Power developments in Africa, October 2018

Trans-border gas pipeline in East Africa
Tanzania and Uganda have signed an agreement for the construction a natural gas pipeline. This follows an earlier agreement, signed in May 2017, to construct a crude oil pipeline from Hoima in Uganda, to Chongoleani in Tanga. The project is led by French oil multinational Total as the main contractor. This will be the first trans-border gas pipeline in East Africa since the extraction of natural gas commenced in 2004. Tanzania has a confirmed natural gas recoverable reserve of 57,5 trillion cubic feet.

Tanzania boosts its power output
The Tanzanian power grid will carry an additional 240 MW when the Kinyerezi II power project is completed. The plant’s general manager is quoted as saying that the $432-million project has created jobs for 1500 Tanzanians and at least 1000 indirect employment opportunities during its two-and-a-half-year construction period. When the project becomes fully operational, the gas-fired plant will add an additional 36 million standard cubic feet per day to the daily national gas demand. More than half of Tanzania’s electricity is generated by natural gas-burning power plants.

Egypt’s power grid to go digital

ABB has been selected by the Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company (EETC) to help upgrade and digitalise the electrical grid in the Port Said region, located along the country’s Mediterranean coast and includes the landmark Suez Canal. The project is part of the country’s efforts to upgrade and modernise its power grid which plays a critical role in operating the Suez Canal, a major artery for global commerce, through which about 17 000 ships pass annually. Demand for electricity is growing fast in the area.

Equatorial Guinea lining up strategic partner for Gas Megahub

Equatorial Guinea’s Ministry of Mines and Hydrocarbons plans to announce the appointment of a strategic partner for its Gas Megahub project soon. Mines and hydrocarbons minister Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima says the strategic partner would start work on the project by year-end or early in 2019. He said the ministry had been working with Marathon Oil Corporation and Noble Energy on arrangements to backfill gas for the EGLNG liquefied natural gas plant as the first phase of the project to replace declining production from the Alba field.

Power substation in Rwanda inaugurated
The quality of electricity supply in the city of Kigali is expected to improve following the inauguration of a $20-million power substation facility recently. The facility, which was funded by the Japanese government through an international cooperation agency, is part of a plan to improve power quality and extend electrification throughout the country. The Rwandan government is aiming for universal electricity supply by 2024, up from the current 44,6%. The new facility is expected to supply parts of Ndera and Murindi.

Ethiopian hydro-electric project stalled

The construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam and its hydro-electric scheme have stalled following financial constraints, strikes by employees demanding better wages and living conditions, the death of the project manager and a standoff with Egypt over the use of the waters of the River Nile. Although construction of the $4-billion hydropower plant started in 2011 and Ethiopia had projected that it would start generating 375MW of electricity from the first two turbines in 2015, the project is still to generate electricity.

Developing biofuels to cut diesel emissions

The Nigerian government is planning to increase the country’s use of biofuels for the generation of electricity. The country’s National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has signed two Memorandums of Understanding with Nigerian-Chinese consortia to build ten large biofuels complexes in the country. The NNPC says the MoUs will result in the development of the first biofuel production complex in the country, with others to follow. This is apparently part of NNPC’s plans to reduce diesel for electricity generation, in its drive to develop a thriving commercial biofuels industry which would not only create jobs and curb global warming.

Malawi receives extra power and modern equipment

The US’ five-year $350-million Millennium Challenge Account programme has enabled Malawi to install new facilities at Nkula A, construct two sub-power stations and install a 2400 kV power line. The work included the modernisation of the Nkula A power generation plant and the construction of transmission lines from Phombeya in Balaka to Nkhoma in Lilongwe; and from Nkhoma to Bunda Turn Off, as well as the construction of a number of sub-stations.

Gabon to build 2,2 MW of solar power

Ausar Energy will deploy eight hybrid solar power plants in Gabon, representing a combined capacity of 2,2 MW. The solution means that solar energy can be used in eight locations that are currently supplied by oil-fired thermal power stations. With construction set to begin soon, this project will contribute to the Gabon’s proactive policy of using renewable energy to increase the country’s energy capacities while saving the country 1-million litres of fuel oil per year.

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