Monday, September 15, 2014

China deploys soldiers to a UN peacekeeping force in South Sudan

United Nations peacekeepers secure a section of Juba airport in South Sudan on Aug. 12.
China’s state-owned National Petroleum Corp. holds a 40% stake in a joint venture that operates in South Sudan’s vast oil fields. The company also has a 1,000-mile (1,600-kilometer) export pipeline that carries crude through neighboring Sudan to Port Sudan on the Red Sea.

Before the latest fighting in South Sudan flared, the country accounted for 5% of China’s crude imports. Output has since plummeted by a third to 160,000 barrels a day—following the outbreak of fighting late last year.   China began deploying 700 soldiers to a United Nations peacekeeping force in South Sudan to help guard the country’s embattled oil fields and protect Chinese workers and installations September 9.

“We feel it is not the business of UNMISS [peacekeeping mission]to protect oil installations, whether the Government is capable or not,” Government  spokesperson Lul Ruai Koang said at the time. “By stepping in to protect oil installations on behalf of the Government, UNMISS will have sided with one of the parties to the conflict and inevitably become part of the problem, not the solution.”

But the UN clarified that it was mandated to protect civilians, including those working in the oil sector, but not the actual oil installations.

[October 18 2010]
Oil pipeline to Kenya

As for the coming referendum, January 9, 2011 [maybe] on Southern independence, while the resources may be in the southern areas, the infrastructure for exporting them is in the northern area, an attempt to suggest the futility of independence for the south.

That may be, but it has not stopped speculation about the construction of an oil pipeline from southern Sudan to a new port development planned for Lamu on Kenya's Indian Ocean coast.

The pipeline proposal, made by Japan's Toyota Tsusho, the trading subsidiary of automaker Toyota, means that southern Sudan might just be able to ease away from dependence on the north after any vote on secession. here

Monday, April 7, 2014

Monterey Shale formation: there is a heck of lot of oil down there

The federal Energy Information Administration estimated in 2011 that more than 15 billion barrels of recoverable oil is trapped in what's known as the Monterey Shale formation, which covers 1,750 square miles, roughly from Bakersfield to Fresno.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Central African Republic: Deby in meeting on revolt

The Head of State of the Central African Republic, François Bozizé, from Chad, Idriss Déby Itno, from Gabon, Ali Bongo and from Congo Brazzaville's Denis Sassou Nguesso will participate in an extraordinary summit of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), that will analyze the crisis in the Central African Republic (CAR) with the situation at the Democratic Republic of Congo to be also analyzed.

 A Chadian rebel movement on January 3 denied lending support to rebels in the neighbouring Central African Republic, refuting a claim by that country's government.

"The ANCD (National Alliance for Change and Democracy) formally denies statements by Mr Josue Binoua, a Central African minister, insinuating the presence of Chadian resistance forces alongside the Seleka" rebel coalition, an ANCD statement said.

"Though it considers that the departure of [the Central African Republic's] President [Francois] Bozize would be good for the Central African people, the ANCD never interfered in the Central African conflict," it added.

Binoua, the Central African Republic’s territorial administration minister, on January 2 alleged that the Seleka alliance of three rebel groups, who have swept across much of the country to within 160km of the capital Bangui, consisted mainly of rebels from Chad and from Darfur in western Sudan.

He also charged that rebel leaders were linked to Wahabites, who practice a strict form of Islam.

Binoua said that "residual forces of Mahamat Nouri", a Chadian rebel leader, constituted the bulk of the fighters in the Seleka alliance.

Nouri, a former minister under Chad's President Idriss Deby Itno, went into armed opposition in 2006 and launched a powerful assault on the capital Ndjamena early in 2008, which was repelled after days of heavy fighting at the cost of hundreds of lives.

The Central African Republic's government made its allegations days ahead of peace negotiations that are scheduled to begin next Tuesday in Gabon's capital Libreville, under the aegis of the Economic Community of Central African States (CEEAC).

Bozize's regime has several times charged that the offensive launched from northern Central African Republic on 10 December by the rebels is an act of foreign aggression.

[December 28 '12]It also seems that the rebels  closing in on CAR's capital  have not been looting much - usually a sign that they are well kept and fed.

So where do they find their resources? Outside support for the rebel coalition cannot be ruled out. Neighbouring Chad has been fingered by some observers as a potential rebel supporter. Could Chad's President Idriss Deby want President Bozize replaced, even though Mr Deby helped him take power almost 10 years ago.

Though Chadian troops have been deployed to save Mr Bozize in the past, and they are again stationed outside Bangui as a buffer should rebels advance on the capital, Mr Deby's intentions seem unclear.

Chad's strong man, Mr Deby, has always wanted a close ally to the south. The rebels are an unlikely alliance of splinter factions with different interests and may well split should they reach Bangui. Should that happen, it could plunge CAR into chaos - potentially sucking in Chad.

About 20 vehicles of heavily armed Chad soldiers crossed into CAR on December 18 to help stop the rebel advance taking place only 300km (185 miles) from the capital, Bangui.

The alliance now controls the towns of Ouadda, Sam Ouandja and Ndele, a major route linking the CAR to Sudan, Cameroon and Chad.

On morning of December 18, it also captured the diamond mining town and military base of Bria.

Government troops tried to repel the attack launched at dawn, but were later forced to retreat. Around 15 soldiers are reported to have been killed during the clashes.

"We couldn't stand there doing nothing in front of this rebel advance,"."The president contacted his counterpart in Chad, who immediately agreed to help us put a quick end to this adventure."

[June 10,08]
A three-year deal between Niger and China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) is to focus on development of the Agadem oil block, construction of a refinery with capacity of 20,000 barrels per day near the southern city of Zinder and a 2,000 kilometre pipeline to ship the oil to international markets.Niger's eastern region, where the country's oil reserves are located, has been relatively unaffected by a revolt by Tuareg rebels. This Central African rift basin also contains Chad's oil.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Chad BDS 2008 and Chari-Ouest III to ERHC

ERHC Energy Inc., Houston, said the Republic of Chad has issued the company an exclusive exploration authorization for the Chari-Ouest III, BDS 2008, and Manga blocks in southern Chad covered by ERHC’s production sharing contract.
The initial term of the concession,  EEA, is for 5 years, and it can be renewed for 3 more years. ERHC intends to identify leads and prospect and then drill as soon as circumstances allow.
Initial work will be on BDS 2008 and Chari-Ouest III. ERHC has 100% interest in BDS 2008 and 100% interest in half of Chari-Ouest III. Its holdings in the two blocks, on the north flank of the Doba and Doseo basins, total 5.155 million acres.
Martin Wensrich, ERHC geoscientist and technical advisor, said, “Our analysis of gravity, magnetic and 2D seismic data shows that ERHC’s Chari-Ouest III and BDS 2008 blocks fall within the prolific Doba/Doseo Basin. Our main area of focus extends 260 km and is on trend and east of the 2011 Benoy-1 discovery by Overseas Petroleum Investment Corp. and north of discoveries by Esso.”

 March 22nd, 2012
ERHC Energy Inc is offering interested parties the opportunity to obtain substantial equity in its Chari-Ouest III, BDS 2008 and Manga Blocks in Chad

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

South Sudan Oil through Doba?

The UNSC on May 17 passed a resolution demanding the finalization of a jointly-run administration and police force for the disputed oil-rich border region of Abyei. The Council also demanded the immediate withdrawal of Sudanese security forces from Abyei, following South Sudan's troop pullout from the disputed region last week.

Border clashes between the two countries erupted in late March, marking the biggest confrontation between the two sides after South Sudan seceded from Sudan in July last year in line with a 2005 peace agreement ending 22 years of civil war between the Arab North and the Christian and animist South. More than 100,000 people are said to have been displaced by the ongoing hostilities.

Tensions escalated after South Sudanese forces moved into the oil-producing region of Heglig in Sudan's South Kordofan state on April 10, before eventually vacating the area. Sudan, which had responded by bombing South Sudanese territory, has since regained control of Heglig, which accounts for 60,000 of the 115,000 barrels of oil produced in Sudan daily.The oil fight is relatively easy to solve, if there is political will. South Sudan now has three-fourths of the old Sudan’s oil resources, but that isn’t much good without a way to get it to market. (A planned pipeline via Kenya is years, and billions of dollars, in the future.) The absurd discrepancy in the value that the two sides put on using Sudan’s pipeline ($36 versus $.60 a barrel) can be resolved by invoking global benchmarks. Market prices suggest a rate of $1 to $2 a barrel would be reasonable.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Malabo to Texas: Equatoguinean Connection

Equatorial Guinea might have disappeared from our geopolitical radar had Mobil not struck oil in the waters off Malabo in 1995. It quickly became clear that the Zafiro oil field was world-class. Oil production in Equatorial Guinea stands at more than 300,000 barrels a day, which at current prices translates to nearly $5.5 billion a year. A gas field owned by Marathon Oil has also become a major producer, and the ocean beds off Equatorial Guinea are being combed for additional deposits. Energy companies have invested several billion dollars in Equatorial Guinea, and Marathon has built a major liquefied natural gas facility. It is now possible to fly nonstop from Malabo to Texas on a weekly flight known as the “Houston Express.”

Equatorial Guinea is not the only country in the region to have emerged as a major oil supplier for the United States. West Africa is central to America’s effort to reduce dependency on Middle East oil. The region currently supplies 15 percent of America’s energy, and that figure is expected to rise to 25 percent within a few years
Equatorial Guinea's natural gas reserves are located offshore Bioko Island, primarily in the Alba and Zafiro oil and gas fields. Natural gas and condensate production in Equatorial Guinea expanded rapidly in the 5-year period following new investments by major stakeholders in the Alba natural gas field. Alba, the country's largest natural gas field, contains 1.3 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of proven reserves, with probable reserves estimated at 4.4 Tcf or more.

Marathon Oil, other investors, and the state-owned gas company, SONOGAS, joined together in a $1.5 billion deal to construct a liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility on Bioko Island. The world-class facility shipped its first product in May 2007. In early 2008 Marathon and the government announced tentative plans to construct and operate LNG trains 2 and 3, pending confirmation of feedstock gas from national and neighboring gas fields.

The Okume Complex field is located offshore Equatorial Guinea, West Africa, and consists of the Elon, Okume, Oveng and Ebano reservoirs in water depths ranging from 27 to 500 meters. The development includes two separate mini-TLPs at the Okume/Ebano and Oveng reservoirs and three shallow water wellhead platforms at Elon. A single Central Processing Facility at Elon will handle crude from all four fields. Production from the field will be tied back to the existing Sendje Ceiba FPSO via a 12-inch oil export pipeline system.

Equatorial Guinea is now the third-largest producer of crude oil in Sub-Saharan Africa, after Nigeria and Angola. Equatorial Guinea's oil reserves are located mainly in the hydrocarbon-rich Gulf of Guinea. Large amounts of foreign investment primarily by U.S. companies have poured into the country's oil sector in recent years. Equatorial Guinea's total proven oil reserves are estimated at 1.1 billion barrels.

In October 2004, the government capped oil production at 350,000 barrels per day (bbl/d) to extend the life of the country's petroleum reserves, but lifted the cap the next year to allow expansion. With the addition of LNG production that came on line in 2007, total hydrocarbon production peaked in 2008. It is now in decline. Three fields--Zafiro, Ceiba, and Alba--currently account for the majority of the country's oil output.

In 2001, GEPetrol was established as Equatorial Guinea's national oil company. It was originally to be the primary state-run institution responsible for the country's downstream oil sector activities. However, since 2001 its primary focus has become managing the government's stakes in various Production Sharing Contracts (PSCs) with foreign oil companies. GEPetrol also partners with foreign firms to undertake exploration projects and has a say in the country's environmental policy implementation. In its recent block-licensing negotiations, Equatorial Guinea has pursued increases in the government's stake in new PSCs. In early 2008 it announced a $2.2 billion purchase of U.S.-based Devon Energy's stake in the country's oil fields, increasing its participation to 20% in the Zafiro field operation.

The Zafiro field is Equatorial Guinea's largest oil producer, with output rising from an initial level of 7,000 bbl/d in August 1996 to approximately 280,000 bbl/d by 2004. Ceiba, Equatorial Guinea's second major producing oil field, is located just offshore of Rio Muni and is estimated to contain 300 million barrels of oil. Production at Ceiba rose dramatically during the 2-3 year period following improvements and upgrades to the facility. Alba, Equatorial Guinea's third significant field was discovered in 1991. Original estimates of reserves at Alba were around 68 million barrels of oil equivalent (BOE), but recent exploration has increased estimates significantly to almost 1 billion BOE. Unlike the Zafiro or Ceiba fields, exploration and production at Alba has focused on natural gas, including condensates.

Ceiba's discovery has significantly increased interest in petroleum exploration of surrounding areas, with many new companies acquiring licenses in exploration blocks further offshore in the Rio Muni basin. International companies with interests in one or more exploration blocks include Chevron (U.S.), Vanco Energy (U.S.), Atlas Petroleum International (U.S.), Roc Oil (Australia), Petronas (Malaysia), Sasol Petroleum (South Africa), and Glencore (Switzerland). In October 2004, Noble Energy Equatorial Guinea, an Equatoguinean subsidiary of American Noble Energy, Inc. signed a contract to exploit a new oil field off the island of Bioko. Recently, Equatorial Guinea gave the Chinese National Offshore Oil Company (CNOOC) the rights to its newest oil field but Chinese exploration has to date been unsuccessful.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

global oil demand growth versus supply base

“You need a certain level for all these high-priced resources that are coming on-stream, deepwater Gulf of Mexico, deepwater Brazil and the Canadian oil sands. That’s the dynamic part of the non-OPEC oil supply.”
“Concerns over a Eurozone-centered debt crisis, and the Chinese economy, and U.S. financial regulations, have no impact on full-cycle production costs or on the medium-term view,” said Mike Wittner, head of oil market research at Societe Generale SA in London. “And the medium-term view is one of global oil demand growth bumping into a mature supply base.” The futures contract closest to delivery on the New York Mercantile Exchange tumbled 10 percent in the past three months to below $70 a barrel as investors fled riskier assets and the December 2015 contract lost 4 percent. At the same time December 2018 futures remain above $90 a barrel,