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Saturday, 28th January 2023
1:19:09pm

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Libya’s National Oil Corporation said Wednesday (Jan. 25) it had reached an $8-billion deal with Italian energy giant ENI to develop offshore hydrocarbon sites.

"We have reached a deal with ENI to develop the oil and gas sector, by developing two offshore sites which together will be able to produce 850 million cubic feet of gas” per day, NOC head Farhat Bengdara told Al-Masar, a Libyan news channel.

The $8 billion deal would be signed on Saturday at an official ceremony, he said. 

Asked by AFP to confirm or deny the agreement, ENI declined to comment.

Italy has been scrambling to find alternatives to Russian energy since Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, and Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni is set to visit Tripoli in the coming days, according to media reports both sides of the Mediterranean.

Libya sits atop Africa’s biggest oil reserves but has been engulfed by conflict since the 2011 revolt that toppled longtime leader Moamer Kadhafi.

Control of oil resources, infrastructure and revenues has been a key driver of the long-running conflict, involving multiple foreign powers and a myriad of militias.

Since March last year, two governments have been vying for power — one in the western capital Tripoli and one in the country’s east, backed by military strongman Khalifa Haftar.

In December, the NOC called on foreign companies in the hydrocarbons sector to resume their activities, saying it had evaluated the security situation and noting a "spectacular improvement" at certain sites where security issues had made it difficult to operate.

Libya is hoping to boost its oil production to two billion barrels per day (bpd), up from around 1.2 currently.

-Africa News

Uganda on Tuesday launched the drilling of its first oil well, a key milestone as the country races to meet its target of first oil output in 2025.

President Yoweri Museveni cut the ribbon at a site operated by China National Offshore Oil Company (CNOOC) near Lake Albert in Kikuube district. 

The field, known as Kingfisher, is expected to produce 40,000 barrels of oil per day at its peak, according to Uganda's oil industry regulator.

The development comes 17 years after the discovery of commercial oil deposits in the east African country.

France's Total, the operator of the second project, known as Tilenga is expected to begin drilling in March.

Uganda last week issued a licence for the construction of a $3.5 billion pipeline set to carry crude oil from the country to international markets.

Last year, the oil majors signed a $10-billion agreement to develop the Ugandan oilfields and build the pipeline.

At peak, Uganda plans to produce about 230,000 barrels of crude oil per day.

Uganda's reserves are estimated 6.5 billion barrels of crude, of which about 1.4 billion are considered recoverable.

-Africa News

South Africa is developing new legislation to speed up energy projects to add generating capacity and help end power cuts, a presentation seen by Reuters on Tuesday from the country’s energy crisis committee, showed.

Ageing coal-fired power stations, underinvestment in new capacity and foot-dragging on policies to encourage private providers have left South Africa facing constant power cuts.

However, work is under way to accelerate the procurement of additional capacity, according to a presentation from the National Energy Crisis Committee, set up by President Cyril Ramaphosa.

It said the committee is working to “develop emergency legislation which can be tabled in Parliament to allow energy projects to proceed more quickly and enable coordinated and decisive action.”

It added that a “web of bureaucracy” was making it difficult to deal with the power crisis and that “the current regulatory framework wasn’t designed to deal with an energy shortfall”.

The document noted that progress has been made on the Energy Action Plan that was announced by Ramaphosa in July, including raising licensing requirements for private embedded generation projects and importing power.

Ramaphosa is meeting different stakeholders this week to discuss ways to deal with the country’s worst power cuts on record.

In one meeting where leaders of political parties were present, it was revealed that electricity shortages looked set to continue at least into 2024.

The largest opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, on Tuesday, announced that it will go to court to halt the recent “unaffordable tariff increases” approved by the energy regulator.

The party also wanted the implementation of rolling power cuts declared unconstitutional.

-Aljazeera

Uganda on Wednesday issued a final tender to company controlled by TotalEnergies to construct a $3.5 billion oil pipeline through to Tanzania.

The final approval will provide a way forward to the construction of the pipeline that will be used to transport the country’s crude to international.

The signature follows a Monday approval by the Uganda’s cabinet allowing the construction of the pipeline by the East African Crude Oil Pipeline Company Limited. 

TotalEnergies is the largest shareholder in EACOP with a 62% stake. Other investors include the state-run Uganda National Oil Company and Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation, which have 15% each, while China's CNOOC (0883.HK) holds 8%.

France's TotalEnergies and the China National Offshore Oil Corporation signed a $10-billion agreement earlier this year to develop Ugandan oilfields and ship the crude through a 1,445-kilometre (900-mile) pipeline to Tanzania's Indian Ocean port of Tanga.

The project, which includes drilling in Murchison Falls, Uganda's largest national park, has run into strong opposition from activists and environmental groups that say it threatens the region's fragile ecosystem and the livelihoods of tens of thousands of people.

Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni has vowed to proceed with the project regardless of the EU resolution, warning that the government would look for other partners in case TotalEnergies chose to "listen to the EU Parliament".

The project aims to extract the huge crude reserves under Lake Albert, a 160-kilometre-long natural border between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, and ship the oil through what would become the world's longest heated pipeline.

Museveni has in the past hailed the project as a major economic boost for the landlocked country, where many live in poverty.

-Africa News

MOMO Pencils, based in Athi River, Machakos County, came up with an effective way to reduce the number of trees cut down every year to make simple writing pencils.

The company, headed by brothers Mahamud Omari and Rashid Omari, sources its raw materials, in this case glue and old newspapers, locally. They currently import the graphite.

According to CEO Mahamud Omari, the old newspapers cost them just KSH 70 ($0.70) to KSH 100 ($1) per-kilogram. 

He says the price of the finished product depends on the quality and quantity, but it ranges from KSH 15 to up to KSH 50 per-pencil.

Pencils are an important part of life, they're used for sketching, drawing and in schools.

The United Nations says some eight million trees are cut down every year to make pencils, contributing to deforestation.

came up with an effective way to reduce the number of trees cut down every year to make simple writing pencils.

"If you look at the present day, we are suffering from climate action and the best way is to reduce the number of trees that are cut for any purpose," he says.

"So, for that matter, 82,000 trees that are cut every year to make pencils, we provide an alternative. We take the newspaper and turn it into a viable product which is a pencil, providing an option for those people to use instead of wooden pencils."

The process of making pencils starts with newspaper collection.

The newspapers are cut into the right size, then graphite is glued to the pieces.

The pieces of newspapers and graphite are then put into a roller, which rolls and compresses them into pencils.

They're then left in the sun for three days to dry off.

They're lastly put into a final compressor, sharpened and packaged.

Mahamud says in the next five years, the company aims to ensure every child in Kenya will use their pencils.

"We want each and every child in Kenya who goes to school to use our pencils and at the same time, be able to plant a tree through our pencil. That way we will reduce the number of trees cut," he says.

"We will also provide an option and reduce the number of wooden pencils in the market."

Sustainability consultant and climate change expert Nickson Otieno believes such efforts will reduce the number of trees cut down, while at the same time reducing the amount of wastepaper that's dumped or burnt.

"Eight million trees are cut down every year to make pencils, and that contributes to deforestation and climate change. Also, about 85 billion tonnes of wastepaper are generated every year and 32 billion tonnes of this wastepaper is dumped and burnt down. Now, this contributes also to climate change, but on the other side, we can address climate change by making pencils from recycled paper," he says.

According to the UN, over 13 million hectares of forests are lost annually to deforestation, out of which 36 percent is for paper manufacturing and 42 percent is for manufacturing timber-based products that constitutes about 18-20 billion pencils.

Yesterday's news, tomorrow's pencils.

-Africa News

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