Africa news in brief

08 November 2018 | Economics

South Africa's net foreign reserves slip

South Africa’s net foreign reserves fell to US$42.194 billion in October from US$42.227 billion in September, the Reserve Bank said on Wednesday.

Gross reserves also edged lower, decreasing to US$50.166 billion from US$50.394 billion , the central bank data showed.

The forward position, which represents the central bank’s unsettled or swap transactions, fell to US$1.347 billion in October from US$1.41 billion in the previous month.

-Nampa/Reuters

Nigeria senate to probe state oil firm

Nigeria’s Senate voted on Tuesday to investigate the alleged withdrawal of US$1.05 billion by Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) from Nigeria LNG (NLNG), a venture owned by the state oil firm and foreign energy companies.

Nigeria’s Premium Times newspaper reported on Monday that NNPC had used the NLNG earnings that should have been passed to local and federal state authorities to fund the state oil firm’s fuel purchases and subsidies during a shortage in late 2017 and early 2018.

NLNG is owned by NNPC and foreign energy firms Royal Dutch Shell, Total and ENI,

Officials from NNPC, NLNG, Shell, ENI and Total were not immediately available to comment.

Uganda to launch next oil exploration bidding licence

Uganda, which is developing oil deposits but has yet to begin production, will launch its next bidding round for oil exploration licences in May next year, a government official said on Tuesday.

Uganda discovered 6.5 billion barrels worth of hydrocarbon deposits 12 years ago in the Albertine rift basin near its border with the Democratic Republic of Congo but production has been repeatedly delayed by disagreements with oil companies over field development strategy and tax disputes.

“We will have a road show first and then we will start the bidding round in May next year,” Ernest Rubondo, executive director of the Petroleum Authority of Uganda, told Reuters on the sidelines of the Africa Oil Week conference.

Total and China’s CNOOC are aiming to begin production in Uganda but both have said they will not be able to do so before 2021, missing a government target of 2020.

-Nampa/Reuters

Mozambique offers to share gas revenue

Mozambique has reached an agreement with the bulk of its creditors to restructure a US$726.5 million Eurobond, including extending maturities and sharing future revenues from huge offshore gas projects, the finance ministry said on Tuesday.

Mozambique has been battling to recover from a debt crisis after admitting in 2016 to US$1.4 billion of previously undisclosed lending, much of which was supposed to be spent on a tuna fishing fleet.

The disclosure prompted the International Monetary Fund and foreign donors to cut off support to the southern African state, triggering a currency collapse and a default on sovereign debt.

Under the deal, Mozambique would issue a new US$900 million Eurobond maturing in 2033 with a coupon of 5.875% - just over half what the current outstanding bond was designed to pay in interest.

-Nampa/Reuters

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