Africa Briefs

21 August 2019 | Economics

SA: No 'big bang' approach to nuclear

South Africa will not adopt a "big bang" approach to building new nuclear power capacity but instead add capacity in an affordable way, energy and mineral resources minister Gwede Mantashe said yesterday.

"It comes back to a resolution we took as a government: not going big bang into nuclear, but going at a pace and price that the country can afford. ... Go modular, go at a pace and price that the country can afford," Mantashe told reporters.

"The fact that we suspected corruption [in the previously floated Russia deal] doesn't mean that nuclear is irrelevant for the country in 2019."

Mantashe would not give a timeline for any new nuclear capacity, saying the government's energy plan would need to be approved first.

That plan, called the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), has been held up for months by discussions with business and labour, but the minister said he hoped the IRP would be taken to cabinet for approval in the next two to three weeks.

Mantashe said the IRP contained provision for "modular nuclear technology", saying nuclear would compete with other power sources to replace energy capacity which will be decommissioned in the medium to long term. – Nampa/Reuters

Nigeria c.bank to defend reserves

Nigeria's central bank will strive to protect the country's currency reserves after a British court ruling granted a small natural gas firm the right to try to seize US$9 billion in assets from Nigeria's government, the bank's head said on Monday.

Such a sum would be one of the largest financial liabilities imposed on Nigeria in its history, representing 20% of the currency reserves of Africa's largest economy and top oil producer.

Central bank chief Godwin Emefiele said Nigeria had sufficient grounds to appeal the ruling, over an aborted gas project in the southern Nigerian city of Calabar, made on Friday in favour of Process and Industrial Developments Ltd.

"We know that the implication of that judgment has some impact on monetary policy, and that is why the central bank is going to step forward and ... defend the reserves," Emefiele told reporters in the capital, Abuja.

Emefiele did not say what other measures the central bank might take to defend the country's currency or its foreign exchange reserves. – Nampa/Reuters

Kenya set for first crude oil exports

Kenya is set to export its first crude oil after its government and a group led by explorer Tullow Oil picked trading company ChemChina UK Ltd to buy its first shipments, the petroleum and mining ministry said.

Tullow and its partner Africa Oil discovered commercial oil reserves in the Lokichar basin in Kenya's far northern county of Turkana in 2012. Total has since taken a 25% stake in the project.

Since last year the group has been running a pilot scheme to transport some 2 000 barrels per day by truck to the port city of Mombasa to test flow rates and other technical issues before the start of full production and exports via a pipeline, to be built by 2022.

ChemChina UK's initial purchases are expected to be small-scale, with full commercial shipments due to begin once the pipeline is constructed.

Tullow estimates that Kenya's onshore fields in Turkana hold 560 million barrels of oil and expects them to produce up to 100 000 barrels per day from 2022. – Nampa/Reuters

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