Angola state oil firm probes $38m Dubai company payment

Isabel dos Santos said that she had made her own wealth. (Reuters)
Updated 06 March 2018
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Angola state oil firm probes $38m Dubai company payment

LUANDA: Isabel dos Santos, daughter of Angola’s former president, has denied allegations of suspicious activity during her tenure as head of state oil firm Sonangol made by the current chair of the company, describing them as “slanderous.”
Dos Santos, ranked Africa’s wealthiest woman by Forbes, said in a statement issued late on Sunday that she would take all measures to protect her reputation and rejected accusations of wrongdoing made by Sonangol Chairman Carlos Saturnino last week.
Saturnino said an internal audit at Sonangol uncovered a transaction of $38 million made to a Dubai-headquartered company that was approved by dos Santos after she had been dismissed from Sonangol.
Dos Santos said the payment was “totally legitimate” and made for consultancy services, adding that under Angolan law, dismissed public officials are obliged to continue in their roles until a replacement is sworn in.
No payments were approved by the old board after the new one had been sworn in, she said.
“The attempts of Carlos Saturnino to rewrite history are the result, in my understanding, of a return to the culture of irresponsibility and dishonesty which sunk Sonangol in the first place,” dos Santos said.
Angola’s public prosecutor’s office said on Friday it had opened an investigation into the alleged events described by Saturnino at Sonangol — the most important company in a country that relies on oil for 95 percent of its exports.
President João Lourenço has promised to tackle graft since he took over from Jose Eduardo dos Santos last September, though this is the first high-profile investigation against a member of the Angolan elite. Another question raised by Saturnino concerned why a joint venture partner was allowed to repay a euro-denominated debt in Angolan kwanza, on which there exists a large arbitrage between official and street rates.
Dos Santos said the partnership dated back to well before her tenure and had been a successful business venture.


Adnoc signs deal with Eni on Ghasha concession

Updated 13 November 2018
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Adnoc signs deal with Eni on Ghasha concession

  • ADNOC grants Eni 25 percent stake in ultra sour gas project
  • Follows Adnoc award to France's Total

LONDON: The Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) has granted the Italian oil company Eni a 25 percent stake in an off-shore gas mega-project, in a move that will support the emirate’s efforts to become self-sufficient in gas.
The energy company is now in discussions with other potential partners for the remaining 15 percent of the available 40 percent stake in the concession earmarked for foreign companies.
The award covers the Ghasha ultra-sour gas concession just off the coast of the UAE, including the Hail and Dalma and other offshore fields. Eni will contribute 25 percent of the development cost of the project which is likely to cost billions of dollars.
The deal comes just days after ADNOC awarded a 40 percent stake to French oil firm Total on Nov. 11 to explore and develop its Ruwais Diyab unconventional gas concession.
The Ghasha gas fields are estimated to hold trillions of standard cubic feet of recoverable gas, according to a company statement.
Once on stream, the project is expected to produce more than 1.5 billion cubic feet of gas per day. This could provide enough gas to supply electricity to more than 2 million homes, said ADNOC.
The project is set to produce 120,000 barrels of oil and high-value condensate per day once complete, the company said.
“ADNOC is committed to ensuring a stable and economic gas supply to the UAE, which is a core component of our 2030 strategy,” said Sultan Ahmed Al-Jaber, UAE minister of state and ADNOC group CEO.
“Development of our Hail, Ghasha and Dalma ultra-sour gas offshore resources, at commercial rates, will make a significant contribution towards delivering that strategic imperative and bringing forward the day when the UAE will not only be self-sufficient in gas but also transitions to net exporter of gas,” he said.
Eni won its first concession rights in the emirate’s oil and gas sector earlier this year, with Adnoc granting the Italian firm a 10 percent interest in its Umm Shaif and Nasr concession and a 5 percent stake in the Lower Zakum concession in March.
“We are pursuing a strategy of growing in the Middle East and today’s signature is further confirmation of our willingness to root our presence in Abu Dhabi,
following the agreements signed last March, with Adnoc,” said Eni CEO, Claudio Descalzi, in a statement.
ADNOC is exploring opportunities beyond Abu Dhabi, having also signed a framework agreement with the Uzbek energy company, Uzbekneftegaz on Tuesday.
The agreement will see the Gulf company provide advice on Uzbekistan’s upstream and downstream operations.