Algeria: significant onshore oil & gas discovery by Sonatrach and Eni

On Sunday, Italian major Eni and national oil company Sonatrach have announced a new significant onshore oil and associated gas discovery in their Zemlet el Arbi concession within the HDLE prospect. This is the first of five exploratory wells planned in the Berjine North Basin in the Algerian desert.

The concession is operated by their joint-venture, with Sonatrach holding 51% and Eni the remaining 49%.

“Preliminary estimates of the size of the discovery are around 140 million barrels of oil in place,” Eni said in a statement. Both company have already declared that they would fast-track the field’s development for a start-up in Q3 2022.

The HDLE-1 discovery is located about 15km from the Bir Rebaa North field processing facilities. The well discovered light oil in the Triassic sandstones of Tagi Formation, confirming 26 m of net pay with excellent petrophysical characteristics. Its production test delivered 7,000 barrels of oil per day (bopd) and 5 MMscfd of gas.

“The discovery will be quickly appraised with the drilling of a second well, HDLE-2, in April 2022 to confirm the additional potential of the structure extending in the adjacent Sif Fatima 2 concession operated by an Eni-Sonatrach JV (50-50%),” Eni added.

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Africa’s largest copper-gold mine to run on renewable energy

First Quantum Minerals (FQM), the company that notably operates Africa’s biggest copper mine by production in Zambia, has entered into a new partnership with Chariot and Total Eren to develop 430 MW of solar and wind power for its mining operations in Zambia. Both Chariot and Total Eren had signed last year binding key terms of a long-term joint-development partnership to jointly originate and develop wind and solar projects for mining clients in Africa. Their project in Zambia with FQM would be unique in scale for Africa and help the global mining company to decarbonize its operations as it seeks to reduce its carbon footprint by 30% by 2025. Additional renewable energy capacity would notably support operations at FQM’s flagship Kansanshi copper-gold mine new Solwezi in Northern Zambia.  Since 2005, FQM has expanded its operations there and is now capable of producing 340,000 tonnes of copper and more than 120,000 ounces of gold per year.

Togo becomes first in Africa to be connected to Equinao subsea cable

In collaboration with Google, Société d’Infrastructures Numériques (SIN) and CSquared, Togo became last week the first landing point of the Equiano subsea cable in Africa. President Faure Gnassingbé inaugurated it on Friday at the autonomous port of Lomé. The cable is part of Google’s $1bn plan to build African digital capacity, and will also land in Nigeria, Namibia and South Africa later this year. The landing in Nigeria is scheduled in April 2022, according to sources within Google that Hawilti spoke to. Equinao was first introduced by Google in 2019 and will ultimately run from Europe to Africa via Portugal. While Nigeria was initially set to be its first landing point, Togo made a successful case to Google since then that Equinao should have a landing point in the country. The country of 8m was already the first in West Africa to launch a 5G network in 2020. This new cable is fully funded by Google, making it its third private international cable after Dunant (USA-France) and Curie (USA-Chile), and its 14th subsea cable investment globally. It is named after Olaudah Equiano, a Nigerian-born writer and abolitionist who was enslaved as a boy. Equiano is based on space-division multiplexing (SDM) technology and will offer 20 times more bandwidth than any other cable currently serving West Africa, and result in affordable internet access for millions in the region. Research commissioned by Google expects the cable to help a country like Togo double internet speeds within three years and reduce internet prices by 14%. “We strive to be a digital hub for innovation and investment as we demonstrate our commitment to enhancing public and social services for all of our citizens. This historic moment will boost economic growth in Togo too, creating 37,000 new jobs between 2022 and 2025 and increasing economic output by an additional $351 million,” said Cina Lawson, Minister of Digital Economy and Digital Transformation of Togo.