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Fri, 05 May 2017
China seeks more African oil downstream operations

Chinese government officials have hinted that oil companies from the Asian country could purchase more African oil downstream operations, this follows China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation’s (Sinopec) purchase last month of a controlling stake in Chevron’s southern African subsidiary, Caltex.

Sinopec paid $900m for Chevron equity in the Chevron South Africa (CSA) refinery in Cape Town, oil storage facilities, a lubricants factory in Durban and the Caltex service station distribution network across South Africa and Botswana. It had been reported that other companies were interested in buying the assets, including oil trader Glencore and French oil giant Total but they dropped out of the bidding. The government’s Central Energy Fund also made an offer for Caltex last year.

Under the deal, Sinopec has bought 100% of Chevron Botswana and 75% of Chevron South Africa, while the remaining 25% will be held by South African black empowerment investors, as required under South African law, plus an employee trust. The refinery, which will be Sinopec’s first in Africa, has production capacity of 100,000 b/d, while Caltex owns and operates 820 service stations.

In a statement, Sinopec revealed: “The SPA has already been filed with the Chinese government and remains subject to regulatory approvals in South Africa and Botswana. With a growing middle class, demand for refined petroleum in South Africa, the largest country in the region, has been increasing at an average annual rate of nearly 5% during the last five years, currently reaching a total of approximately 27m tonnes.” Aside from the fuel sales, the company will benefit from 220 retail outlets attached to service stations.

Refining challenges

Sinopec said that it intends to maintain the company’s existing operations and workforce, while upgrading its assets across the region. It then plans to start rebranding the retail network in five or six years’ time. This upgrade will presumably involve the modernisation and expansion of the Cape Town refinery. Cleaner fuel standards are being introduced in South Africa, which will require improvements in the nation’s refining capacity.

The new standards were supposed to have been introduced this July but the refining industry and government have been in dispute over how the refinery upgrades should be funded. This dispute may have precipitated Chevron’s withdrawal from the country; the US firm put the business up for sale in 2014. South Africa has five other refineries with combined production capacity of 600,000 b/d, including the two synthetic fuel plants at Mossel Bay and Secunda, which used natural gas and coal as feedstock respectively.

In 2012, Sinopec had signed an agreement with South African national oil company PetroSA to help develop a new refinery at Coega with production capacity of 360,000 b/d but the project has been postponed because of rising costs and economic problems in South Africa.

A spokesperson said: “With this investment, Sinopec looks forward to becoming an integral part of South Africa and Botswana’s local economies.” He added that the company would seek to contribute to “the development of the indigenous oil industry”, which could suggest that it is also interested in [...]

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Tue, 14 Mar 2017
African CEOs to meet in Geneva to discuss investment in Africa...

Africa CEO Forum will look at revitalising investment flows into the continent and comes at a time when commodity prices are showing signs of recovery

About 20 South African CEOs are expected to attend the Africa CEO Forum, which, is taking place in Geneva, Switzerland, later in March.

The fifth edition of the forum is due to focus on international investments in Africa. It is running from March 20–21.

The forum will look at revitalising investment flows into Africa and comes when commodity prices are showing signs of recovery.

The forum is expected to host 1,000 key decision makers in industry, finance and politics from across the globe.

Some of the local CEOs expected to attend include:

João Miguel Santos, MD of the Boeing Company in sub-Saharan Africa; Thomas Couteaudier, CEO for West and southern Africa at Louis Dreyfus Company; Siyabonga Gama, group CEO of Transnet; Manuel Mota, CEO of Mota-Engil Africa; Ramesh Moochikal, president and regional head of Olam International in South and East Africa Kelvin Balogun, president of Coca-Cola southern and eastern Africa; Mvuleni Geoffrey Qhena, CEO of the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC); Farid Masood, CEO of Kansai Plascon Africa; Andrew Darfoor, group CEO of Alexander Forbes; Fabrice Ndjodo, MD of Tana Africa Capital; and Cleopas Sanangura, CEO of Thamani Technology and Systems.

Senagalese President Macky Sall and Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn are also due to attend.

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Mon, 06 Feb 2017
Opposition forms coalition to challenge Ian Khama’s party in 2019 polls...

Gaborone – Opposition groups have reportedly come together to form a coalition to challenge President Ian Khama’s Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) in 2019 elections. The BDP has been in power since 1966.

According to eNCA, four parties – the Botswana National Front, the Botswana Movement for Democracy, the Botswana Congress Party, and the Botswana People’s Party – came together as “a response to a plea by the people for the opposition to stop splitting votes and work together”.

The BDP’s popularity has reportedly been sinking since the 2014 elections due to a “sluggish economic growth and high youth unemployment”, the report said. “With only one opposition party in place now, I believe that the BDP will have to work very hard in the coming years to preserve or better its supremacy at the 2019 elections,” political analyst Anthony Morima was quoted as saying. Khama won a second term in 2014 after his party secured a parliamentary majority at the polls.

The BDP garnered at least 29 of the 57 parliamentary seats. The party, however, faced a challenge in urban areas, where opposition parties made inroads since the formation in 2010 of a breakaway party, the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD)

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