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Ghana raises clean energy capacity by 40%, as gas flows at Sankofa

Production of natural gas has started offshore Ghana, from two of the four deep-water subsea wells in the Sankofa field, connected to the Floating Production, Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessel “John Agyekum Kufuor”

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Production of natural gas has started offshore Ghana, from two of the four deep-water subsea wells in the Sankofa field, connected to the Floating Production, Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessel “John Agyekum Kufuor”.

The gas producing part of the Offshore Cape Three Points (OCTP) Integrated Oil and Gas Project, is scheduled to provide 180Million standard cubic feet per day (MMscf/d) for at least 15 years, “enough to convert to gas 40% of Ghana’s current power generation capacity”, according to a statement by the World Bank.

“After the final steps of commissioning of the offshore facilities, production will gradually flow via a dedicated 60km pipeline to the Onshore Receiving Facility (ORF) in Sanzule, where gas will then be compressed and distributed to Ghana’s national grid”, says ENI, the Italian giant who is the project operator.

The headline price for sale to power generation companies is of $9.8 per Million British Thermal Units ($9.8/MMBtu), or roughly $9.2 per thousand cubic feet ($9.2/Mscf).

Read Also: Egypt’s nuclear power plant to gulp $25 billion

The World Bank is heavily involved in the $7.7Billion OCTP project, largely because of this gas component. The bank helped devise a payment mechanism “that ensured all the receipts from the on-sale of the Sankofa gas to the power sector in Ghana flowed to a single designated account from which the private sponsors would be paid in priority for their share of the gas. Should there be any payment shortfall under the Gas Sales Agreement, the sponsors would be able to access an escrow account funded by GNPC with the equivalent of 4.5 months of gas sales ($205Million)”.

“OCTP is the only deep offshore non-associated gas development in Sub-Saharan Africa entirely destined to domestic consumption”, ENI reports. “The project has a strategic relevance: gas from OCTP can help Ghana shift from oil-fueled power generation to a cleaner power source, with financial as well as environmental benefits, and contribute to the Country’s sustainable economic development”.

ENI operates OCTP with 44.44%. Partners include Vitol 35.56% and GNPC 20%.

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Nigerian court voids tax evasion charges against executives of Binance

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A Nigerian court dismissed tax evasion charges against two executives of Binance on Friday, following the appointment of a local agent by the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world to represent it in all legal proceedings about the accusations.

The accusations of tax evasion were refuted by Binance, Tigran Gambaryan, an American citizen who oversees financial crimes compliance for the company, and Nadeem Anjarwalla, a regional manager for Africa and a native of Kenya.

The court’s ruling, according to Binance, demonstrated that Gambaryan was “not a decision-maker at Binance and does not need to be held for Binance to resolve issues with the Nigerian government.”

“We await the court’s ruling on this, discharging Tigran from this matter completely,” a Binance spokesperson said.

Last month, an Abuja court determined that Gambaryan, who is representing Binance, might potentially face trial in the tax evasion case. When its executives were invited to Nigeria and then detained as part of an anti-crypto campaign, Binance CEO Richard Teng accused the country of setting a dangerous precedent in May. The company is opposing the proceedings because it allegedly evades taxes and launders money.

Binance and its executives, Gambaryan and Nadeem Anjarwalla, a British Kenyan who works as Binance’s regional manager for Africa, are accused of four counts of tax evasion. Failing to register for taxes with Nigeria’s Federal Inland Revenue Service is one of the allegations.

Anjarwalla departed the nation in March, but Gambaryan has been detained since February. The two executives were dropped from the tax evasion lawsuit by Nigeria’s Federal Inland Revenue Service, but they and Binance are still accused of money laundering.

Binance declared that the allegations ought to be withdrawn. Both Anjarwalla and Gambaryan refute these accusations as well.

Nigeria has laid the blame for its currency problems on Binance. The country’s currency sank to a record low as a result of persistent dollar shortages, and cryptocurrency websites became the preferred means of trading the naira.

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Ghana’s bondholders, govt to discuss debt restructuring next week

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Following a deal struck with official creditors earlier this week, Ghana and its bondholders will resume negotiations next week to work out a debt restructuring plan for $13 billion in foreign notes, according to four sources cited by Reuters.

Ghana, a producer of cocoa and gold, failed to pay back the majority of its $30 billion in external debt in 2022 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the conflict in Ukraine, and sharp increases in interest rates worldwide that increased the cost of borrowing. It had initiated formal negotiations in mid-March with two groups of bondholders: one comprising regional African banks and another of Western asset managers and hedge funds.

However, due to the planned deal’s failure to meet the requirements of the International Monetary Fund’s debt sustainability analysis (DSA), negotiations came to a standstill in April. Currently, both parties are under pressure to finalize an agreement before the elections in December.

Hours after the government and official creditors wrapped up their agreement on Tuesday, according to people familiar with the matter who spoke with Reuters, government advisors had gotten in touch with their counterparts at the bondholder organization.

The individuals, who wished to remain anonymous, claimed that the government advisors provided information on both the official creditor agreement and specifics from the most recent debt sustainability review from the IMF.

“People are incentivized,” one of the sources said. “Things can happen quickly.”

An official response is yet to be grated by Ghana’s Finance Ministry on the disclosure. Meanwhile, financial advisors are presently examining the given information, according to two of the sources, who also stated that it will serve as the basis for discussions starting next week.

Prior negotiations to establish an agreement that satisfied the IMF’s debt-sustainability targets, which were outlined in the initial assessment of the fund’s $3 billion loan program with Ghana, broke down with two parties that held about $13 billion of the country’s foreign bonds.

Nevertheless, given that Ghana’s economy has since recovered, two sources stated that they anticipated the agreement would be in line with the fund’s modified DSA in light of the second review’s conclusion in early April.

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