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Equatorial Guinea (2012)

Source: REEEP Policy Database (contributed by SERN for REEEP)

This policy & regulatory overview is not updated anymore since 2015. We decided to keep it online due to high demand but would like to make you aware of the fact that it might be outdated.

Energy sources

Total installed electricity capacity (2008): 31 MW
Thermal: 96.77%
Hydro-electric: 3.23%

Total primary energy supply (2008): 2,286 ktoe

Equatorial Guinea is the third-largest producer of crude oil in sub-Saharan Africa, after Nigeria and Angola. Foreign investment, primarily by U.S. companies, has been poured into the country's oil sector in recent years.  Proven oil reserves are estimated at 1.1 billion barrels.

The Zafiro field is Equatorial Guinea's largest oil producer, with output rising from 7,000 bbl/d in 1996 to approximately 280,000 bbl/d by 2004. Ceiba, the country’s second major producing oil field, is estimated to contain 300 million barrels of oil. Reserves at Alba,Equatorial Guinea's third significant field, are estimated at almost 1 billion barrels of oil equivalent. Unlike the Zafiro or Ceiba fields, exploration and production at Alba has focused on natural gas, including condensates.

Natural gas reserves are located offshore, near Bioko Island, in the Alba and Zafiro fields. Natural gas and condensate production expanded rapidly in the 5-years following investments in the Alba gas field. The field contains 1.3 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of proven reserves, with probable reserves estimated 4.4 Tcf.

The gas-fired power plant in Punta Europa, the extension of which was finished in 2004, has four turbines that can generate 28 MW. An additional 4 MW of generation capacity has been built at the methanol complex on Bioko Island. The Riaba dam, which has been in operation since 1989, is another source of power on Bioko. The mainland region is supplied by thermal plants, which are connected to a network that works independently from the one on Bioko Island. The government started a major rehabilitation and expansion of the electricity grid in Bioko in 2007 but few areas outside the main towns receive a regular supply of electricity.

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Reliance

Despite Equatorial Guinea’s large oil reserves and output, the country has no petroleum refinery. It imports all of its refined petroleum products, which are sold at prices set by the government.  The country also imports electricity from Cameroon. Oil imports in 2007 were an estimated 55 ktoe.

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Extend network

The national electrification rate stands at 15%. The government started a major rehabilitation and expansion of the electricity grid in Bioko in 2007, but few areas outside the main towns receive a regular electricity supply. The mainland region is supplied by thermal plants, which are connected to a network that works independently from the one on Bioko Island. Roughly 80 miles of high-tension transmission cable constitute the country's electricity network.

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Capacity concerns

Equatorial Guinea's electricity generating capacity is now more than adequate to meet demand on both the continent and the island of Bioko, although the power supply is unreliable. The country's distribution network remains incapable of delivering reliable electricity to end users, due to ageing equipment and poor management, as demonstrated by regular blackouts in Malabo, the capital. As a result, illegal connections are widespread and small diesel generators are widely used as a back-up power source. The project to modernise the electricity grid continued during 2010.

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Renewable energy

Solar energy
Average daily horizontal irradiation is 2.0-2.5 kWh/m2/day, primarily due to the dense biomass coverage in the country. This solar potential is generally unsuitable for large-scale power generation, but could be exploited for thermal water heating, for example.

Wind energy
Sites have been identified in the south of the mainland as having average wind speeds of ~6.0 m/s at 80m, indicating a good potential for wind power generation. However, as yet, there are no major wind power projects operational in the country.

Biomass energy
With an estimated biomass potential of 400 tonnes/ha or more, Equatorial Guinea has extensive biomass coverage. Potential for bioenergy in conjunction with carbon capture and storage has been recognised.

Geothermal energy
No study has yet been performed to investigate the geothermal potential of the country. Bioko island is volcanically-derived, and hence may be suitable for further geothermal exploration.

Hydropower
Equatorial Guinea is estimated to have 2,600 MW of hydropower potential. It is estimated that roughly half of this is economically exploitable, indicating a good potential for further hydropower uptake in the country. However, in 2008 hydroelectricity only had a installed capacity base of 1 MW, which also constituted the total installed capacity for renewable energy in the country.

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Energy efficiency

Energy consumption per capita stands at 3.47 toe, considerably higher than the country's neighbours. The country has also been involved in energy efficiency workshops run by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, as part of the Global Energy Efficiency 21 program. Measures are also in place to reduce the flaring of gas from the country's oil-production facilities, in an effort to improve efficiency.

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Ownership

Electricity market
Equatorial Guinea’s electricity sector is owned and operated by Sociedad de Electricidad de Guinea Ecuatorial (SEGESA), in which the government holds a 62% stake and a Spanish company, Infinsa, the remaining 38%.

SEGESA, the state monopoly provider, has an electricity grid in need of upgrading. Illegal connections are widespread, and as a result, power supply is unreliable.   Generous subsidies to small consumers also contribute towards SEGESA’s financial difficulties.

Gas market
Equatorial Guinea has large reserves of natural gas, estimated at 1.3 trillion cubic feet - equivalent to 28.3 years of output at the 2006 level. The bulk of the gas reserves are located offshore from Bioko Island. Eon of Germany, Fenosa of Spain and Galp Energia of Portugal have formed a consortium to  work with Sonagas, the state-owned natural gas company, to construct a network of pipelines and processing facilities on Bioko to export natural gas to Europe. In return, the companies will receive long-term natural gas contracts. Eon will own 25%, Fenonsa and Galp Energia will each own 5%, Sonagas will have a 50% interest and the remainder will be owned by the government.

Liquid fuels market
In 2002, GEPetrol was established as Equatorial Guinea's national oil company. Since 2002, its primary focus has been managing the government's stakes in Production Sharing Contracts (PSCs) with foreign oil companies. GEPetrol also partners with foreign firms to undertake exploration.

The major oil companies in the country include ExxonMobil, Chevron, Texaco, Sasol Petroleum (South Africa), Glencore (Switzerland), Petrobras (Brazil), the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (India), the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and the China National Offshore Oil Company (CNOOC). Getotal, jointly owned by Total and the government, has a monopoly on the distribution of petroleum products, all imported due to a lack of refining capacity.

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Competition

Equatorial Guinea's electricity sector is owned and operated by the state-run vertically-integrated monopoly SEGESA. The government would like to privatise SEGESA, as a joint venture with a foreign utility, but investors have shown little interest. State involvement in the petroleum and natural gas sectors of the country is also high; GEPetrol and Sonagas are mandated to own at least a 35% interest in all energy projects.

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Energy framework

The Hydrocarbons Law No.8/2006 establishes the state ownership of all mineral resources in the country, and the need for ministerial permissions before petroleum operations can occur. The law also details the environmental responsibilities of petroleum companies operating in the country, and a comprehensive framework for natural gas operations.

There is no dedicated framework for promoting renewable energy. National energy policy is confined to the Hydrocarbons Law.

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Energy debates

Current energy debate is centred on the continued expansion of Liquefied Natural Gas on Bioko island by Marathon Oil and the government. Expansion of the electricity grid on Bioko was planned to be completed by the end of 2010, yet few areas outside of the main towns receive a regular electricity supply.

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Energy studies

Equatorial Guinea is member of the Central African Power Pool (CAPP), created by the countries of Central Africa in April 2003 - a body of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS). The vision of the CAPP is to use the Central African hydroelectric potential, estimated at more than 650 TWh/year (52 % of all African potential) through the interconnection of national networks. The main objectives of CAPP are to :

  • Enforce energy policy at the regional level.
  • Promote and develop power trade and ancillary services.
  • Increase access to electricity to populations and reduce poverty.
  • Create a free regional electricity market.
  • Improve electricity system reliability and quality of supply in the whole region.
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Role of government

The Ministry of Mines, Industry and Energy (http://www.equatorialoil.com/) is the legislative agency responsible for all matters relating to minerals, petroleum, industry and energy supplies.

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Government agencies

No government agencies take an active role in the promotion of, or research into, sustainable energy.

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Energy procedure

  • Light for Everyone

The government’s “Light for Everyone” programme aims to connect the whole country with a constant, quality, and low-cost electricity current for everyone.  It aims to eliminate once and for all the shortage of electricity in large cities.

SEGESA has been benefiting from the government’s cooperation with Chinese companies and has also established cooperation with Cuba on the exchange of technical knowhow, in order to ramp up its network.

Electricity demand has expanded rapidly in recent years owing to higher income levels and increased economic activity in the non-oil sector. Demand is expected to continue to rise rapidly in the next five years, as the government has ambitious plans to expand social housing. The government intends to meet this demand by building new gas-fired power stations and investing in the construction of new dams.

Work is ongoing on the Djibloho hydroelectric plant project on the Wele River near Añisok, Centro-Sur province. The project is destined to play a key role in the government's efforts to diversify its energy resources and improve the supply of electricity in the country. The plant was designed by a Chinese firm, Yellow River Engineering Consulting, and is being constructed by another company from China, Sinohydro, at a cost of around USD 5 million, which will reportedly be funded with money borrowed from China. The first phase of the project was scheduled for completion in November 2011.

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Energy regulator

The Ministry of Mines, Industry and Energy is responsible for regulating the energy sector in the country.

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Degree of independence

The Ministry is a subsidiary of the government of Equatorial Guinea, reporting directly to the President. Funding is allocated via the national budget.

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Regulatory framework

The Forest Laws 1997 and 1999 both contain regulations to ensure the sustainable use of the nation's biomass resources.

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Regulatory roles

The government approves electricity tariffs, which are heavily subsidised. The Ministry of Mines, Industry and Energy is responsible for promoting standards in the energy sector.

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Energy regulation role

The Ministry of Environment and Fishing is active in promoting the sustainable use of Equatorial Guinea's forest resources, including the drafting of laws governing the forestry sector, as well as being active in rural development programs.

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Regulatory barriers

The continued expansion of the national grid is a necessity for Equatorial Guinea's continued development. The establishment of an independent regulatory agency for the energy sector would speed this process through supervision.

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References

Foreign Affairs (issue May – June 2011) Equatorial Guinea: The Future Vision. Available at http://www.foreignaffairs.com/files/attachments/EG-report.pdf [Accessed 5th September 2013]

African Economic Outlook (2011) Equatorial Guinea Available at: http://www.africaneconomicoutlook.org/fileadmin/uploads/aeo/Country_Notes/2011/Full/Equatorial%20Guinea.pdf [Accessed 5th September 2013]

Economist Intelligence Unit (2009) Equatorial Guinea electricity: Sub-sector update Available at: http://www.eiu.com/index.asp?layout=ib3Article&article_id=1494998934&country_id=230000023&pubtypeid=1142462499&industry_id=630001063&category_id=&rf=0 [Accessed 5th September 2013, Subscribers only]

Economist Intelligence Unit (2012): Industry Briefing, Equatorial Guinea electricity: Sub-sector update, Available at:
www.eiu.com/index.asp?layout=ib3PrintArticle&article_id=1078932292&printer=printer [Accessed 5th September 2013, Subscribers only]

Energici (2010) Equatorial Guinea: Energy Profile http://www.energici.com/energy-profiles/by-country/africa-a-l/equatorial-guinea [Accessed 5th September 2013]

U.S. Department of State (2012) Background Note: Equatorial Guinea, Available at: http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/7221.htm [Accessed 5th September 2013]

eStandardsForum (2009) Country Brief: Equatorial Guinea, Avalaible at: http://www.slideshare.net/sosmalabo/brief-equatorial-guinea [Accessed 5th September 2013] Close References