Connect with us

Business News

Comoros oil boom dream hinges on seismic survey

Though the survey is yet to begin, the political oppositions are blunt in their verdict of how the president would treat any discovery.

News Central

Published

on

Comoros oil boom dream hinges on seismic survey

For years, the Comoros islands off the eastern coast of Africa have dreamt of an oil or gas strike -now the first planned seismic survey could reveal if the country’s hopes are about to come true.

The possibility of a lucrative resources boom has gripped Comoros for seven years after then-president, Ikililou Dhoinine awarded a batch of offshore oil and gas exploration permits.

Optimistic residents imagined a future where public coffers overflowed with petrodollars that funded a rapid economic transformation of a country facing deep economic issues.

But any economic miracle has yet to materialise, with only uncertain clues pointing to possible oil or gas deposits 2,000 metres (6,600 feet) below sea level -far beyond the financial means of small-scale exploration companies.

The arrival last year of Tullow Oil changed the game, as the British company boosts a strong record striking deposits in Ghana, Uganda and Kenya.

It has joined up with partner Discover Exploration to explore three underwater blocks covering 16,000 square kilometres (6,200 square miles).

“We are gearing up for a modern 3D seismic survey,” Alexander Mollinger, chief operating officer for Discovery Exploration in Comoros, told AFP.

“This will be Comoros’ first ever 3D seismic survey and represents a significant investment. It is the final exploration activity prior to deciding whether to drill an exploration well.”

‘Significant potential’-

With the survey scheduled for later this year, the prospectors have reason to be confident -the three blocks border on Mozambican waters where US giants Anadarko and Chevron, and Italian firm ENI have hit the largest gas deposits found in the past 20 years.

“There have been no oil or gas discoveries anywhere in the Comoros,” said Mollinger.

“There is no certainty of any commercial accumulations of oil or gas, but we believe based on technical work that these blocks have significant potential.”

Any discovery could transform the politically-unstable country, which is made up of three islands with a population of 800,000 and a per capita annual income of about $800.

The weak economy relies on exports of vanilla, clove and perfume essence, as well as foreign aid and remittance money sent home by overseas workers.

President Azali Assoumani, who was re-elected in March in a vote count rejected by the opposition, has put oil revenue at the centre of his development plans, vowing to make Comoros an “emerging economy” by 2030.

“The first indicators give a lot of hope,” he said during the election campaign. “If we have a united country, this oil can be a springboard for the country’s economy.”

However, he added “oil is not an easy exercise… If we do not have people who can exploit it for the benefit of the population, it is useless.”

Personal wealth?

Such promises to share the wealth have not convinced all everyone in Comoros, and Assoumani is regularly accused of corruption and a dictatorial style.

Foreign diplomats posted to Moroni express concern over how any discovery would be handled.

“If the project progresses, it could get the country out of poverty -in theory,” one told AFP. “But the requirements are huge for Comoros. A gas processing unit costs billions of dollars, and you have to have a credible financial system.”

Though the survey is yet to begin, the political oppositions are blunt in their verdict of how the president would treat any discovery.

“He sees the oil as his personal wealth, not for the country,” said opposition leader Mohamed Ali Soilihi, warning that countries like Venezuela “are full of oil, but the people do not see the benefits”.

Copyright News Central

All rights reserved. This post and other digital content on this website may not be reproduced, published, broadcasted, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from News Central.

New stories delivered to your phone

Click here to have news stories delivered to your phone or mail. You can also share your stories with us. Join our mailing list here.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Business News

Southern African countries reach new trade agreement with Britain

The new agreement will replicate the terms of previous trade on tariffs, quotas, rules of origin and health and safety regulations

Published

on

Southern African countries reach new trade agreement with Britain
South African Minister of Trade and Industry, Ebrahim Patel. (File photo)

South Africa and five other Southern African countries have concluded a new trade agreement with Britain.

The South African Minister of Trade and Industry, Ebrahim Patel say they, together with Lesotho, Eswatini, Namibia, Botswana and Mozambique, made the deal with Britain. The new agreement will govern the bilateral trading relationship between the six countries and Britain after the UK leaves the EU without an agreement or “no-deal Brexit”.

Patel says the South African government have been engaging Britain in the past two years after an announcement to leave the EU and avoid disruption to the country’s exports.

“I am pleased that we have concluded this agreement with the United Kingdom”, he said.

The new agreement will replicate the terms of previous trade on tariffs, quotas, rules of origin and health and safety regulations.

“We are pleased that regardless of the outcomes of these processes, our trading relationship with the United Kingdom can continue without disruption. This is important for the thousands of South African workers whose jobs are dependent on this trade and for the investors who have utilized South Africa as an export base to Britain and the rest of the world”, says Patel.

In 2018, Britain was the fourth largest destination for South African exports, with bilateral trade between the two countries amounting to more than $9.3 billion.

Copyright News Central

All rights reserved. This post and other digital content on this website may not be reproduced, published, broadcasted, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from News Central.

New stories delivered to your phone

Click here to have news stories delivered to your phone or mail. You can also share your stories with us. Join our mailing list here.

Continue Reading

Business News

Somalia’s economy to grow by 2.9% -World Bank

Tax collection by the government increased by 29 per cent last year, as the economy recovered from a drought the previous year

Published

on

Somalia’s economy to grow by 2.9% -World Bank

Somalia’s economy is expected to grow by 2.9 per cent this year, from 2.8 per cent last year, before growth quickens to 3.2-3.5 per cent in the medium term, the World Bank said on Monday.

The country has been in turmoil since 1991, when clan warlords overthrew President Siad Barre and then turned on each other. Over the past decade, it has been hit by famine and sporadic terror attacks by al Qaeda-linked militant group Al-Shabaab.

The higher growth forecast for the next three-to-five years would depend on the country being able to sustain its current economic reform momentum, the World Bank said in a statement.

Tax collection by the government increased by 29 per cent last year, as the economy recovered from a drought the previous year and the government changes its tax policies, the World Bank said.

“While this progress is encouraging, the available fiscal space remains insufficient to meet expenditure needs for education and health sectors,” the bank said.

It asked the government to form a fund dedicated to education to allow authorities in Mogadishu to mobilise more cash from regional states and other partners to support learning.

In May, the International Monetary Fund said Somalia’s economy was on the right track but warned that it was still vulnerable to fragile security, climate change and poverty.

Copyright News Central

All rights reserved. This post and other digital content on this website may not be reproduced, published, broadcasted, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from News Central.

New stories delivered to your phone

Click here to have news stories delivered to your phone or mail. You can also share your stories with us. Join our mailing list here.

Continue Reading

Business News

Sierra Leone to launch National blockchain Identification system

The new project has strengthened the country’s blockchain technology, which had been used to carry out presidential elections in 2018

Published

on

Sierra Leone to launch National blockchain Identification system
Sierra Leone president Julius Maada Bio. (Photo by Sia KAMBOU / AFP)

The Government of Sierra Leone plans to fully adopt a blockchain-based national identity system by the end of 2019.

The new project has strengthened the country’s blockchain technology, which had been used to carry out presidential elections in 2018.

In partnership with the United Nations, Sierra Leonean President, Julius Maada Bio, says the new infrastructure will allow financial institutions to verify identities and create credit histories for their customers.

The new project, called the National Digital Identity Platform (NDIP), is a collaboration between the United Nations (UN) and the non-profit, Kiva, a key technology partner based in San Francisco and Sierra Leone since September.

According to the report, the NDIP will be implemented in two main phases. The first relates to the digitization of identity.

The second should be completed by the end of the year and involve the creation of non-repeatable, non-reusable and generally recognized national identification numbers.

The president said access to blockchain’s financial and credit facilities could significantly improve the lives of citizens of the country and make them more economically resilient. He said the new national identification system “directly translates into citizens who have access to affordable credit for business investment.”

President Maada Bio emphasizes the platform’s high-security standards, stating that each resident’s data will be stored with the national civil registry and kept strictly confidential, in accordance with international norms and practices.

He also notes that the platform’s ability to write new data modification records is one of the key advantages of implementing blockchain technology. With elections and digital identity, blockchain will become a multisectoral solution in Sierra Leone, with more than 85 per cent of the population having no access to the internet and at least 75 per cent having no bank accounts.

Copyright News Central

All rights reserved. This post and other digital content on this website may not be reproduced, published, broadcasted, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from News Central.

New stories delivered to your phone

Click here to have news stories delivered to your phone or mail. You can also share your stories with us. Join our mailing list here.

Continue Reading

Trending