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Savannah case: N'Djamena's Ambassador returns to Yaoundé, crisis officially over

Savannah case: N'Djamena's Ambassador returns to Yaoundé, crisis officially over
  • Comments   -   Wednesday, 07 June 2023 18:28

(Business in Cameroon) - Chad's ambassador to Cameroon, Djidda Moussa Outhman (pictured), returns to Yaoundé today after he left his position on April 20 due to “a dispute over the Cameroon-Chad pipeline”. This good news announced by Ibrahim Adam Mahamat, spokesman for the Chadian Foreign Ministry, marks the official end of the dispute.

As a reminder Tensions started between the two partners after the Chadian government, in an April 20 statement, expressed its dissatisfaction with the recent developments in the management of the pipeline. The country found it unfair that the Cameroonian national hydrocarbons company (SNH) and the British Savannah Energy signed an agreement under which SNH will acquire 10% of Savannah Midstream’s (subsidiary of Savannah Energy) shares in Cameroon Oil Transportation Company (Cotco). N'Djamena said this agreement reflects a new rapprochement between Cameroon and its "enemy," especially since they pledged in their agreement to "support each other".

The agreement particularly triggered Chad’s anger, insofar as, through the deal between SNH and Savannah Energy, Cameroon implicitly recognizes the British junior's ownership of the Chadian oil assets purchased from Exxon Mobil. N’Djamena has therefore nationalized the assets in question to halt the deal. N'Djamena is also criticizing the Cameroonian authorities for failing to issue a no-objection to the Cemac Competition Council to facilitate the acquisition of Petronas’ assets in Chad by the Chadian oil and gas corporation (SHT). This transaction will enable Chad to take control of Cotco, with 53.7% of the capital.

The SNH-Savannah Energy deal

On April 26, 2023, Cameroonian President Paul Biya sent the Secretary General of the Presidency of the Republic (SGPR), Ferdinand Ngoh Ngoh, to N'Djamena to hand over a sealed envelope to General Mahamat Deby Itno. “We have talked with Chadian authorities. All the issues have been addressed and the misunderstandings cleared up,” the envoy said, suggesting that the situation was already under control. On May 11, 2023, the Cemac Competition Council gave the green light for the deal between SHT and Petronas, thus confirming that Cameroon had finally issued a no-objection. Four days later, the then President of the Cemac Commission, Daniel Ona Ondo, signed the decision authorizing the deal.

However, the Cemac authorities' approval is subject to a series of commitments to be made by the Chadian party to ensure that its dominant position does not harm the interests of the other parties involved. Indeed, Cemac authorities demand that part of the Chadian shares in Cotco be transferred to Cameroon. According to reliable sources, the details of this transaction were discussed during a recent mission to Yaoundé led by Gali Ngothé Gatta, Minister Secretary General of the Presidency of the Republic of Chad. The mission focused on the deal between SNH and Savannah Energy and ways to avoid triggering a new crisis with Chad, whose intention is to expel Savannah Energy completely from Cotco's shareholding.

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