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South African waters drawing in energy companies

European energy companies among those showing interest in basins in southern African waters. Statoil and Eni add Mozambique acreage to their portfolios. Photo by James Jones Jr./UPI STAVANGER, Norway, Oct. 30 (UPI) — Southern African waters drew more interest from energy explorers with Norway’s Statoil and Italy’s Eni wading into Mozambique waters. Statoil and Eni were among those winning bids to explore for potential reserves in the waters off the coast of Mozambique, where depths range from 650 feet to 5,900 feet. Nick Maden, a regional exploration director for Statoil, said Mozambique waters are among the more promising frontier basins in the area , where the oil potential is said to be "significant." "The position strengthens and develops our global exploration portfolio," he said in statement. Eni last year said it discovered natural gas in a well in an area off the Mozambique coast thought to hold 85 trillion […]

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Chevron Sees Additional South African Oil Refinery Causing Glut

South Africa doesn’t need another oil refinery because the slowing economy has curbed demand and the country has ample gasoline production, said Shash Rabbipal, the new chairman at the local unit of Chevron Corp., the second-largest U.S. energy company. “Should another refinery be built, it would mean that the country would have to increase its exports of products and this would mean a change from the current practice of ensuring that supply catered mainly for local demand,” Rabbipal, 47, said Friday in an interview in Cape Town. He has worked for Chevron for 25 years and was appointed to the post last week. The six South African refineries, including San Ramon, California-based Chevron’s Cape Town facility, process a combined 703,000 barrels of crude a day, exceeding demand, according to Rabbipal. State-owned PetroSA Ltd. proposes a new plant on the south coast that would be the biggest on the continent […]

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Power Outages Dim South Africa’s Prospects

SOWETO, South Africa—Residents of this sprawling township famous for its resistance to white-minority rule are fighting a battle they thought consigned to history: keeping the lights on. National power company Eskom Holdings Ltd. is reeling from years of underinvestment and poor management, surrendering to power outages that frequently plunge Soweto’s 1.3 million residents into darkness. Nonayona Mkeshana and her neighbors have resorted to cooking over open fires and singing and dancing in the street now that television sets have gone dark. “We’ve had to get used to it, to survive,” said Ms. Mkeshana, a 59-year-old grandmother who lives with her son and his children. South Africa’s Treasury on Wednesday said it sold its stake in mobile company Vodacom Group Ltd. VOD -1.87 % to raise $2 billion to keep Eskom solvent. Chief Executive Brian Molefe said blackouts could continue for months as Eskom catches up on years of neglected […]

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Power Outages Mar South Africa’s Economic Expansion

ENLARGE DRDGOLD sends 60,000 tons of sludge through its machinery every day to extract traces of gold at its processing plant in Brakpan, South Africa. Photo: Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg News BRAKPAN, South Africa—It takes a lot of power to extract traces of gold from the 60,000 tons of sludge DRDGOLD Ltd. DRD -4.05 % sends through its machinery here each day. That is something that the Johannesburg-based company hasn’t been able to count on recently. “It’s a worrying thing that you’ve got to watch all the time,” said Niël Pretorius, DRDGOLD’s chief executive. South Africa used to be one of the few countries on the continent where most people had reliable access to electricity. But a lack of maintenance and investment has pushed state-run power provider Eskom Holdings Ltd. into a daily crisis as it struggles to meet demand. Blackouts are threatening to drive Africa’s second-largest economy off a cliff, […]

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Sasol Cuts 1,500 Jobs as Oil Price Slumps

ENLARGE South African petrochemicals company Sasol Ltd. has cut 1,500 jobs and said more will go, the latest layoffs in a global oil sector contending with the commodity’s price rout. Head count at the company will be “dramatically down” by June, with Sasol pressing ahead with steep cuts in capital spending and a reduction in its annual dividend, Chief Executive David Constable said. But Mr. Constable said the scale of the industry’s cutbacks are such that they might catapult oil prices higher again in 2017 after their roughly 50% slide since last summer. “The capital projects that we’re cutting back on—that the majors are cutting back on—these projects take years and years to start back up. You don’t flip the switch,” he said in an interview. “That’s what could give you a high-side well above 100 [dollars a barrel],” he said. Sasol itself has “put on the shelf…until further […]

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Zuma Seeks Nuclear Power to Solve South Africa’s Energy Crisis

(Bloomberg) — South African President Jacob Zuma said his priority is to solve the energy crisis in the country that’s curbing output at mines and factories and stifling economic growth, including adding more nuclear power by 2023. “We will pursue gas, petroleum, nuclear, hydropower and other sources as part of the energy mix,” Zuma, 72, said in his annual state-of-the-nation speech in Parliament in Cape Town on Thursday. “The country is currently experiencing serious energy constraints which are an impediment to economic growth and is a major inconvenience to everyone in the country.” Zuma’s speech follows nine consecutive days of rolling blackouts implemented as demand for power outstripped supply. State utility Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd., which provides 95 percent of the nation’s electricity, has warned of almost-daily blackouts until the end of April. The power crisis has soured investor appetite for South Africa’s currency and debt. The rand reached […]

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