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Africa Energy Update

The latest news on legal and regulatory developments in Africa's energy sector with perspectives from our offices in New York, Washington and London. Our second Africa energy update focuses on West Africa, home to major oil and gas reserves, power projects and a nascent renewable energy scene. Future updates will focus on other regions as we seek to provide clients and contacts doing business in Africa with current updates on what is a fast-changing market.

Bracewell Alerts and Publications 

Electrifying Africa: A view from Washington 

Energy Legal Blog®. 9 February 2015
As Western governments continue—and rightfully so—to focus on the threats to African nations from the Ebola virus and Boko Haram, policymakers are also eyeing the continent as a critical producer and consumer of energy in the 21st century.

Risks and Rewards: Doing Business in Africa and Anti-Bribery Laws

Energy Legal Blog®. 9 February 2015
Understanding the risks associated with local corruption, and how to comply with anti-bribery laws such as the UK Bribery Act the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), has become a necessary aspect of doing business internationally.

The Gabonese Farm-out Market: Ripe For The Picking

Energy Legal Blog®. 9 February 2015
The Gabonese oil and gas industry shifted into "full steam ahead" mode in 2014. Confronted with over a decade of falling oil production, Gabon has decided to actively engage with the industry that still accounts for 80-90% of its total export earnings.

Moni Pulo: Consents in Nigerian Upstream M&A

Energy Legal Blog®. 9 February 2015
The recent Moni Pulo decision of the Nigerian High Court has changed the settled understanding of when Ministerial consent is required in Nigerian upstream M&A deals. This article considers the consequences of that court decision, the effects seen in recently completed transactions, and the implications when structuring acquisitions/disposals of Nigerian upstream interests.

West Africa: A Role For Off-grid Renewable Energy?

Energy Legal Blog®. 9 February 2015
West Africa is a land of opportunity, home to some of the richest oil and mineral resources in the world.  The rush for the region's oil, gold, iron and other commodities has driven economic growth at a faster rate than anywhere else in Africa.

Nigerian Local Content Update

Energy Legal Blog®. 10 February 2015
As we reported earlier last year, the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development Act 2010 (the "Local Content Act") was enacted to enhance local content in the oil and gas industry and its central aims of  developing indigenous skills across the value chain, promoting indigenous ownership of assets and use of indigenous assets, promoting the establishment of support industries and creating customised training and sustainable employment opportunities currently seem to be well on track.

events

Join us in Abuja at the Nigeria Oil & Gas Conference & Exhibition!  We invite you to connect with Bracewell attorneys Martin Stewart-Smith, Rob Allan and Adam Blythe.

Round TablesBracewell hosts regular breakfast roundtable discussions for energy companies, financiers and advisers to share thoughts and experiences on getting deals done in emerging markets. If you would like to sign up to receive invitations, please click here.

In the news

Oil and Gas

Nigeria oil bill unlikely to pass before Feb election - finance min

Reuters. 18 November 2014
Nigeria's long-awaited Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) is unlikely to be voted on by parliament before a general election due in February, the finance minister said on Tuesday.

Offshore Liberia bid round completed. Results expected soon

OffshoreEnergyToday.com.  18 November 2014
The National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL) has announced the closing of the Liberia Basin competitive bid round, as of 14 November 2014.

Eni awarded three-year exploration extension at Block15/06 offshore Angola

Oil & Gas Technology. 19 January 2015
Eni has obtained a three-year extension from the Angolan authorities to the exploration period of the prolific Block 15/06, located in Angola’s offshore, approximately 350 kilometres north-west of the capital Luanda and 130 kilometres east of Soyo town.

Guinea to launch bidding round for offshore oil blocks

Reuters.  9 February 2015
Guinea aims to launch a bidding round for up to 25 offshore oil blocks this year, the country's minerals minister said on Monday, as the country seeks to lure investment.

Power and Renewables 

Ghana Prepares for Nuclear Energy Program

Voice of America. 18 December 2014
Ghana is set to become the second country in Africa to introduce nuclear energy after South Africa. This follows the International Atomic Energy Agency approval of Ghana's application after decades of negotiation. The project could have a large impact on Ghana's power shortfall and raises questions about what safety protocols are in place.

ECG to be privatized in 2015, as Ghana loses 2 to 5% of GDP to power shortages

Ghana Business News.  18 December 2014
The Government is considering its options towards the privatisation of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) by the middle of 2015.

Mr Frank Ocran, Chairman of the Stakeholders Consultation Committee on Energy, who announced this in Accra, on Wednesday, said the move follows Ghana’s qualification to receive $500 million under the Compact Two of the Millennium Development Account to help turn the energy sector around.

Sierra Leone government forms two new power utilities

African Review. 12 January 2015
Sierra Leone has "unbundled" various electricity providers and integrated them to form two entities titled the Electricity Generation and Transmission Company (EGCT) and the Electricity Distribution and Supply Company (EDSA)

72MW project to boost Cameroon's growing PV pipeline

PVTech. 27 January 2015
The African Development Bank is to back a 72MW PV project in Cameroon, pushing the country's solar pipeline close to 200MW.

The AfDB's Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa is to release a US$770,000 grant to JCM Greenquest Solar Corporation to develop plans for what would be the Central African country's first independent power producer (IPP) renewable energy project.

Ghana power crisis to hurt gold output if prolonged -chamber of mines

Reuters. 5 February 2015
Ghana's power crisis, which has seen long electric cuts on a nearly daily basis, will hurt gold production if it is prolonged, the chief executive of country's Chamber of Mines, Sulemanu Koney, told Reuters on Thursday.

General 

Ghana's Mahama to Fight 'Institutionalized' Graft With New Bills

Bloomberg Business.  8 December 2014
Ghana is introducing "numerous" measures to reduce corruption while cabinet ministers will be urged to deal with civil servants guilty of embezzlement, President John Dramani Mahama said.

State Department Quietly Releases Fiscal Transparency Report

U.S. News & World Report. 6 February 2015
President Barack Obama released his federal budget this week to much publicity, analysis and politicking. But before the federal budget was the release of the State Department's annual Fiscal Transparency Report, a document that analyzes budget transparency of governments that receive U.S. assistance — and reveals that certain countries still receive aid from the U.S. even though they don't meet fiscal transparency requirements.

Nigeria Delayed Election Compounds Misery for Stocks, Naira

Bloomberg Business.  8 February 2015
It looks like it's going to get worse for investors in Nigeria before it gets any better. 

The country's stock index is the worst performer in the world this year, while its currency has declined 17 percent in the past six months to an all-time low. Both, along with government bonds, are set to weaken more after Nigeria delayed elections, according to banks and brokers including Renaissance Capital and Standard Chartered Plc.

awards

The 310MW Lake Turkana Wind Power project was presented the African Renewables Deal of the Year 2014 at the 2014 Project Finance International Awards Dinner on 4 February. Bracewell & Giuliani’s London-based energy team was involved in the project on behalf of Vestas Eastern Africa Limited.

OUR TEAM

Our Africa team is comprised of leading lawyers exclusively dedicated to the energy sector, making us unique in the market. We have shared our experiences to develop an offering which we believe is unique and better for clients. When you work with us you know the entire team is immersed in your industry.

Our oil and gas experience includes advising on all segments of the industry, from upstream exploration and production, to midstream pipelines, transportation and storage, including LNG, and downstream refining and marketing.

Our experience in the power industry includes acting on some of the world’s largest and most innovative conventional power projects and also comprises deep knowledge of the renewables sector, including solar, wind, hydro and thermal.