by Tom Collins
Exploration data suggests that Tanzania’s Rukwa Basin could hold large reserves of helium, a natural resource whose price has risen considerably in recent decades. Tom Collins considers the significance of the finds.
Roaming across the Tanzanian plains on safari some six years ago, it dawned on two Australian geologists that Tanzania could hold world-class helium reserves.
Looking at local research done by a British geologist in the 1950s, an unusually high concentration of helium in the country’s naturally occurring gas seeps was a strong indication that large primary deposits lay under the ground.
While the global supply of helium had comfortably outweighed the demand, this revelation gathered dust in the Tanzanian archives in the absence of any commercial justification for further exploration.
Now global supply is under threat, with the commodity surging around 500% in the past fifteen years, Helium One – the company eventually created by the Australian geologists – announced from early analysis data that Tanzania could hold as much as 98.9 billion cubic feet (bcf): enough to make the East African nation one of the world’s top producers
Aside from the large quantity, Tanzania’s south western Rukwa basin – where the helium seeps are located – is also relatively unique in the concentration of helium it produces.
Professor Jon Gluyas, Director of Durham University’s Energy Institute, who conducted research on Tanzania in conjunction with Oxford University and Helium One, argues that the helium concentration in Tanzania is “getting on for a world record.”
While most helium is produced with very low percentages as a by-product of natural gas, helium in the Rukwa basin is found attached to the carrier-gas nitrogen and takes up a much greater share of that compound.
The percentage of helium found in Qatar – a heavyweight of helium production along with the US – stands at around 0.4% relative to methane, whereas concentration in Tanzania falls at around 10% relative to nitrogen.
Added to the 98.9 bcf potential – which towers over the yearly global supply of only 6 bcf – Josh Bluett, Helium One’s Technical Director, firmly believes that “this will be the largest primary helium project in the world.”
Helium One, in fact, are moving relatively quickly towards production after the pre-exploration phase was aided by extensive seismic data collected as a result of drilling by US oil company Amoco who came through the Rukwa basin in the 1980s looking for oil or gas.
Bluett states that the company is now “drill ready” after raising $2m from Australian, Asian and African investors last year, and procuring three licenses from the government.
“The next stage is to conduct the drilling program and the expectation is to make one or more helium discoveries in these reservoirs,” he says. “All going to plan we will be in that phase next year and hopefully moving to production by 2021.”
image source: African Business
When Helium One comes online, provided of course the drilling stage confirms previous estimates, the production looks set to shock the global market.
Helium is a crucial component in a number of instruments including MRI scanners, telescopes and radiation monitors as well as spacecraft.
The supply has been dwindling slowly over the years with around 75% of helium produced from just three sites: two in the US and one in Qatar.
This set-up is currently taking a serious hit following the decline of two US oil and gas fields which produce helium as a by-product, and the blockade of Qatar by Saudi Arabia which continues to choke their supply.
With the price of helium ballooning, buyers are nervous that the fragility of the supply chain may lead to further price volatility and eventuality put the ability to source helium into question all together.
“If any of these plants shut down for maintenance or anything happens, then that will really wipe out a significant amount of supply,” explains Bluett. “We see ourselves as playing an important part in rectifying the fragile and not very diverse supply chain. The message from all our buyers is – when are you going to be in production, we want to buy your helium.”
Indeed, contrary to media reports that helium gas is ‘running out’ the concern is more accurately centered around securing and diversifying the supply chain.
Places like Algeria and Russia have the potential to export helium but are hindered by governance issues.
As a result, leading scientists like Gluyas argue that it’s the accessibility of helium which is under threat not the resource itself.
“I don’t think there’s a global shortage of helium at the moment; there’s a global shortage of accessible free market helium,” he says.
In this context Tanzania has the capacity to “alter the global supply” if it can effectively manage its helium industry and create an enabling environment for private sector input.
Making the most
While Tanzania is developing a reputation for spooking investors amid complaints of executive overreach into areas of the economy like mining – often with hefty fines slapped on twitchy multinationals accused of exporting profits without benefit to Tanzania – Helium One is shaping up as a rare example of good news.
Bluett explains how Helium One is working closely with Tanzania’s Ministry of Minerals, and the government “stipulated quite clearly what the requirements for taxation were”.
He points out how the current administration is pursuing companies who are believed to have acted illicitly in the past, which has little to no bearing on companies looking to enter in the present.
“I suspect that most of what we are seeing is dealing with legacy issues; with companies who have been in production for a while,” he says. “We are in exploration so we don’t see the same risk profile.”
Elisante E. Mshiu, Department of Geology at University of Dar es Salaam, who also conducted research alongside Helium One, believes the period belongs to a government who are firming up shaky legislation which allowed for loopholes and therefore abuses in the past.
“The intention is not to scare away external investors but to attract them,” he says. “The government is now in a better position to control and get the appropriate percentage of tax back to the government.”
With Helium One hoping to transport its helium to the port of Dar es Salaam and then ship it to the US, Asia and Europe by 2021 – the partnership tells a different story of Tanzania under President John Magufuli and looks set to benefit both parties.
“For Tanzania this is another good opportunity for the economy,” comments Mshiu. “Like other resources which we have here in Tanzania, we are supporting the private sector to exploit it but also to make sure we have sufficient oversight of it.”
Renewable energy powers growth in Senegal
by William McBain
Increasing the share of renewables in the country’s energy generation is a key facet of the Senegalese government’s power generation strategy, part of its plan to make Senegal a middle-income country by 2035. Will McBain reports
The government of Senegal, led by President Macky Sall, has made increased renewable energy generation one of the key pillars of its power generation strategy, with hopes of achieving universal access to electricity by 2025.
As part of its Plan for an Emerging Senegal (PES), the government expects increased generation capacity to help position Senegal as a middle-income nation by 2035.
A target of 15% renewable energy in Senegal’s energy generation mix looks set to be accomplished ahead of the 2025 schedule, as colossal utility-sized wind and solar power plants are due to be added to the national grid within the next two years.
The country has traditionally relied on imported liquid fuels for its oil and diesel-fired plants, but recent discoveries in oil and gas reserves could make Senegal an oil exporter in the coming years.
A further objective of 25% of renewable energy in the mix by 2030 looks achievable, according to Massaer Cisse, Senegal general manager of renewable power generation company Lekela Power.
“It’s an aggressive target and with that target come challenges, notably that grid integration and transmission will have to keep up with supply.
“It’s vital that all stakeholders are involved in work to upgrade the grid, but things are moving in the right direction,” says Cisse.
These are dramatic developments for a nation formerly hampered by the low supply and high cost of electricity, which stunted economic growth at the beginning of the decade.
Between 2010 and 2018, access to electricity increased from 54% to 68% according to the World Bank, and generation capacity rose from a 2012 low of 573 MW, to a current 864 MW capacity, subsequently providing cheaper tariffs for consumers.
Senegal has experienced yearly GDP growth above 6% since 2015, and optimism about further growth among the young and rapidly expanding 16.6m population is palpable.
The power market continues to benefit from a partially liberalised structure, allowing private companies to build and operate power plants, while transmission and distribution remains controlled by state-owned utility Senelec.
West Africa’s largest windfarm
Lekela – a 60:40 joint venture between emerging market investor Actis and a consortium led by Mainstream Renewable Power – has initiated construction on the Taiba N’Diaye windfarm, 80km northeast of Dakar.
Once complete in 2020, it will be the largest windfarm in West Africa, adding 158.7 MW to the grid and providing more than 450,000 MW hours of energy per year for 2m people.
Lekela deploys its fund in Africa, with a portfolio of three established windfarms in South Africa, and development of additional plants in Ghana and Egypt.
Chris Ford, Lekela’s COO, says that the business can add value to a nation benefiting from a stable government, and political leadership committed to a vision of how it wants the market to develop.
The company also profits from advancements in technology that will enable it to install 46 Danish-made Vestas turbines that will each be able to produce 3.45 MW of energy.
Wind turbines are getting bigger, more powerful and increasing in generating capacity, enabling greater returns.
“The technology is getting cheaper over time, particularly as turbines get bigger the physical and technical limits the turbines push out increase.
“The direction of travel for renewables is positive and I think it continues to surprise people just how competitive it can be. As rates go down, and with the comparative volatility of oil prices, renewables become mainstream,” says Ford.
The Lekela project is also expected to contribute up to $20m to the local community and provide 400 jobs during construction, while continued employment opportunities will be provided for a maintenance team during operation of the plant for at least 25 years.
Spurred on by the successful construction of smaller scale solar plants, Senegal launched a tender process in 2018 to build two further plants with a combined installed capacity of 60 MW, which will almost double existing capacity.
Developed in partnership with the International Finance Corporation and part of a wider initiative called Scaling Solar, 14 bids were tabled.
The French alliance of Engie, the utility, and Meridiam, the infrastructure investor, won at auction.
Engie is currently building the plants in Kahone, near Kaolack, and Kaël in the Diourbel region, and they will represent one of the fastest buildouts of renewable power in Africa.
The contract was awarded with prices approximately 60% lower than the solar contracts previously agreed in Senegal.
Read the full article and more from the source site: Africa Business
MTN Nigeria, owned by South Africa’s MTN Group, on Thursday listed in Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) in a N2 trillion ($6.54 billion) flotation.
The listing turns the telecoms company into the exchange’s second-largest stock by market value.
MTN Nigeria’s shares climbed 10 percent from their listing price of 90 naira after the float went live.
“The telecoms space accounts for a little over 9 percent of GDP so bringing in the big companies in that space is very critical for us and MTN being the largest and the market leader, this is a major listing for us,” said CEO, Nigeria Stock Exchange, Oscar Onyema.
The listing is aimed at helping to settle rows with Nigerian authorities, over SIM cards and tax payments.
MTN is still in the middle of a 2 billion dollar tax row with the country’s attorney general which the company says will delay a further sale of shares and a public offering.
According Reuters Financial Correspondent, Chijioke Ohuocha no set time has been given given by MTN for the public offer.
“MTN agreed to this listing as part of a settlement to long-running disputes with the Nigerian government, which it has fulfilled today. With this particular listing, local investors and indeed international investors, will have the opportunity to buy into the telecoms story in Nigeria. MTN Group owns 78.8% of the Nigerian business,” Ohuocha added.
Nigeria accounts for a third of MTN’s group profit but it’s increasingly been one of its most problematic markets.
There are over 52 millions subscribers on the network in Nigeria.
Article by DIBIE IKE Michael with ReutersCheck out the video and More from the source site:
Image source: Financial Post
Canadian billonaire mining investor Robert Friedland is on the verge of sealing an agreement to take over Nimba iron ore deposit in Guinea, according to reports.
Although a final agreement is yet t be reached, advanced talks are ongoing between,BHP group, Newmont and Areva, the owners of the iron mine; who are yet to succeeded at exploiting the site.
Guinea has some of the world’s richest iron ore deposits such as the Simandou mine.
But the heavy investments cost for the exploration of the mineral, including construction of railway lines as means for export, causes potential investers to develop cold feet.
Such has been the case of Rio Tinto group, Vale SA and the billionaire Beny Steinmetz, who failed to reach a conclusive deal with the government on the Simandou iron mine project.
Should the leader of the High Power Exploration (HPX) company ,ever succeed at reaching an agreement, exporting the mineral out of Guinea will be his most daunting challenge.
Guinea remains bedeviled by the high cost of building a railway to export minerals out of the country, while a much shorter route through Liberia is also an option.
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Our once-in-a-lifetime celebration – the largest event ever staged in the Arab world – is set to welcome 190 participating countries, and millions of visitors from across the globe. Here they will experience warm Emirati hospitality at its finest, as well as the UAE’s values of inclusion, tolerance and cooperation. Youth are at the heart of our World Expo. That’s why Expo 2020 aspires to create a meaningful legacy that will benefit generations to come, both locally and globally, spanning everything from innovations and architecture to friendships and business opportunities.
For the first time, every single country on the African continent will be represented at a World Expo.
On official invite from the U.A.E the 54 coutries will represent at the EXPO 2020 Dubai and the African Union as an Official Participant will have a pavilion to showcase what the continent has to offer with a focus on Agenda 2063.
Grab the opportunity to showcase through the Global Practice Program
CALL FOR INTEREST TO ATTEND - Deadline April 25th
This exhibition is aimed at presenting latest products of Iranian companies working in the production of medical equipment and supplies, dental equipment and consumer products, pharmaceutical products and machinery, laboratory equipment and more.
The Embassy of Islamic Republic of Iran has offered to cover all accommodation costs and internal transportation for up to 10 PACCI delegation. Those of you interested to attend this exhibition, or would like to nominate a member of your chamber engaged in health sector, please do so by April 25th 2019. Please note that the offers are available on a first come first served basis per country.
Cette exposition vise à présenter les derniers produits des sociétés Iraniennes qui travaillent sur la production des équipements et produits médicaux et leurs ravitaillements, sur les matériels dentaires et produits de consommations, sur les produits pharmaceutiques et machines, équipement de laboratoire et autres.
L’Ambassade de la République Islamique d’Iran a offert de prendre en charge tous les frais de transport ainsi que tout transport interne pour un maximum de 10 délégations de PACCI. Si vous êtes intéressés à participer à cette exposition ou voudrez nommer un membre de votre chambre qui est engagé dans le domaine de la santé, veuillez répondre à cet appel avant le 25 Avril 2019. Veuillez noter aussi que ces offres sont disponibles sur la base du premier arrivé, premier servi par pays
A word from the Executive Director of PACCI
- Mr. Kebour Ghenna
I am pleased to inform you that the African Trade Fund (AfTRA) of the African Development Bank funding for improving the Trade facilitation activities in Eastern Africa, focusing on the Ethio-Djibouti corridor has been approved for the next steps and implementation.
After the presentation made to the Technical committee of the AfTRA and incorporating comments and guidance from the committee as well as the AfTRA secretariat the project is now ready for implementation with PACCI and IGAD.
The next immediate step will be to organize a project launch with PACCI and IGAD focal persons where AfDB relevant staff will make presentations on the implementation procedures, follow up as well as monitoring procedures including the working relationship between the steering committee members.
The launching dates and venue will be announced shortly.
I would also like to thank the African Development Bank Group, notably Dr. Tilahun Temesgen from the Eastern Africa Regional Centre (RDGE), for its superb inputs and contributions to this proposal. We will look forward to working with RDGE in implementing this important project and the potentially high-impact components. With Regards,
Corporate Council on Africa and the U.S. Mission to the African Union hosted the U.S.-Africa Trade and Investment Forum on the sidelines of the African Union (AU) Summit in Addis Ababa on February 11-12, 2019. The Forum is designed to be a high-level event geared towards supporting private sector engagement on the AfCFTA and driving greater U.S.-Africa trade, investment, and business engagement.
The Forum – linked to the AU and the broader African continental and global trade agenda – will complement the AU Summit by engaging the private sector – both African and U.S. – and will fill an important void. Currently, the AU runs an African Continental Free Trade Business Forum for African companies, and the EU has held six EU-African Business Forums. Africa is an important economic partner of the United States, yet there is no continent-wide event with American businesses and the AU, despite the leading role that American companies play as major investors in Africa's fastest-growing economies and sectors
The Forum aimed to:
- Provide a platform for a public and private sector dialogue among U.S. and African government officials and private sector leaders
- Expand opportunities for partnerships between businesses from the United States and Africa through meeting facilitation
- Create an avenue for U.S. and African businesses to engage on and support the implementation of the AfCFTA
- Explore the future of U.S.-Africa trade and investment relationship,the final years of AGOA, the implications of the new U.S.-Africa strategy and the potential impact of the proposed free trade agreements (FTAs).
- Support and facilitate CCA members' interests on the continent
Briefing journalists, U.S Ambassador to the African Union, Mary Beth Leonard, recalled the long history of trade ties between the United States and Africa and expressed the desire to further deepen them.
She added that the African Continental Free Trade Agreement has become a reality and is a real game changer for the way that international and U.S business looks this continent by creating more opportunity to both.
President and CEO of Corporate Council on Africa, Florizelle Liser, said on “we have a stake in supporting African regional integration in creating larger market and businesses that allow them to take advantage of economies of scale and to draw Africa into regional and global value chains.”
A lot is happening here in Ethiopia and the export range products to the US market is an example to what Africa can do and is doing across the continent, she added.
AU Trade and Industry Commissioner, Albert Muchanga said work is underway to develop regional value and supply chains as well as creating more stable and predictable policy framework to guide business decision and strategies on investing and trading in Africa.
He pointed out that work is advancing on liberalization of trade in goods and services as well as establishment of a payment and settlement platform that will give operational content to the agreement coming into force.
“Through the African Continental Free Trade Area, we are offering large economies of scale and scope to the private sector,” he said, adding that the content trade liberalization and continental integration gives the incentives to invest in larger scale and longer period.
Some forty-nine countries have signed the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, and 18 of the 22 needed to bring it into force have already ratified it.
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