The Helmet Feeds Stay updated with every news article on your favorite constrcution news site. http://the-helmet.com/ http://the-helmet.com/news/Finance/2015/02/19/East_Africa:_New_Levy_On_Imports_to_Finance_Regional_Projects East Africa: New Levy On Imports to Finance Regional Projects Port Tax

(Rwanda) - The government has approved a draft law that seeks to impose a new levy on goods imported from outside the East African Community (EAC) in order to collect funds needed for regional infrastructure projects.

The draft law establishing the Infrastructure Development Levy on imported goods was approved by last week's Cabinet meeting.

According to the proposed law, all imported goods (from outside EAC), except those exempted under the law, are subject to a levy of 1.5 per cent on the customs value of imported goods.

The government says the levy "is intended to mobilise funds for regional infrastructure projects that will assist in improving the infrastructure and reduce the cost of transport and the cost of doing business in the region."

The regional infrastructure projects to be funded include the railway and energy networking infrastructure such as electricity grids and oil pipelines, which are being pursued under the Northern Corridor Integration Projects initiative.

"To run these big projects, countries need huge financing. With the view to overcome this problem, EAC Heads of State introduced the idea to establish a levy on imports from outside the bloc to finance the projects," a Cabinet paper, a copy of which The New Times has seen, reads in part.

The draft law approved by the Cabinet says the levy on goods imported will be collected at Customs points by Rwanda Revenue Authority in accordance with the customs legislation and deposited into a sub account of the Treasury.

Although the draft law is yet to be tabled in Parliament, the plan to impose the levy is already being touted by government officials as a sure source of funds to finance ambitious infrastructure projects.

 

Tea Leaves PickersA good source of funds

The State Minister for Transport, Dr Alexis Nzahabwanimana, told The New Times that the levy will be a good source of funds to build the Rwandan side of the railway of the Northern Corridor whose feasibility study is set to be completed in July.

"We are mobilising funds from different sources, including the infrastructure development levy," he said.

If passed by Parliament in its current form, goods to be exempted under the new law would include those imported while they were made or tax exempted from within the EAC, fertilisers and seeds, live animals, medicine and pharmaceutical products.

Goods such as medical equipment, mosquito nets, industrial machinery and equipment for energy and water sectors, as well as for investment projects with investment certificates are also exempted from the levy.

The 1.5 per cent infrastructure development levy on goods imported outside EAC was agreed on by EAC ministers of finance during consultations last year.

If Rwanda starts imposing the levy, it would be following the example of Kenya and Uganda, who are already implementing the policy, while Burundi and Tanzania are still consulting before they start imposing the levy.

 

Experts root for the levyRwandan Currency

Experts say the levy on imported goods from outside the EAC will help government to both get the money it needs for infrastructure in the short-term, while also easing the cost of doing business in the long-term.

"In the short-term people may immediately feel the pinch from paying the levy but the long term benefit is to reduce the cost of transport and of doing business," said Frobisher Mugambwa, a Kigali-based senior tax manager at PricewaterhouseCoopers, a global services advisory firm.

Angello Musinguzi, a tax manager at KPMG, a global network of professional firms providing audit and advisory in tax services, agrees that imposing the levy may provide government with the money needed to build infrastructure, which the private entrepreneurs need to ease their business.

"Importers will transfer the cost of the levy to the end-consumers but it's definitely going to help government get funds to invest in the (infrastructure) projects," Musinguzi said.

 

Source: The New Times

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http://the-helmet.com/news/Finance/2015/02/19/East_Africa:_New_Levy_On_Imports_to_Finance_Regional_Projects Thu, 19 Feb 2015 23:03:29 -0600
http://the-helmet.com/news/General/2015/02/19/Cuba_to_Expand_Construction_Collaboration_in_South_Africa Cuba to Expand Construction Collaboration in South Africa Construction Site

Cape Town, Feb 19 (Prensa Latina) The Cuban collaboration in the construction sector is moving quickly and should double this year in South Africa, engineer Luis Cantero, national coordinator of the office of the Caribbean Union Business Companies (Uneca), stated .

"About 30 engineers and architects distributed in four of the country's nine provinces (Mpumalanga, Free State, Western Cape and Limpopo)" are currently working in this African nation, Cantero said in an interview with Prensa Latina.

For example, in Western Cape, specifically Cape Town, there are nine experts who should end their work in 2015. "They have supervised the construction of houses for the poorest sectors during the four years working here."

Those working in Mpumalanga, Limpopo and Free State, whose authorities shortly traveled to Cuba, are doing similar work, he said.Construction Site

The government of Free State, where eight Cuban engineers are inspecting the works, "contracted for the coming fiscal year of South Africa (starting in April) another 40 engineers, mainly civilians, to be allocated in 20 municipalities of that territory."

The future collaborators will strengthen the work on the base, the control of constructions and quality, Cantero noted.

The Uneca office coordinator stated that the Cuban engineers and architects enjoy a high prestige within the South African people and among the provincial and municipal governments.

Source: Prensa Latina

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http://the-helmet.com/news/General/2015/02/19/Cuba_to_Expand_Construction_Collaboration_in_South_Africa Thu, 19 Feb 2015 21:10:31 -0600
http://the-helmet.com/news/Energy/2015/02/19/Mainstream_Renewable_Power_launches_USD1.9bn_pan-African_renewable_energy_platform Mainstream Renewable Power launches USD1.9bn pan-African renewable energy platform Solar Plant

Global wind and solar company Mainstream Renewable Power has announced the launch of a pan-African renewable energy generation platform,

Lekela Power, which it has formed along with Actis, the global pan-emerging market private equity firm.

Mainstream and Actis have already formed two successful partnerships in South Africa and Chile.

Lekela Power will operate in a similar fashion to the existing partnerships with Mainstream, taking responsibility for the full end-to-end management of the projects.

This includes: site identification, project development, construction management as well as the operations and maintenance of plants.

"We are delighted to be working on our third collaboration with our financial partner Actis, which once again draws on Mainstream's world- class portfolio of wind and solar projects and our track record delivering them into commercial operation on time and on budget," said Barry Lynch Mainstream's managing director, onshore procurement, construction and operations.

"In addition to Mainstream's extensive portfolio of projects in South Africa, we are also developing projects in Ghana as well as pursuing exciting opportunities in other parts of Africa."

Commenting on Lekela, Lucy Heintz, partner, head of renewable rnergy at Actis, said: "With soaring demand and funding constraints, Africa's need for renewable energy is pressing.

In South Africa for example, currently 95% of the country's electricity is generated by coal-fired power stations.

Solar Power Plant


While the region has significant natural and fossil fuel resources a lack of long-term investment has led to a reliance on emergency and short-term diesel generation."

Last week Mainstream announced financial close and the start of construction for three wind farms in South Africa which will form the core of the Lekela platform.

The projects, which have a combined capacity of 360 megawatts, are located in the country's Northern Cape and were awarded to Mainstream as part of the Government's Renewable Energy Procurement Programme.

They are expected to reach commercial operation beginning in 2016.

Mainstream also has a pipeline of other projects across Africa which will transfer to the Lekela platform at financial close including the 225 megawatt Ayitepa wind project in Ghana.

Source: Renewable Energy Focus

 

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http://the-helmet.com/news/Energy/2015/02/19/Mainstream_Renewable_Power_launches_USD1.9bn_pan-African_renewable_energy_platform Thu, 19 Feb 2015 04:35:51 -0600
http://the-helmet.com/news/Civil_Works/2015/02/18/South_Africa:_Plans_to_develop_Gas_Import_Infrastructure_for_Power_Needs South Africa: Plans to develop Gas Import Infrastructure for Power Needs South Africa Gas

(Bloomberg) -- South Africa plans to build the infrastructure to import natural gas to supply electric turbines as the country deals with a shortage of power, the Department of Energy said.

“We have very limited gas infrastructure” and need to develop it for imports, Wolsey Barnard, acting director-general for the department, told reporters at a Johannesburg conference Tuesday. Implementation will take place over the next 24 to 30 months, he said.

State-owned Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd. is struggling to meet power demand and has been spending $1 billion a month on diesel fuel to run peak-use turbines around the clock. The government has directed the utility that supplies about 95 percent of power to the continent’s second-biggest economy to switch to gas as a source of energy for its generators because of the high cost of diesel, President Jacob Zuma said last week.

The procurement process for 2,400 megawatts of new gas-fired generation will commence in the first quarter of the new financial year that starts April 1, Zuma said. State-owned oil company PetroSA is also considering gas-import terminals, Ebrahim Takolia, chief executive officer of the South African Oil and Gas Alliance, said in a panel discussion at the conference. “Importation is a good way to develop the local market.”

 

Karoo ShaleRoyal Dutch Shell

Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Falcon Oil & Gas Ltd. are among companies applying to explore South Africa’s semi-desert Karoo region that may hold as much as 390 trillion cubic feet of shale gas.

South African and Mozambican state-owned investment companies have joined with SacOil Holding Ltd. to study a $6 billion pipeline from a natural-gas field off the northern coast of Mozambique, the such find in a decade, SacOil said in December.

The field being developed off Cabo Delgado province by Anadarko Petroleum Corp. and Eni SpA could make Mozambique the largest exporter of liquefied natural gas after Qatar and Australia, with deliveries targeted from 2018.

Sasol Ltd., the Johannesburg-based company that’s the world’s biggest producer of motor fuel from coal, obtains gas from Mozambique’s Pande and Temane fields through a 865-kilometer (536-mile) pipeline to its synthetic-fuels plant in Secunda and is studying further fields in adjacent concessions.

Source: Paul Burkhardt/Bloomberg

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http://the-helmet.com/news/Civil_Works/2015/02/18/South_Africa:_Plans_to_develop_Gas_Import_Infrastructure_for_Power_Needs Wed, 18 Feb 2015 08:38:51 -0600
http://the-helmet.com/news/Energy/2015/02/06/Opinion:_Mahama_Interventions_in_the_power_sector_in_Ghana_is_historic_but... Opinion: Mahama Interventions in the power sector in Ghana is historic but... Akosombo Dam

Dr. Kwame Nkrumah's industrial revolution in Ghana required an essential ingredient of growth, electricity generation. Hence, the construction of the Akosombo Dam to produce the needed electricity to spark the country's "economic independence."

He inaugurated the 588 Mega Watts (MW) Akosombo power plant on 22nd January, 1966. About 60% of which was purchased by Valco for its smelter.

But subsequently, the Acheampong's administration increased the capacity to 912MW by adding two more turbines.This satisfied the country's electricity requirement until Dr. Hilla Limann undertook the construction of the 160MW Kpong Hydropower facility to complement the Akosombo Dam but which was later commissioned by then PNDC Chairman, J. J. Rawlings.

Kpong Dam

As the economy of the country started picking up in the 1990s coupled with the increasing population growth and rapid urbanisation as well as the embarking on massive rural electrification, the sole dependent on the hydro-based power system was apparently proven to be insufficient.

Therefore the need to diversify the electricity generation mix by successive governments became even more imperative.The first NDC government led by J. J. Rawlings took a bold step to diversify our electricity generation sources. The then government therefore strategised towards thermal sources of electricity generation at Aboadze.

The regime constructed the 550MW thermal power plant ending the one-way generation of electricity in Ghana, the highest generation of electricity in Ghana after the building of the Akosombo Dam by Dr. Kwame Nkrumah.

By the close of the year 2000, Ghana had a total installed electricity capacity of about 1,622 MW.

It is imperative to point out that the NPP government's flagship investment in the energy sector was the Bui Dam Project with a capacity of 400 MW.

Ghana's cocoa was used as collateral to secure the loan facility from China to finance it.Bui Dam

But this project was finally executed by Prof. Mills of blessed memory and was recently commissioned by president John Dramani Mahama.

Retrofitting works were carried out and additional turbines were also added by the Kufuor-led administration to the Akosombo Dam, boosting its generation capacity which now stands at 1,020MW.

However, many energy experts questioned the rationale behind retrospective policy of investing into Bui Hydro Dam which has only a peak load capacity (emergency plant now).

Erratic rainfall patterns due to climate change and increasing reservoir evaporation have threatened the viability of hydro sources of electricity.

Frantic efforts were made by the late president, Prof. John Evans Atta Mills, to reduce the electricity deficit in the country.

Under his stewardship, vigorous expansion work was undertaken at the Aboadze Thermal Plant.

He initiated the T3 project of 132MW in 2010 which was eventually commissioned by President Mahama in 2013.

The project was financed by Canadian government loan advanced to Ghana. JM subsequently commissioned the 2MW Navrongo Solar and 400MW of Bui Hydro Power Plant. This collectively constitutes a total generation capacity of 534 megawatts.

Despite, these increases in the installed electric power capacity, Ghana's electricity demand is also increasing disproportionately at a rate of about 12% yearly.

For instance, the demand is growing from the 2012 peak of 1,728.9 Megawatts as compared to 1,942.9MW in 2013. Subsequently, the peak demand in 2011 was 1,664.3MW from the demand of 1,505.9MW in 2010 representing a 10.52 percentage demand increase.

Therefore; the supply side management became a big issue for subsequent governments to deal with if the current power deficit (dumsor, dumsor) was to be averted.

The country at the moment has the installed capacity of 2,845MW, but the available or dependable generation capacity is 1650MW.
While the needed generation capacity (current demand) is 2050 megawatts.

The country is therefore experiencing generation deficit of about 400MW to 600MW depending of the prevailing circumstances such as availability of feed (gas), level of the hydro dams and periodic maintenance schedules of the installed thermal plants.

But some governments could not appreciate the impact of the increasing demand poses for the country and act accordingly.

Ghana GasFrom 1982 to 2000, a total of capacity of 710MW was installed comprising Kpong GS Hydro 160, TAPCo Thermal/CC 330 and TICo Thermal/CC 220. While from 2001 to 2008 only MRP Thermal/CC (80MW) was installed.

However, from 2009 to date, a total of 1,033.5 megawatts including; TT1PP Thermal/CC (125MW), TT2PP Thermal/CC (49.5MW) and SAP Thermal/CC (200MW) all in 2010, CENIT Thermal/CC (125MW) in 2012.

The year 2013 had huge addition of 534MW with the following interventions: 132MW of T3 Thermal/CC, 2MW solar in Navrongo and 400 MW of Bui Hydro.

Notwithstanding these attempts by the successive governments, the country is still far from achieving power sufficiency.

For the current load shedding to be addressed, strategic interventions and investments are needed in the energy sector. The JM's government has therefore left no stone unturned in attempt to nip it in the bud.

As an interim measure, the government led by the minister of energy has deployed emergency power ship systems to Ghana. These power ship systems are expected to commence commercial operations in the 1st and 2nd Quarters of 2015 aims at generating a total of 225 MW altogether.

Also, the ongoing 110MW expansion work on the TICO plant, the Kpone Thermal Power Plant's Unit 1& 2 (220MW) and 25MW from Trojan Power are all expected to complete this year.

All these will bring to fruition the target of 355 MW to our installed generation capacity by the end of 2015. This will definitely reduce drastically the intensity of the load shedding as currently being experienced in the country.

As part of the government's strategic vision to eradicate the energy crisis completely in Ghana, JM-led administration has also considered diversifying the country's generation mix further as a long term measure to include coal-fired power plants.

To this end, the enabling environment has been created for GENSA-Chirano Mines to establish a small 30MW coal power plant with a maximum generation capacity of up to 90MW which is due to be commissioned soon.

Probably, the most far-reaching decision taken by this government is the partnership deal struck between Volta River Authority(VRA) and Shenzhen Energy Group, the parent company of Sunon Asogli, to develop a total of 1200MW of coal-fired power plant.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) of which has already been signed and it is expected to complete in 2018. It is the cheapest source of energy that can spare us the needed accelerated economic growth.

Approvals of the legislature and cabinet for the constructions of 350MW and 360MW by Cenpower and Jacobsen Electro respectively have also been given.

The Vice President, Kwesi Amissah Arthur, has already cut the sod on 29th January,2015 for the commencement of its construction at Kpone in Grater-Accra Region.

The ceremony has paved way for CEN Power to invest a whopping sum of 900 million dollar towards the realisation of the 350MW power plant. These important interventions are expected to commence soon and due for commercial operations in 2017.

Furthermore, the construction of about 1,000MW by the General Electric (GE) is in the pipeline. The first phase of up to 360MW is proposed to complete by the last quarter of 2016.

Thankfully, the CEO, Jeffrey R. Immelt, arrived in Ghana on 27th January, 2015 to finalise the agreement with the government. It is my hope that his meeting with the president would be fruitful.

If this intervention by the government is finalised, the General Electric will add about 300 megawatts of electricity to the national grid by the end of 2016 and the second phase will be adding about 700MW. Bringing it to a total of 1,000MW by the end of 2018.

It is refreshing that $1 billion power project is positioned in the Western Region making it the hub of thermal electricity generation in Ghana.

On 27th January, 2015, the government took another bold step with Sankofa project agreement for the development of gas with the potential to produce about 1,100MW of electricity.

The Minister of Energy and Petroleum under the auspices of the President signed this agreement at the Peduase Lodge. It is projected that the project will come to fruition in 2017 and will deliver up to 170 million standard cubic feet of gas daily up to 20 year period.

It is expected that, more gas will come on stream from these newly discovered oil fields such as Tweneboa-Enyenra-Ntomme (TEN) to augment our ever increasing demand for gas.

These oil fields have associated gas estimated to add 1.15 trillion cubic feet over the production period. This implies more gas for the powering of our thermal plants. The constant supply of gas would assure the Independent Power Producers (IPPs) and stimulate the needed investment in the power sector.

The link between this resource to overcoming the electricity generation challenges in the country is instructive.

That is where the General Electric comes in handy. As alluded to by President John Mahama, the TEN project has the potential of producing gas that can generate about 1,100 megawatts of electricity that could be utilised by the General Electric Company.

Another ambitious intervention after the Akosombo dam that generates 1,020 MW. I dare say the largest of its kind ever on the soil of Africa in the power sub-sector.

It is clear by these initiatives that the president has made good of his promise to create the enabling environment for the needed investments in the energy sector.

 

President John Mahama Inspects a power project in Ghana

One of the disincentives to attracting Independent Power Producers(IPPs) to generate electricity as mentioned earlier is inadequate supply of gas from Nigeria.

Hence, many investors in the power sector were waiting patiently to see how the country would resolve the erratic supply of gas. Happily, the successful completion of the gas infrastructure has allayed this concern and more thermal plants may be constructed by these IPPs to bridge the generation deficit in the foreseeable future.

The Ghana Gas Infrastructure Plant is critical as it brightens the prospects of the electricity generation in Ghana. The huge investment by this government into the successful completion of the Gas Processing Plant at Atuabo deserves commendation.

The announced commercial commissioning of the plant by the first quarter of 2015 is therefore a welcome piece of news. It would guarantee us constant and regular supply of gas to power the thermal plants at Aboadze.

The gas from the Jubilee fields is projected to peak at 120 million standard cubic feet daily. Currently, Ghana Gas Company is ever ready to deliver the needed gas to VAR at Aboadze.

One of the serious challenges in the value chain of the power sub-sector is the ECG's inability to collect revenue and to minimise the distribution losses.

The ECG's system losses is about 22% which is still above the international benchmark of 15%. To address the challenges in the distribution, generation and access to energy in the country, the government led by President John Mahama recently signed the Millennium Challenge Compact (MCC) of $498 million in the USA.

The primary intent of the compact is to reform the distribution sector and ensure that the IPPs can have confidence for prompt payments from the off-takers, ECG and NEDCo.

Improving customer service is the cornerstone of this major initiative by the government. The compact is therefore to assist the utility companies meet current electricity needs and upgrade infrastructure to reduce outages and improve service.

The first tranche of 308.2 million would be made available to the Electricity Company of Ghana to put it on sustainable operations.

Another enviable intervention by the current government is in the area of renewable energy. Subsequent to the Gazette and publication of the Feed-in-Tariffs, the Energy Commission has issued a total of 3,907MW of Provisional Licences to thirty-seven (37) to Independent Power Producers. Out of this, a total capacity of over 2000MW will be generated from solar farms.

If this laudable intervention is zealously implemented, the target of increasing the renewable energy by 10% in the generation mix will be achievable. Renewable energy is green sources of electricity generation with a minimum operating expenditure.

However, the tax regime on the solar panels should be looked at again in order to bring down the initial capital expenditure.

President John Mahama - President of the Republic of Ghana

All these bold interventions and policies initiated by the government have given the boost towards averting the impending energy crisis in the country.

It is envisaged that when these projects are matured, the government's avowed generation target of 5,000MW will also be achieved as stipulated.

These are the realities on the ground that will bear fruits sooner than later. With these bold interventions by the government, there will be constant supply of electricity in the near future.

As far as I am concerned as an energy analyst, no government in the recent history of Ghana had the benefit of these landmark interventions.

The lasting solution to this perennial electricity crisis is nigh. It is my candid opinion that the president Mahama's interventions in the energy sector within this short period of time are unprecedented and historic.

Source: Alhaji Mustapha Iddrisu, Energy Analyst / GhanaWeb

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http://the-helmet.com/news/Energy/2015/02/06/Opinion:_Mahama_Interventions_in_the_power_sector_in_Ghana_is_historic_but... Fri, 06 Feb 2015 04:09:36 -0600
http://the-helmet.com/news/Energy/2015/02/03/Rwanda_to_officially_open_first_utility-scale_solar_field_in_East_Africa Rwanda to officially open first utility-scale solar field in East Africa Bird's Eye View

Rwanda's Minister of Infrastructure, James Musoni, and the Chief of Staff of the U.S. Government's Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), John Morton, will lead the ribbon-cutting on Thursday, February 5, at 12:30pm of the 8.5 Megawatt solar field at the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village, and will be joined by international representatives of the partners that developed the landmark $23.7 million project.


The Rwanda field brought together an international consortium of financing partners. Debt was provided by FMO (Netherlands Development Finance Company) and the London-based EAIF (Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund); mezzanine debt provided by Norfund (The Norwegian Investment Fund for Developing Countries); equity from Scatec Solar ASA (who also served as EPC contractor and serves as O&M provider), Norfund and KLP Norfund Investments (a vehicle jointly owned by KLP, the largest pension fund in Norway, and Norfund). Grants were received from the United States Government via OPIC's ACEF (Africa Clean Energy Finance) grant and from Finland's EEP (Energy and Environment Partnership). Norton Rose Fulbright from London served as international legal counsel.

"Top quality developers like Gigawatt Global are the keys to success for President Obama's Power Africa Initiative (OPIC)," said Elizabeth Littlefield, President and CEO of OPIC. "After OPIC provided critical early-stage support through the ACEF program, Gigawatt smoothly and swiftly brought the project online to give Rwanda enough grid-connected power to supply 15,000 homes. Gigawatt Global in Rwanda is a clear demonstration that solar will be a key part of Africa's energy solution. "

Chaim Motzen, Gigawatt Global Co-Founder and Managing Director, and the main force behind the development of the project stated, "Our project proves the viability of financing and building large-scale solar fields in sub-Saharan Africa, and that this initiative serves as a catalyst for many more sustainable energy projects in the region." 

He continued, "Throughout the process, we had the full cooperation of the Rwandan government and its agencies, and we are looking forward to bringing additional sustainable energy solutions to more African and developing countries."
The Rwandan project is built on land owned by the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village, whose mission is to care for Rwanda's most vulnerable children orphaned before and after the Rwandan genocide.

The village is leasing land to house the solar facility, the fees from which will help pay for a portion of the Village's charitable expenses. Gigawatt Global will also be providing training on solar power to students of the Liquidnet High School on the grounds of the Youth Village.


"The people of Rwanda should be proud to host the first utility-scale solar power plant in East Africa, and we hope that the pioneering spirit of Rwandan authorities may serve as an inspiration to other countries in the region.

The ASYV project will be an important source of clean and reliable electricity for the next 20 years and beyond, and we are proud of having made this possible in cooperation with our partners Gigawatt and Norfund," said Torstein Berntsen, Executive Vice President of Scatec Solar ASA.


Gigawatt Global's 8.5 MW solar field in Rwanda is the first Power Africa project of its size to reach completion since the launch of the Initiative by President Obama in July 2013.

 

Source: Gigawatt Global

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http://the-helmet.com/news/Energy/2015/02/03/Rwanda_to_officially_open_first_utility-scale_solar_field_in_East_Africa Tue, 03 Feb 2015 16:03:20 -0600
http://the-helmet.com/news/Energy/2015/01/30/South_Africa:_Could_politically_connected_elites_profit_from_power_outages South Africa: Could politically connected elites profit from power outages ESKOM

On Monday, ESKOM, the largest South African power utility, began implementing its second round of “managed” blackouts this year, cutting 2,000 megawatts from its grid because it could not meet demand.

Tshediso Matona, ESKOM’s chief executive, has warned about the possibility of a total collapse of the power grid.

South Africa’s political elites are profiting from the crisis by awarding themselves massive contracts related to the construction of new power stations. In particular, a company directed by the wife of African National Congress (ANC) Secretary General Gwede Mantashe received a R639 billion ($55 million) contract for providing food to workers at the construction sites of the new Medupi and Kusile power plants.

The Sunday Times reported that the Kusile contract was awarded on October 1, 2013 to RoyalMnandi Duduza, part of the politically connected Bidvest group of which Nolwandle Mantashe, is a director. The five-year contract is worth R639 million, one of the largest ever sums for catering.

Another, worth R787 million, was awarded to Lephalale Site Services for catering at Medupi in Limpopo and expires this month. Then a new contract, “likely to push catering costs closer to R2 billion,” kicks in.

The Times, sister publication of the Sunday Times, reports that Nolwandle is also chief executive of Tamorah Resources, “a new company hoping to secure contracts to supply coal to ESKOM.”

In response to criticism over the impropriety of the awarding of the RoyalMnandi contract, she said, “I do not rely on political connections to do business but on capable black and white people.”

At a meeting of businessmen earlier in January, Matona was quoted as saying that “one unexpected event at any of ESKOM’s power stations could push the country to the total failure of the national electricity system” that could take weeks to resolve. ESKOM spokesman Andrew Etzinger said that Matona had been “misinterpreted” because of incorrect grammar.

Construction at Medupi and Kusile was announced after rolling blackouts began in 2005. Chancellor House Holdings, an ANC investment vehicle, owned 25 percent of the chosen boiler supplier, Hitachi Power Africa. Boiler construction and software were subcontracted after Hitachi's welding on boilers and its software failed tests.

The Public Protector probed the company’s ESKOM contract, not least because Valli Moosa, then ESKOM chairman, is a senior ANC member. The inquiry concluded that Moosa, now Anglo American Platinum chair, “failed to manage the conflict of interests,” and Hitachi could not guarantee that the ruling ANC would not benefit from the R50 million profit it stood to make through its Chancellor House stake.

Medupi is set to generate its first power this year—18 months behind schedule and at an estimated cost of R154 billion, more than twice the R69 billion originally projected.

Costs at Kusile have ballooned to R172 billion from an initially budgeted R80 billion.
The ANC called on ESKOM to “fast-track” construction at the two new power stations after the collapse of a coal silo at the utility’s Majuba facility in Mpumalanga led to rolling blackouts amid heavy rains in early December.

A year ago ESKOM was forced to ask major industrial clients including SABMiller, BHP Billiton and Glencore Xstrata to temporarily cut consumption by at least 10 percent to ease strain on the national grid. Irregular electricity supply is often cited as a reason for the spate of reviews and downgrades of public and private South African debt by international credit rating agencies.Power Grid Lines

Construction at Kusile ran behind schedule partly because of delays in the signing of a coal supply contract with Anglo American Inyosi Coal. Former ESKOM CE Brian Dames said in 2013 this was because powerful interests wanted ESKOM to sign a contract with a company that was black-controlled. As it is, Inyosi Coal is only 27 percent black-owned, by a consortium that includes Lithemba Investments and Pamodzi Investment Holdings, in which among others, former Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, have been involved.

Matona, the current ESKOM CE, attracted widespread ire with his remarks that the country, but not ESKOM, was “in crisis.”
At the Lethabo power plant which burns coal like most ESKOM power stations, the ash system failed. The plant effectively choked on its own waste, worsening the blackouts in December.

According to a clinic in the area, more people have shown signs of respiratory problems. Yet the Department of Environmental Services of the ANC government that appointed Matona, was not even aware of the dense cloud of toxic ash settling over the area.

In the run-up to the 2010 world soccer tournament, according to Matona, the government would not allow ESKOM to shut down plants for routine maintenance. With the 2009 general election adding pressure, ESKOM ran its existing plants at full tilt to keep the lights on at all costs, leading to more frequent breakdowns. “We are paying the price of these decisions,” Matona said. “That’s why we’re in the situation we’re in now.”

ESKOM warned as early as the first administration of former President Thabo Mbeki(1999-2004) that new investment in generating capacity was needed. Hoping to break up and privatise the utility, however, the neoliberals surrounding Mbeki ignored the advice until it was too late.

Mpumalanga, home province of Kusile, is like Limpopo, has also forked over to politically-connected businesses. Last March City Press reported that the newspaper was in possession of “copies of bank statements that show R39.8 million was paid to celebrity event planner Carol Bouwer in the space of a week.”

Bouwer’s company, which did not bid competitively for the job, was tasked by Mpumalanga Provincial Director-General Nonhlanhla Mkhize with organising memorial events following the death of former president Nelson Mandela on December 5, 2013.

This outlay took place with the full connivance of provincial Premier David Mabuza. As a result, City Press reported, “Mpumalanga’s government... shifted R70 million from six of its departments' service delivery budgets to cover employee salaries...” The affected departments included social welfare services, public works and finance.

 

Source: Thabo Seseane Jr./WSWS

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http://the-helmet.com/news/Energy/2015/01/30/South_Africa:_Could_politically_connected_elites_profit_from_power_outages Fri, 30 Jan 2015 05:54:50 -0600
http://the-helmet.com/news/Civil_Works/2015/01/30/Maritime:_Ghana_to_expand_port_infrastructure Maritime: Ghana to expand port infrastructure Tema Port

Port authorities in the West African states must act together to explore the full potential of the region's maritime industry to enable them compete in the global economy, Richard Anamoo, Director-General of the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA), has said.

According to him, there is the need to enhance trade and investment opportunities for ports infrastructure development considering the growth in traffic and increase in imports.

Anamoo said that the management of the ports has been fraught with many challenges including terrorism, pirating, the challenge of trade facilitation, among other and that it will take partnerships to be able to stand the test of time.

He urged the banks to form a syndicate that could pool their resources to finance high-yielding but huge investments, like port infrastructure projects.

Currently no bank in Ghana could solely provide the needed credit facilities for needed port expansion.

He indicated that his outfit always falls on foreign banks to finance its projects, because locals do not have the capacity to lend.

Anamoo indicated that Public-Private Partnership (PPP) was very necessary to the development of ports’ capacity in Africa.

He said PPP was needed for capacity expansion in infrastructure, superstructure, communication infrastructure, human capacity development and hinterland access infrastructure.

GPHA is proposing a single window system to help reduce the congestion at the ports.

Tema Port

According the GPHA, there are too many government agencies operating currently at the ports which contribute to the delays in the clearing of the goods. 

Anamoo also mentioned that seaports are part of a country’s supply chain and their efficiency is a measure of the country’s logistics connectivity index.

“That is why seaports have been described variously as the “gateways” of a country’s international trade and the “lungs” of a country’s economy,” adding that Seaports play strategic roles in the socio-economic development of all nations and that landlocked country depend on seaports for their development.

 

Source: Aiswarya Lakshmi/Marine Link

 

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http://the-helmet.com/news/Civil_Works/2015/01/30/Maritime:_Ghana_to_expand_port_infrastructure Fri, 30 Jan 2015 05:02:40 -0600
http://the-helmet.com/news/General/2015/01/30/Oxford_Business_Group_Partners_GIPC_for_The_Report_-_Ghana_Edition_2015 Oxford Business Group Partners GIPC for The Report - Ghana Edition 2015

The global publishing, research and consultancy firm Oxford Business Group (OBG) shined the spotlight on the country’s oil and gas industry, charting its infrastructure development, which includes the new Atuabo Gas Processing Plant.

The publication also looks at shifts in industry trends, including a move to up the emphasis on downstream products, following heavy investment in refining capacity, as well as Ghana’s push to boost local participation.

OBG’s latest report contains a contribution from President John Dramani Mahama, together with a detailed, sector-by-sector guide for investors.

It also features a wide range of interviews with leading representatives, including the Deputy Minister of Finance Mona Helen K Quartey, the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources Nii Osah Mills, the CEO of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) Mawuena Trebarh and the Governor of the Bank of Ghana Kofi Wampah.

International personalities, including the US Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, the Regional Director for Sub-Saharan Africa and the Sahel at the German Federal Foreign Office Georg Wilfried Schmidt and the President of the African Development Bank Donald Kaberuka also give their views on Ghana’s development.

The Report: Ghana 2014 maps out the country’s efforts to expand and diversify its electricity supply, while considering the role earmarked for the Power Africa initiative in tapping investment for the sector.

There is also extensive coverage of the country’s mining industry, which, despite a difficult 2014, remains a key contributor to the economy.

With a modernisation drive under way, OBG’s latest report highlights Ghana’s efforts to breathe new life into its agricultural sector, which remains dominated by cocoa.

The publication also mulls the macroeconomic challenges Ghana faces, led by fiscal deficits, inflation and a weaker currency, while analysing the boost that support from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) could help in galvanising a recovery.

Andrew Jeffreys, OBG’s CEO, agreed that while the Group’s report on Ghana had highlighted several macroeconomic issues which needed addressing, the country should remain a draw for investors.

“Ghana’s position as a major regional upstream producer is now firmly established, while fresh finds may well prove significant,” he said. “With a new gas processing plant in place providing feedstock and boosting efficiency, and other sectors, such as ICT, ripe for expansion, all signs are that Ghana will continue to notch up steady growth, even as its economic base shifts somewhat.”

Managing Editor Robert Tashima said that while Ghana’s fiscal situation was undoubtedly challenging and had been exacerbated by softening prices for key exports, a number of the economy’s underlying aspects remained strong. “If current spending can be brought under control and secondary activity increased – which should be manageable once the gas infrastructure is up and running – then the medium-term outlook is bullish,” he said.

The Report: Ghana 2015 will look in detail at the reforms which the government is implementing in a bid to improve the country’s budgetary position and attract new investment.

It will also outline the infrastructure projects earmarked for development, which are expected to be instrumental in boosting GDP growth.

The Ghana Investment Promotion Center (GIPC) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on research with OBG for its forthcoming report on the country’s economy.

Under the MOU, which marks a fourth year of collaboration, OBG will have access to the centre’s resources to compile The Report: Ghana 2015.

Mawuenah Trebarh, GIPC’s CEO, said that OBG’s reports on Ghana had quickly become recognised as a trusted source of economic intelligence, serving as a valuable tool for investors both locally and on a global platform.

“As we prepare to build new linkages and support growth for Ghanaian businesses in the long term, we look forward to continued collaboration with OBG,” she said.

OBG’s Editorial Manager Matt Johnson added that Ghana’s plans for reforms would be well received by investors, while its commitment to reducing the budget deficit to 3.5% of GDP by 2017 had been noted by the IMF.

“Ghana’s economic outlook is positive, despite the challenges it faces, while the administration’s plans to invest in transport and utility infrastructure and encourage industrial expansion should benefit long-term growth,” he said.

“The GIPC is a major player in Ghana’s push to attract foreign investors to the country and support local business development in key areas, such as electricity infrastructure. I am delighted that its team and Ghana’s business community will once again share their local knowledge with us as we begin work on The Report: Ghana 2015.”

The Report: Ghana 2015 will be a vital guide to the many facets of the country, including its macroeconomics, infrastructure, banking and other sectoral developments.

It will also contain a range of interviews with leading representatives and personalities. The publication will be available in print or online.

 

Source: SpyGhana

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http://the-helmet.com/news/General/2015/01/30/Oxford_Business_Group_Partners_GIPC_for_The_Report_-_Ghana_Edition_2015 Fri, 30 Jan 2015 04:46:58 -0600
http://the-helmet.com/news/Civil_Works/2015/01/17/Ghana:_Development_of_40-Acre_Logistics_Park_Commences Ghana: Development of 40-Acre Logistics Park Commences

Mr Kweku Ricketts-Hagan, Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, on Thursday broke the ground for the construction of a standard International Logistics Park on a 40-acre land in the Tema Port Free Trade Zone enclave.

The construction, spearheaded by the Agility Group, a leading global logistics and logistical infrastructure provider, would improve logistics efficiency, reduce cost, facilitate raw material procurement and improve on business services processing.

It would also provide a comprehensive approach to inventory management, handling, packaging, storage, distribution, and other practices in the supply chain enterprise.

Mr Ricketts-Hagan said the Agility Group, which started as a local warehousing provider in Kuwait, had grown to become one of the world’s largest integrated logistics providers with over 20,000 employees and operations in 100 countries.Kweku Ricketts Hagan

He said the investment would strategically position and link Ghanaian businesses to the global market in the wake of increasing customer dynamics and supply chain complexities.

“As the enterprise of logistics parks evolve and expand, development through collaboration and networking becomes increasingly important to impel creativity and sustain long-term attractiveness and competitiveness,” he said.

The Minister said an International Logistics Park provided direct access to global transport networks and enabled direct transhipment of large volumes of goods without the need for long winding intermediary operations.

He said an efficiently functioning International Logistics Park was intrinsically reliant on a well-developed public-private collaboration.

“As a result of the partnership, the Ministry is working to develop a Logistics Services Market Policy that would address co-ordination failures and identify logistics constituencies for reform”.

He said the policy would aim to establish an efficient logistics service delivery with particular focus on small and medium enterprises through an integrated approach with convergence on infrastructure and public-private services.

He entreated the Agility Group and all other stakeholders in the sector to proactively engage the Ministry through the Logistics and Value Chain and the Trade Facilitation Directorates to deliver on the overriding intent of the Logistics Policy.

Mr Geoffrey White, Chief Executive Officer of Agility Group, Africa, said the first phase of the park would be completed and operational in the last quarter of 2015, and would include 100,000 square meters of bonded and non-bonded warehouses with ancillary services.

“By providing much needed import and export routes in and out of Africa, Agility Distribution Parks will help companies operate in Africa with the reliable, modern and secure infrastructure they need to grow their business,” he said.

Mr White said Agility Distribution Parks focused on providing undisturbed power, IT connectivity and security for tenants, creating an international platform from which companies could efficiently operate their businesses.

Ghana is an attractive location to launch the network of new Agility Distribution Parks because of her long term stable and transparent government, fast growing Gross Domestic Product and increasing prominence as a regional commercial hub in West Africa, he said.

GNA

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http://the-helmet.com/news/Civil_Works/2015/01/17/Ghana:_Development_of_40-Acre_Logistics_Park_Commences Sat, 17 Jan 2015 17:03:32 -0600
http://the-helmet.com/news/Projects/2015/01/15/_Ghana:_20-million-Euro_water_project_for_Central_Region Ghana: 20-million-Euro water project for Central Region water project

President John Dramani Mahama on Tuesday cut the sod for the construction of a 20 million Euro water supply project at Abrem Agona in the Komenda-Edina-Eguafo-Abrem (KEEA) Municipality of the Central Region.

Known as the Cape Coast Water Supply Project, it is expected to benefit about 400,000 people in the Municipality and the Cape Coast Metropolis and other districtswhen completed by December 2016.

It is being funded with a Dutch Government grant under the Ghana-Netherlands Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Programme, and will be constructed byEngineers and contractors from Netherlands.

Addressing a durbar of chiefs and people of beneficiary communities, President Mahama said the project was intended to bring the much expected relief to the peopleof Cape Coast and its environs from water crisis caused when water in the Brimsu dam fell below required level.

The project is primarily to interconnect the Sekyere Hemang and Brimsu water systems thereby allowing 4.4 million gallons of treated water daily from Sekyere Hemang to be supplied to the other clear water wells at Brimsu.

It would then be supplied to areas such as Cape Coast, Moree, Abura, Mpeasem, Brimsu Road, Kwaprow, Apewosika, Amamoma, Kwesi Pra, New Ebu, Abakrampa, YesuNkwa, Bronyibima Estate Annex, Sanka, New Abina/SSNIT, Yayakwano, Jukwa and surrounding areas.

The project will also include the construction of pipelines, pump stations and reservoirs, to strengthen the distribution network.

President Mahama stated that though the region was noted for its tourist attraction, such as mining, agriculture and most especially renowned educational intuitions, it would not function effectively without water, thus the need for project.

He said the Government was committed to its aim of increasing water supply all over the country due to the crucial role water played in development and urged beneficiary communities to use the water wisely and report faults promptly.

He commended the Paramount Chief of the Edina Traditional Area, Nana Kodwo Konduah IV, for his active participation in the National Sanitation Day Campaign and urged other traditional leaders to front the campaign in their various areas to boost participation.

Mr. Hans Docter, Netherlands Ambassador to Ghana, said the Region was chosen because his government believed tourism could drive the development of the Region and therefore would help strengthen the infrastructure development to help business activities.

He said though the project was the last being funded by their government, it was not the end of its collaboration with Ghana as it was shifting its focus to other areas.

He assured that the Netherland constructors in charge of the project would finish it on time and called for collaboration from stakeholders.

Alhaji Collins Dawda, Minster for Water Resources, Works and Housing, called on traditional leaders and land owners to stop the disputes that arose when pipe lines were passed through their lands for their own benefits.

The Central Regional Minister, Mr. Aquinas Tawiah Quansah, gave the assurance that the project will not stall at a point and called on traditional leaders to unite to foster the development of their respective communities.

Nana Kyiriwiah Kodie, Paramount Chief of the Abrem Traditional area, appealed for the construction of the Effutu- Agona and other Road networks in the area, which were in very deplorable state and inhibiting transportation of farm produce resulting in huge post-harvest loses.

He also appealed for the expansion of the Abrem Agona Health Post to enhance healthcare delivery and end the numerous referrals to hospitals in other areas which sometimes resulted in deaths of loved ones.

 

Source: GNA/Businessghana

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http://the-helmet.com/news/Projects/2015/01/15/_Ghana:_20-million-Euro_water_project_for_Central_Region Thu, 15 Jan 2015 10:43:59 -0600
http://the-helmet.com/news/Energy/2015/01/15/Oil:_BP_to_cut_North_Sea_jobs_amidst_oil_price_plummet Oil: BP to cut North Sea jobs amidst oil price plummet BP oil

LONDON - BP will cut hundreds of jobs in the North Sea to reduce costs in one of the world's most expensive exploration areas as oil prices fall.

The BBC quoted sources as saying staff cuts would be announced later on Thursday in the Scottish city ofAberdeen.

An industry source confirmed the report, saying cuts would amount to hundreds of jobs.

The headcount reduction comes as part of a previously announced $1 billion restructuring at BP aimed at simplifying the company's structure after it sold billions of

dollars of assets.

Oil prices have collapsed over the last six months, dropping almost 60 percent as a global glut has overwhelmed demand at a time of lacklustre world economic

growth.

North Sea Brent crude oil was trading around $47.50 a barrel on Thursday, down from more than $115 last June.

Fellow North Sea oil producer ConocoPhillips is also cutting 230 jobs in Britain, with its UK workforce expected to drop to just over 1,400 by March, a spokeswoman said.

Rival oil majors Royal Dutch Shell and Chevron announced job cuts in the North Sea last year.

On Thursday, Africa-focused oil producer Tullow Oil said it had written off $2.3 billion in relation to exploration work and some of its assets including in the Norwegian part of the North Sea.

BP employs 4,000 in the North Sea and another 11,000 across the UK.

Britain's North Sea oil and gas sector employs over 400,000 people and has brought more than $200 billion in tax revenues to the government, making it a vital part of Britain's economy.

News of job cuts in the sector have stirred concern among the country's politicians gearing up for parliamentary elections in May.

"The government is determined to do everything we can to work with industry to make sure we can maintain those jobs," British Energy Secretary Edward Davey, due to visit industry representatives in Aberdeen on Thursday,

told BBC radio.

Fergus Ewing, Scottish minister for business, energy and tourism, said the Scottish government had set up a task force to see that could be done.

"In order to prevent the premature decommissioning of fields there needs to be a clear signal sent to the operators, many of whom are headquartered in places like Houston and Calgary, that the UK government gets it," Ewing,

a member of the Scottish National Party, told BBC radio.

"The UK needs to send a signal that it values the industry as an enormous contributor to Scotland and the UK, not as a giant cash machine for the exchequer when the times are good."

 

Source:moneyweb.co.za

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http://the-helmet.com/news/Energy/2015/01/15/Oil:_BP_to_cut_North_Sea_jobs_amidst_oil_price_plummet Thu, 15 Jan 2015 10:33:23 -0600
http://the-helmet.com/news/Energy/2015/01/15/_Kenya:_Fuel_prices_dip Kenya: Fuel prices dip The new price cap released by the Energy Regulatory Commission ( ERC) yesterday will see for the first time in four years prices for super petrol quoted below the Sh100 mark.

In Nairobi, super petrol will retail at Sh92.88 per litre and diesel and kerosene at Sh83.35 and Sh65.59 per litre, respectively. At the port city of Mombasa, consumers will pay Sh89.57 for super petrol, Sh80.06 for diesel and

Sh62.84 per litre of kerosene, the lowest in the country.

 

Gas pumps

However, Wajir, Loboi, Mandera, and Lokichogio, consumers will pay between Sh100.32 and Sh106.69 per litre. Reacting to the new prices, consumer lobby group Consumers Federation of Kenya (Cofek) dismissed it as a

deceptive public relations exercise on the part of the ERC.

“We do not accept the latest prices as fair representation of the would-be, actual pricing,” said Stephen Mutoro, Secretary General, Cofek. He said even when weighed against the prevailing weaker shilling and fixed taxes, the

usual excuse of time lag between purchase and actual landing is unconvincing.

“There is no proper reason as to why consumers should not pay less than Sh85 per litre of super petrol in Nairobi,” he said adding that the so-called ERC formula is out of date with reality. “It has too many absolute and fixed

value inputs including non-scientific margins for wholesale and retail oil marketing companies (OMCs).”

“It is time the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum accepted that the ERC’s anti-free market economy practice of fuel price fixing is an orchestration of fraud and a clear injustice on hapless consumers,” he said.

ERC said the cuts are the lowest since the commission was instituted four years ago and it expects the prices to come down further in the coming months.

International crude oil prices have been on a downward trend since July last year falling by a cumulative 57 per cent to trade at near six-year lows $46.59 a barrel as at yesterday’s close of trading. However, motorists have not

been pleased with the slow drop of fuel prices, which does not seem to reflect the halving of international crude oil prices.

“We are trying to ensure that the fall in international pump prices trickles down to motorists and electricity consumers,” stated Eng Joseph Nganga, director general of the ERC during the press briefing.

Time-lag

This has led to a drop in the cumulative landing cost of super petrol by 39.5 per cent with diesel falling by 36.7 per cent and kerosene by 33 per cent. The ERC, however, says that the fall in the landing cost excludes other

costs including taxes and levies, distribution costs and supplier margins, which have remained constant.

“It is erroneous to use the fall in international crude oil prices to project a commensurate fall in pump prices because the products we have locally are refined petroleum prices and many factors are in play which lead to final

pump price,” said Nganga.

“The taxes, levies, gross margins for oil companies and distribution charges are fixed and do not change, so the price change is only a factor of the drop in 60 per cent of the product cost.”

In addition to this, the petroleum selling in the market has a 30-45 day time-lag hence it is not justifiable to expect drastic month-on-month price cuts.

ERC further states that the weakening shilling has also hurt the price of imported petroleum products. The Kenya shilling has weakened to a three-year low on the back of a slump in the country’s tourism sector and jitters in the

securities market over the re-introduction of the capital gains tax.

“When these factors are considered, the cumulative reduction in the calculated pump price of super petrol over the past six months thus becomes 20.3 per cent, with diesel at 22.2 per cent and kerosene standing at 22.9 per

cent,” explains Eng Nganga.


Source: spyghana

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http://the-helmet.com/news/Energy/2015/01/15/_Kenya:_Fuel_prices_dip Thu, 15 Jan 2015 10:24:58 -0600
http://the-helmet.com/news/Energy/2015/01/15/Ghana:_Revision_of_Oil_Revenue_Targets_for_2015_budget_in_the_offing Ghana: Revision of Oil Revenue Targets for 2015 budget in the offing Budget cut

Ghana is considering scenarios for its budget where oil falls to as low as $40 per barrel and may cut spending to prevent its budget deficit from ballooning, a Ministry of

Finance official said.

The price of crude will average $60 to $75 a barrel this year, Joseph Kwadwo Asenso, the head of energy, oil and gas at the ministry, said by phone today. The

government is considering spending cuts and raising revenue from other sources to maintain the budget deficit target of 6.5 percent of gross domestic product for 2015,

Asenso said.

The drop in crude threatens an economy already struggling with chronic power outages and inflation that has remained above 10 percent for more than two years. Last

year’s economy probably expanded less than previously forecast because of the energy shortage and currency, the statistical service said yesterday. GDP will rise 3.9

percent this year, near the 4.2 percent forecast for last year, the agency said.

Ghana currently produces approximately 100,000 barrels a day from its Jubilee oil field operated by Tullow Oil Plc. (TLW) Minister of Finance Seth Terkper presented a budget in November that targets 4.2 billion cedis ($1.3

billion) in oil revenue with an average price of $99.38 per barrel for this year.

Brent crude has dropped 56 percent in past year to $47.51 per barrel at 11:22 a.m. in London.

 


Source: bloomberg.com

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http://the-helmet.com/news/Energy/2015/01/15/Ghana:_Revision_of_Oil_Revenue_Targets_for_2015_budget_in_the_offing Thu, 15 Jan 2015 09:59:53 -0600
http://the-helmet.com/news/Energy/2015/01/15/World_Oil_prices_to_drop_further World Oil prices to drop further Oil rig

The price of Brent fell by $2.24 to a near-six-year low of $45.19.

Oil traders are betting that crude prices will hit a 20-year low of $20 a barrel as prices fell again yesterday and as Gulf producers stood firm on their plan to turn the

screws on shale drillers in the United States.

According to Nymex, the New York exchange, the number of contracts or options to sell US crude at $20 in June has jumped from close to zero at the beginning of the

year to 13 million barrels of oil.

The data shows how the outlook for prices has deteriorated in a month. At the beginning of December, the most bearish move was the quadrupling of the number of

options to sell 880,000 barrels of US crude at $40 for December 2015 in the space of a fortnight. That indicated traders believed that prices would bottom out just

below $40 by the end of the year — yet prices have nearly reached that level already.

Yesterday, the price of Brent, the international benchmark for crude, fell by $2.24 to a near-six-year low of $45.19 and traded below West Texas Intermediate, the

American benchmark, for the first time since July 2013. Analysts said that the discount on Brent reflected Europe’s weakening economy and expectations that the US ban on crude exports, in place since the oil crisis of the

1970s, would be loosened.

Because of the export ban, the US shale oil boom created a domestic glut of crude that resulted in WTI being heavily discounted against Brent. The discount averaged $6.64 last year. This month the Obama administration

finally bowed to pressure from politicians and the industry to relax some restrictions on exports.

Prices slumped again yesterday after the United Arab Emirates, a close ally of Saudi Arabia, ruled out a production cut by Opec. Suhail bin Mohammed al-Mazrouei, the UAE’s energy minister, urged non-Opec producers to

cut output instead.

In November, Opec, led by the Saudis and its Gulf allies, blocked moves to cut production to prop up prices, which have slumped by 60 per cent from $115 in June last year. The Saudis want to drive prices lower to force rival

producers, such as American shale oil companies, which need $80 oil to break even, to scale back on their drilling.

Mr al-Mazrouei showed no sign of backing down over the price war, even though oil prices remain in headlong retreat.

“The strategy will not change,” he said. “We are telling the market and other producers that they need to be rational and, like Opec, they need to look at growth in the international market for oil and need to cater that additional

production to that growth”.

He also warned that it “will take some time” for prices to stabilise.

Iran attacked at the Saudis’ stance, warning that the countries behind the oil price collapse would regret it. President Rouhani said in a speech broadcast on state television: “Those that have planned to decrease the prices

against other countries, will regret this decision.

“If Iran suffers from the drop in oil prices, know that other oil-producing countries, such as Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, will suffer more than Iran.”

• A Saudi billionaire who is one of the world’s biggest corporate investors has claimed that oil prices will never hit $100 a barrel again.

Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, a senior member of the ruling house of Saud and a leading investor in companies including News Corp, the owner of News UK, which publishes The Times, said that the oil price above $100 had

been “artificial”.

“If supply stays where it is, and demand remains weak, you better believe it is gonna go down more,” Prince Alwaleed said in an interview with Maria Bartiromo, of Fox Business Network, in USA Today. “But if some supply is

taken off the market, and there’s some growth in demand, prices may go up.”

He added that the price war triggered by Saudi Arabia, which is refusing to cut production to ease the global glut, was “prudent, smart and shrewd”.


Source: ghanaweb

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http://the-helmet.com/news/Energy/2015/01/15/World_Oil_prices_to_drop_further Thu, 15 Jan 2015 09:44:09 -0600