- Brazil's national energy company Petrobras finally has demonstrated interest in the upcoming oil exploitation offshore São Tomé and Príncipe after having been invited to the country for years. Petrobras, which already operates in neighbouring Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea, sent a delegation to negotiate business terms with São Tomé authorities.
The Petrobras delegation went to the fellow Portuguese speaking archipelago before the weekend and had talks with São Toméan Natural Resources Minister Luís Moreira da Silva. The aim of the talks, Petrobras representatives told the news agency Pana, was to "effectuate businesses as soon as possible."
After the talks it however remained undisclosed how Petrobras was to enter in the São Toméan oil sector. Although invited by the government, Petrobras has so far not participated in any bid round to explore or exploit oil in São Toméan waters. There were also no tenders from Petrobras as seven oil blocks in the joint development zone shared by Nigeria and São Tomé and Príncipe last year were offered to international oil companies.
For the São Tomé government, it has however been of diplomatic importance to recruit the Brazilian oil giant to its still unexploited offshore oil fields. Brazil and São Tomé are strongly connected in the Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries (CPLP), where Portugal and Brazil are the main investors.
During the state visit of Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in São Tomé in November last year, his counterpart, President Fradique de Menezes had urged for Brazilian investments in his country's oil sector. The São Toméan President told President Lula that he had been disappointed as there had so far been no bid by Petrobras to exploit São Toméan oil.
While the Brazilian President at that stage could not promise any future tenders by Petrobras, the two Heads of State nevertheless signed an agreement regarding technical aid to develop the São Toméan oil sector. Brazil's National Petroleum Agency (ANP) since has assisted São Toméan authorities in creating a legal base for the national oil industry.
The Brazilian government since that is believed to have pressured the Petrobras executive to look into business possibilities in São Tomé. Petrobras is believed to enter the São Toméan market in cooperation with Chinese partner oil companies that already operate offshore the archipelago.
Petrobras is already heavily involved in the Gulf of Guinea. Its largest operations in the region are in Angola, accounting for almost 5 percent of the Brazilian company's foreign oil production. Petrobras is also involved offshore Nigeria and in a shared Nigerian-Equatoguinean zone, both operations being close to São Tomé's offshore zone.
afrol News - It is called "financial inclusion", and it is a key government policy in Rwanda. The goal is that, by 2020, 90 percent of the population is to have and actively use bank accounts. And in only four years, financial inclusion has doubled in Rwanda.
afrol News - The UN's humanitarian agencies now warn about a devastating famine in Sudan and especially in South Sudan, where the situation is said to be "imploding". Relief officials are appealing to donors to urgently fund life-saving activities in the two countries.
afrol News - Fear is spreading all over West Africa after the health ministry in Guinea confirmed the first Ebola outbreak in this part of Africa. According to official numbers, at least 86 are infected and 59 are dead as a result of this very contagious disease.
afrol News - It is already a crime being homosexual in Ethiopia, but parliament is now making sure the anti-gay laws will be applied in practical life. No pardoning of gays will be allowed in future, but activist fear this only is a signal of further repression being prepared.
afrol News / Africa Renewal - Ethiopia's ambitious plan to build a US$ 4.2 billion dam in the Benishangul-Gumuz region, 40 km from its border with Sudan, is expected to provide 6,000 megawatts of electricity, enough for its population plus some excess it can sell to neighbouring countries.