’s support to a large and expanding base of investors seeking to do business in Africa, mostly from China, Russia, India the Middle East and Turkey.
Johannesburg, 20 August 2019: Equatorial Guinea made yet another step closer to becoming a gas hub for Africa today as it inaugurated the first LNG storage and regasification plant to be built on the West African coast. While West Africa is a major global exporter of gas from Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea, no import infrastructure had been installed until now to encourage the import and use of African gas within Africa itself.
The new plant is being built at the Port of Akonikien, on Equatorial Guinea’s mainland, by local contractor Elite Construcciones. With a storage capacity of 14,000 cubic metres in 12 bullet tanks, it is the first of its kind and allows LNG to be distributed on the mainland. Along with the storage and regasification infrastructure, Elite is also installing a truck loading station and 12km of gas and diesel pipelines.
Making the announcement during a visit in Kogo, at the border with Gabon, H.E. Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons, said the terminal is the first of many upcoming projects under the LNG2AFRICA initiative. “LNG2AFRICA has a clear objective of developing small-scale LNG projects to supply gas to countries and regions with limited infrastructure,” declared Minister Obiang Lima. “At a time when Africa’s large-scale LNG projects are making headlines, let’s remind ourselves that smaller-scale projects addressing the needs of energy-deficient regions provide opportunities to monetise our gas for our economies, and to mobilise our local companies around key infrastructure projects for the region.”
The Akonikien project is an example of a cost-efficient and clean energy solution to the energy needs of mainland Equatorial Guinea. Once stored and regasified, gas will be transported by trucks and pipelines to various industries such as power and cement. The project demonstrates the expertise that Equatorial Guinea has gained over decades in LNG and natural gas, which can now be used to not only benefit its mainland but also neighbouring West and Central African countries seeking to increase their use of natural gas for electricity and industries.
“We congratulate the Ministry of Mines and Hydrocarbons and Elite Construcciones on this remarkable achievement,” declared Nj Ayuk, Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber and CEO of Centurion Law Group, who advised on the project. “This is a beautiful example of local content development and world-class cooperation between a local company and international technical and technology partners.”
The project’s infrastructure notably includes the world’s largest factory-built cryogenic bullet tanks, built by US company Corban Energy Group. “Each tank alone will take about 12h to move the thousand metres from the port to the new plant,” explained Marisol Ovono Nchama, CEO of Elite Construcciones, main contractor on the project. “Elite Construcciones has worked closely with German companies Noorwerk and ESC on the design and construction of the plant, and we are all very proud to be part of this achievement and look forward to more LNG2AFRICA projects,” she added.
In April of this year, Equatorial Guinea had also signed the Definitive Agreements for the monetization of gas from its Alen Unit. Under the agreements, Atlas Oranto Petroleum, Noble Energy, Marathon Oil, Glencore and Guvnor, are investing close to $350 million on pooling supply from stranded gas fields in Equatorial Guinea and the Gulf of Guinea and replace declining output from the Alba field. The development of the Alen offshore gas hub was then the first step towards Equatorial Guinea’s vision to become a gas mega-hub for the sub-region by developing several offshore gas hubs to monetize neighboring gas reserves and develop downstream gas industries spurring industrial development and economic growth.
Beijing, July 2nd 2019: A team of attorneys from Centurion is in China this week to participate in the EG Ronda Licensing Roadshow being held today and tomorrow at the Kempinski Hotel Beijing. Led by CEO Nj Ayuk, the team is meeting with several high-profile Chinese executives and energy companies seeking to invest in sub-Saharan Africa.
The roadshow is organized by the African Energy Chamber on behalf of Equatorial Guinea’s Ministry of Mines and Hydrocarbons. With the biggest names amongst the Chinese energy companies attending, including companies such as CNPC, PowerChina Group, Sinopec, Sinochem, CNOOC, Shenergy, CMEC and China Minmetals Corp, Centurion has had the opportunity to discuss considerable deals in several African oil markets.
“Centurion’s presence in China for the EG Ronda Roadshow is a mark of our commitment not only to Equatorial Guinea, but to the promotion of Chinese investments across Africa,” declared Nj Ayuk from Beijing. “China is serious about investing in Africa, and Chinese investors and companies are looking for reliable African legal advisors and partners to efficiently do business in our continent. This represents billions of dollars of investment ready to support the development of the African oil industry.”
Centurion has always been at the forefront of channeling foreign investments into Africa’s oil & gas value chains. The firm has advised on the most recent PSCs being signed in the continent and continues to be part of landmark deals and projects in West and Eastern Africa. The firm has a specific desk dedicated to Chinese companies and investors, and has been increasingly working in diversifying the flow of investments coming into Africa’s extractive industries, working with new partners from Russia, Turkey and the Middle East.
Johannesburg, 21 August 2019: In what has become a remarkable month for exploration in Africa, a CNPC-led consortium has made a 300 million barrels of recoverable oil discovery in South Sudan’s northeastern Upper Nile state. It is almost as much as the Oyo Discovery announced earlier this month in Congo.
The exploration well was drilled at a total depth of 1,320m near the Adar oilfield in Block 3, operated by the Dar Petroleum Operating Company (DOPC), which includes CNPC, Petronas, Nilepet, Sinopec and Tri-Ocean Energy.
“This is a remarkable achievement for the country,” declared Nj Ayuk, Executive Chairman at the Chamber and CEO of the Centurion Law Group. “Since independence, South Sudan has worked tirelessly to bring back damaged fields to production, and especially encourage exploration. Their efforts to maintain peace and stability and a safe environment for investors has paid off. We have always believed that stability goes hand in hand with economic prosperity. Such a large discovery confirms the huge potential of South Sudan in oil & gas just before the country launches a new licensing round in October.”
South Sudan has signed earlier this year an exploration and production sharing agreement (EPSA) with South Africa’s Strategic Fuel Fund for the highly prospective Block B2. The move was part of South Sudan’s strategy to diversify its basket of investors and encourage further exploration.
While the country sits on over 3.5bn of proven oil reserves, the third largest in sub-Saharan Africa, 70% of its territory remains under-explored. To boost exploration, South Sudan will be launching a new and much-awaited petroleum licensing round at the upcoming Africa Oil & Power conference in Cape Town on October 9th, 2019.
Last week, a commercial court in the United Kingdom gave reason to a claim by engineering company Process and Industrial Developments Ltd (P&ID), which demands over USD$9 billion from the Nigerian government over a failed gas deal. The decision follows a 2017 arbitration award and turns it into a legal judgement, which could allow P&ID to seize Nigeria’s international commercial assets.
P&ID’s claim is based on a 2010 contract signed with the government of Nigeria for the construction and operation of a “gas processing plant to refine natural gas (“wet gas”) into lean gas that Nigeria would receive free of charge to power its national electric grid,” the company’s website states. Under the deal, the Nigerian government should have provided the necessary infrastructure and pipelines needed to supply gas to the plant. P&ID would build the plant for free and then operate it and commercialize the output for a period of 20 years.
The company claims that over this period it would have earned USD$6.6 billion in profit, an incredible figure that becomes ever more fantastic as the company claims that the yearly 7% interest it is supposedly charging on this capital has now accrued to USD$2.4 billion, at the rate of USD$1.2 million a day, which closes the full amount at a perfectly round USD$9 billion. The whole situation is in itself extremely puzzling. Afterall P&ID, a company created specifically for this project, is claiming it is entitled to the full amount of what it would have gained over a period of 20 years of work, even though that period would not be over for another decade and some. Further, it is already charging interests on capital it would, if the project went forward, it would still be a decade away from generating. On top of that, it has chosen to pursue the matter in a British court, and has a separate law suite in an American court, when the contract was signed in Nigeria, under Nigerian law, and should be pursued in a Nigerian court, as the Nigerian legal team has repeatedly stated.
Nigeria is seeking an appeal to the decision, but P&ID is not wasting any time in trying to seize Nigerian assets abroad, and it might well manage to do so, at least in part.
Further, P&ID has never even broken ground on the construction of this power plant, which it claims would have benefitted so many thousands of Nigerians. The company has reportedly spent USD$40 million on preparatory work, although it is impossible to attest what that work has been.
Even just looking to the amount spent, work done and compensation sought, the figures seem simply absurd. USD$9 billion corresponds to 20% of Nigeria’s foreign exchange reserves, it would be unthinkable that a nation state would pay that much capital to a small unknown enterprise that invested not but a small fraction of that amount in the country and done none of the contracted work. Further, it is perplexing that a British court would even consider such a decision.
However, this issue represents an important cautionary tale for African governments everywhere. Very few things matter more in the struggle to attract investment and build a favourable business environment that will push the economy forward than the absolute sanctity of the contracts signed.
Investors need to know that their investments are safe and that they will be protected by the law in case the other parties falter on their obligations, as it seems to have happened with the Nigerian government. It is by no means the first time a situation like this happens. Just in March, an international court ordered the Democratic Republic of Congo to pay South African DIG Oil Ltd USD$617 million for failing to honor two oil contracts. This is an unacceptable and unjustifiable loss of capital for the people of the DRC. Particularly taking into account that the loss is incurred because the country’s leaders failed to comply with a contract that could have brought a considerable amount of wealth for the country for many years to come, in both royalties and taxes, as well as help develop its oil industry.
Senegal’s government under President Macky Sall was very smart to avoid this kind of litigation when it was confronted with the issue of the Timis Corporation and its ownership of acreage that included the Tortue field, which is estimated to contain more than 15 tcf of discovered gas resources. If President Macky Sall would have proceeded with terminating a valid contract for the acreage, the Timis Corporation would have engaged in arbitration and would have probably gotten a favorable judgment against Senegal. In the process, the gas fields would have sat dormant and produced no returns for Senegal and its citizens. Sometimes leaders are confronted with tough choices and it takes a profile in courage to find solutions and still respect the sanctity of contracts.
Even with criticism from civil society groups, Equatorial Guinea has honored contracts with U.S. oil companies that many oil analysts believe are unfavorable to the state. This principle has kept Equatorial Guinea’s oil industry stable and US firms continue to invest in new projects like the EGLNG backfilling project with Noble, Atlas Oranto, Glencore Marathon and the state.
African leaders and African nations can not afford this sort of mistakes anymore. If on the one hand, contracts must be respected, protected and followed through, the people in charge of evaluating and signing those contracts must have the project’s feasibility as the dominant reasoning behind any decision. What is the purpose of signing contracts for fantastic projects where there is neither the capital nor the conditions to pull it through. Our economies live out of their reputation too. No investor wants to work in a system where contracts are not honored and where their investments are not protected.
While P&ID’s request for USD$9 billion in compensations seems absurd, companies that see the contracts they sign with African governments, or any governments, disrespected, must have the right to claim compensation, just in the same way that African leaders must be responsible for the contracts they sign and must make sure that situations like this do not repeat themselves. Enough money has been wasted on lawsuits that could be used to benefit the lives of Africans. This is true for the oil and gas industry and in any other industries.
Africa has considerable oil and gas resources that can help accelerate growth on the continent if used strategically. NJ Ayuk, Founder and CEO of Centurion Law Group wrote a book on the Future of African Energy breaking down what the continent should do to leverage the resources. He joins CNBC Africa for more.
By Onome Amawhe
A leading energy lawyer, NJ Ayuk has a keen understanding of the commercial objectives of his clients, which he uses to pursue successful outcomes vigorously. This African dude practises exclusively corporate and commercial law, particularly on transactions involving structuring, negotiation and implementation of petroleum, mining, LNG, and other natural resources. He has worked extensively in Equatorial Guinea, Ghana, Chad, South Sudan, Kenya, Uganda, Mozambique, Angola, Congo a…
Effective development of African countries without over dependence on oil.
The debate has been raising eyebrows in recent months. The issue was recently raised during the CEMAC extraordinary heads of states summit held in Chad.
In the following report, NJ Ayuk , an Energy lawyer and the CEO of Centurion Law Group take a look at how African countries can better manage their oil resources through special funds and investments. … READ MORE : http://www.africanews.com/2017/11/02/…
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In tonight’s edition: Nigeria’s president will work from home after being away from the country for three months. We also take a look at the management of natural resources on the continent and how an increasing number of Nigerians are in demand for organic food. Nigeria’s president has announced that he will be working from home for the next few months. Having just returned from a 100 day absence, questions are raised about Muhammadu Buhari’s health. There have long been calls for Africa to reshape its economic models by reducing its reliance on natural resources and diversify its economies. We hear from author N.J Ayuk who believes that much of that criticism is overly negative and shortsighted. And in Nigeria, the demand for organic produce is rocketing year on year. Many of those paying closer attention to the way their food is grown have become accustomed to the choices abroad and head back home to start their own business. http://www.france24.com/en/taxonomy/e…
Oil and gas industries represent the greater part of many African economies, yet they appear to contribute little to broader societal development. African lawyer and author NJ Ayuk joins us to discuss the ways African nations can properly manage their oil resources to promote economic prosperity.
Leading pan-African energy lawyer, NJ Ayuk, has recently launched his debut book – Big Barrels: African Oil and Gas and the Quest for Prosperity. Mr Ayuk is the managing partner of Centurion Law Group, a pan-African corporate law conglomerate which specialises in energy, extractive industries and the financial sector. His book has broken sales records since its launch and he is joining us in studio to tell us more.
Centurion Law Group is a pan-African corporate law conglomerate. Operating at the cutting edge of business practices today, Centurion stands ready to provide outsourced legal representation and a full suite of legal services to new, expanding and established corporations.
From our headquarters in Johannesburg, South Africa, and from our offices in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea; Accra, Ghana; and Douala, Cameroon, we specialise in assisting clients that are starting or growing a business on the continent. We navigate the regulatory environments of Africa’s different legal jurisdictions to make sure that you can do business efficiently and successfully.
Across Africa, Centurion provides a service tailored to your operating environment, the nature and structure of your business, your level of risk tolerance, and your overall objectives. Our alternative billing arrangements provide our clients with a greater degree of certainty about their legal costs.
Centurion is committed to the highest ethical standards and we recognize that our firm must take a leadership role in the legal profession in Africa. Wherever we work, we strive to be actively involved in business and community organizations and to maintain our visibility as lawyers and as members of our communities. Our personal and corporate charitable activities contribute meaningfully to our communities.
NJ Ayuk, CEO of Centurion Law Group, was an advocate for strong local content policies and creating an enabling environment for investors at Africa Oil & Power 2017 in Cape Town. Ayuk, a prominent voice in the pan-African legal profession, spoke on the Policy & Law Panel during the three-day conference in June.
Organized one day each year in Berlin, the Germany-Africa Business Forum (GABF) draws together African business, political and societal leaders with Germany’s preeminent companies and policymakers in order to forge stronger trade and investment ties. GABF aims at bringing together shrewd entrepreneurs, key opinion leaders and social influencers, CEO’s and selected politicians and non-governmental organizations to develop fresh commercial and social concepts that shape business, as well as economic thought and institutions.
The Oil & Gas Year, in partnership with the Ministry of Mines, Industry and Energy (MMIE) and Centurion Law Firm, conducted its fourth strategic roundtable for Equatorial Guinea in Malabo on Saturday May 21, 2016. The event was held at the Sofitel Sipopo hotel and golf course and was officially sponsored by Total and Lufthansa. Speakers attending the event included keynote speaker H. E. Gabriel Obiang Lima, the Minister of Mines, Industry and Energy; Martin-Crisanto Ebe Mba, chairman at BANGE; Mercedes Eworo Milam, director-general of Hydrocarbons at the Ministry of Mines, Industry and Energy; NJ Ayuk, CEO of Centurion Law Group; Frank Ene, president of RoyalGate; Francisco Ndong, deputy manager at G3 Oleo e Gas; Rosendo Machimbo, country manager at Weatherford and Olivier Sabrie, country manager at Total, with TOGY’s Ioana Marins and Catherine Hirst as moderators. The discussion, which was divided into two sessions, centred on developing a profitable, efficient oil and gas industry for the long-term. The first session discussed topics such as the partnership between the private sector and the government to encourage sustainable development in Equatorial Guinea, how the planned 2016 licensing round has been impacted by the drop in oil and gas prices and how everyone can co-ordinate to ensure that new and marginal prospects are developed in Equatorial Guinea. They also discussed how the 2014 national content regulation can foster the development of Equatoguinean companies, while also remaining attractive, transparent and consistent in the eyes of international companies. The second session revolved around developing a profitable, efficient oil and gas industry amid the price slump and the challenges as well as the opportunities this has brought for companies. In this time, they also discussed the progress of the downstream diversification vision PEGI 2020, and the continued focus on power generation and the development of the Bioko Oil Terminal. For more coverage on Equatorial Guinea’s oil and gas industry click here: http://www.theoilandgasyear.com/marke…
Centurion Law Group is a pan-African corporate law conglomerate. Operating at the cutting edge of business practices today, Centurion stands ready to provide outsourced legal representation and a full suite of legal services to new, expanding and established corporations. Learn about Centurion from our team of accomplished attorneys and advisors at our Malabo office.
JOHANNESBURG – Nigeria’s long-standing fight against gas flaring is showing progress, but its leaders must be strong enough to defend the future of the country and its citizens.
When, in November 2017, Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, the Nigerian Minister of State Petroleum Resources, stated in an interview with the Financial Times that Nigeria was “really a gas nation with some findings of oil”, it might have sounded strange to those used to hearing about the country as Africa’s biggest oil producer.
But Kachikwu absolutely hit the mark on that one. Nigeria is in fact a natural gas nation – it just hasn’t acted on it yet.
With an estimated 186 trillion standard cubic feet (SCF) (5.2 trillion cubic metres) of natural gas reserves, Nigeria is by far the biggest reserve holder on the continent, and could, if it made use of its resources, be the gas powerhouse of Africa.
Yet its natural gas sector remains underdeveloped. Despite all the existing potential for using natural gas for transportation, power generation and other uses, the country suffers from constant, chronic and crippling power outages.
Businesses and citizens suffer from a lack of electricity, which hinders economic development.
The most flagrant of these lost opportunities though, lies not in the gas reserves that remain undeveloped, but in the associated gas being produced and flared.
Not only is this a missed opportunity, but considerable damage is also being done to the environment and to Nigeria’s coffers. According to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), the country lost around $710million (R8.4billion) in 2016 due to flaring of an astonishing 244.8 billion SCF of natural gas.
Nigeria is the seventh-largest natural gas-flaring country in the world. It is estimated that these resources could sustain power generation of 3.5GW, which, if materialised, would almost double Nigeria’s generation capacity.
The Nigerian economy cannot afford such losses, and recent campaigns to block the practice have had significant results.
NNPC claims that between 2006 and 2016, it managed to cut down gas flaring from 36percent to 10percent. This makes for encouraging news, but subsequent reports indicate that continued progress is not assured and is even reversible.
For instance, August 2017 saw a 2percent increase in Nigerian gas production being flared from 10percent in July. This setback raises questions about the NNPC’s capacity to implement the government’s plans for restrictions on gas flaring.
That is no small matter. Nigeria’s financial woes are no secret. Over the past 40 years, with billions of dollars flowing into the national coffers from oil export earnings, successive Nigerian leaders have failed to promote infrastructural development, address poverty issues or impose economic diversification. As a result, Nigeria is still today a net importer of refined oil, despite being the continent’s biggest producer of crude oil, and suffers from chronic energy shortages.
It remains extremely exposed to commodity price variations. This paradox has become even more evident since 2014, when the price of crude oil collapsed.
Nigeria is an oil country per excellence, with crude composing 90percent of export earnings and 70percent of the national budget, but would benefit much from becoming a gas country. Just by harnessing the gas that is produced and flared, it could significantly address the fact that 75 million Nigerians remain without access to electricity.
The Ministry of Petroleum estimates investment opportunities in the natural gas value chain amount to over $50bn, and yet the sector remains underdeveloped.
Leading by example
With so many opportunities missed throughout the years, it has become more imperative that political leaders take into their hands the development of other economic sectors, at a time when crude oil fails to fill the coffers.
Nigerian officials are finally recognising that its natural gas reserves constitute one of the biggest lost opportunities for economic development in the country, and gas flaring represents the biggest flagrant waste.
In 2015, Nigeria joined the World Bank-led Global Gas Flaring Reduction Partnership (GGFR) in the “Zero Routine Flaring by 20130” initiative, which aims at putting a stop to the routine flaring of 5 trillion SCF of natural gas globally every year. On a global scale, this activity causes the emission of 300 million tons of carbon dioxide per year, and could be used to produce 750 billion kilowatt hours of electricity, enough to power the whole of Africa.
Nigeria is one of 24 nations endorsing the programme, but it stepped up its game by setting its own zero-gas flaring goal deadline a full decade before the GGFR by 2020. It has also committed to forbid any new oil wells from flaring natural gas.
Nigeria can also learn strategies and policy ideas from its neighbours that have prioritised gas monetisation, like Equatorial Guinea which is on the cutting edge of gas monetisation, boasting a global reputation for cutting out gas flaring and implementing gas-focused projects.
The country’s land-based Punta Europa LNG is one of the fastest-built LNG trains in history and the costs for the complex have already been recovered. The country is close to finalising the Fortuna FLNG, the first deep-water FLNG project in Africa. Certainly, Equatorial Guinea has established itself as a strong exporter of gas on the global stage, and Nigeria can learn from its example.
Carrot and stick
In 2017, the Buhari administration announced the introduction of the “National Gas Flaring Commercialisation Programme”, an initiative that will find solutions to use the resources to power the nation, rather than pollute it. The plan will reward companies that are compliant with zero flaring policies while harnessing that power to use for cooking, power generation and industrial use.
The government estimates that the programme will create 36000 direct and 200000 jobs. All of this is brilliant news for a problem that has lasted for far longer than it should have. However, the programme remains without an official launch date, and policy approval has proved to rarely be enough to fix problems in Nigeria. After all, in Nigeria natural gas flaring is completely forbidden.
Oil and gas companies are regularly fined for flaring gas. The problem is that those fines are extremely low – N10 (R0.33) per thousand cubic feet of gas flared. The motivation for operators to invest in reducing their carbon footprint is minimal.
The realisation of the failure of the penalty system is no novelty either. In 2008, the department of petroleum resources had already tried to raise the value of the fines to try to push operators to act.
Instead, oil and gas companies in the country opposed the move and the policy change fell through. Now the topic is up for debate again. The government’s new national gas policy, currently under discussion, is proposing to raise the penalty up to N420 per thousand cubic feet.
But beyond the fines themselves, the Ministry of Petroleum, through the NNPC, has to have the means to impose these regulations.
According to the NNPC’s reports, oil and gas companies have accumulated over $14 billion in gas flaring fines between 2008 and 2016 that are yet to be paid. On top of that, Nigeria loses millions in carbon credits because of the practice.
The compound economic impact of gas flaring is enormous, but so is its social and environmental relevance.
Many communities have decried the health problems that exposure to flared natural gas has caused, leading to several reported deaths, particularly in the Niger Delta.
The environmental impact of the practice affects any business in the vicinity that is dependent on the environment, like fishing or agriculture.
The neglect of these populations over the years has further strengthened the social divide that so often gives rise to violence in the region.
The government alone cannot change it all. Development must be led by investors in the private sector, so businesses can be created to make use of this wasted resource.
However, it is up to the state to remove the many bottlenecks and restrictions that have hampered the development of the natural gas sector for years, and it is up to official institutions to not only develop, but, above all, implement anti-gas flaring policies.
It is imperative to act quickly and decisively. While present efforts are laudable, it is hardly the first time political leaders have tried and failed at addressing this issue. The first Nigerian policy against gas flaring goes back as far as the 1970s.
We are running out of time not only to save the environment, but also to take part in the growing global natural gas sector, as discoveries elsewhere progressively dwarf the relevance of Nigeria in the market. The Nigerian economy cannot afford any further waste.
NJ Ayuk is a leading energy lawyer and a strong advocate for African entrepreneurs, A Global Shaper with the World Economic Forum, one of Forbes’s Top 10 Most Influential Men in Africa in 2015, and a well-known deal-maker in the petroleum and power sectors. He is the founder and chief executive of the Centurion Law Group. João Gaspar Marques is an energy analyst and a seasoned Africa specialist with in-the-field reporting experience from Africa’s petroleum hotspots.
The views expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the Independent Group.
– BUSINESS REPORT
Vision for Africa
For an Africa that serves its people and provides them with jobs and opportunities, we need to be better at empowering the next generations, embracing our diversity...
By the Fall of 2019, NJ is releasing his new and second book, "Billions at Play: the Future of African Energy". The book will set a new foundation to discuss major issues facing Africa's energy sector.