Furuta-Toy honored to serve as ambassador

December 24th , 2015 → 8:13 am @

Posted by www.equatorialguineaonline.com

December 24th, 2015

Julie Furuta-Toy

Julie Furuta-Toy

Julie Furuta-Toy currently is enjoying the holidays at her home in Wapiti, but when the new year begins she will travel to Equatorial Guinea to serve as U.S. ambassador.

Furuta-Toy, 55, was unanimously confirmed by the Senate as the Ambassador to the Republic of Equatorial Guinea on Oct. 22. She was sworn in Nov. 23.

“It’s an honor to be nominated to be an ambassador and to go out and represent the U.S. in any country,” she said.

Furuta-Toy followed her husband Steve Toy into the U.S. Foreign Service. He joined in 1984 and she followed two years later. They served together until 2009 but remained stationed near each other until his retirement in 2011.

Toy had always wanted to live near the Rocky Mountains and began searching for the perfect home shortly after retirement. The couple found it near Wapiti in 2012 along the Shoshone River and about 30 miles from Yellowstone National Park.

“We’ve always gone to different national parks but kept coming back to Yellowstone,” she said. “The nature in Wyoming can’t be beat. One of the things we do best in this country is our national parks.”

Furuta-Toy spent much of last summer in Wapiti and tries to get back a few times each year.

“I enjoy hiking around our place,” she said.

Toy lives in Wapiti full time but the couple usually meet somewhere every three to four months. They have two adult children.

Furuta-Toy earned a B.A. from the University of California-Riverside in 1981 and an M.A. from Indiana University-Bloomington in 1984. Later she received an M.S. from the National Defense University in 2004.

During a 29-year career in the Foreign Service she has worked in Oslo, Norway; Ghana, Africa; Moscow, Russia; Mumbai, India; Port-au-Prince, Haiti; and Manila, Philippines. She speaks Spanish and Russian.

“It’s a great career and has given me the opportunity to move around the world and see how people relate to each other,” she said.

Each posting lasts about 3-4 years.

“Every time I move it’s a culture shock,” she said. “The actual moving part is the part I hate. There’s always a box that I wonder why I packed and shipped.

“Every country handles things differently. About six months in I take a step back and look at what is striking now that I didn’t see before.”

She’s also served in the Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs as director in both the Office of Children’s Issues and the Office of Public and Diplomatic Liaison. In Washington, she has served in the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs and in the Bureau of Personnel.

“Becoming an ambassador is not something I thought I’d be doing when I went in [to the Foreign Service],” she said.

Ambassadors are nominated by the President and must be confirmed by the Senate.

“It was nerve-racking going up in front of the Senate because it’s not something you do every day, but it was a fun experience,” she said.

Furuta-Toy said she was pleased to meet both of Wyoming’s senators. She met Sen. John Barrasso on Oct. 1 at her confirmation hearing with the Senate Foreign Relations’ Subcommittee on African Affairs. Barrasso serves on the committee. She visited with Mike Enzi before the hearing.

“I was able to talk about my skills as a Foreign Service officer and my relationship with Wyoming,” she said.

Since she was confirmed she has been busy preparing for her new position by speaking with agencies that do business in Equatorial Guinea and finding out what their concerns are.

As ambassador she will focus on the bilateral relationship between the U.S. and Equatorial Guinea, ensuring American citizens and businesses are afforded rights.

“I’ll be making sure to maintain our relations to advance the goals we have,” she said. “I’ll also make sure we understand what the country has as its goals.”

She ensures American officers serving in the embassy are secure and able to conduct U.S. business as well.

When she arrives Furuta-Toy will present her credentials, which include a letter from President Obama, to the government. Once her credentials are accepted she can begin work. The posting lasts three years.

 

Category : 3. Read Recent News / News

EQUATORIAL GUINEA SET TO DIVERSIFY ECONOMY

December 3rd , 2015 → 9:14 am @

Posted by www.equatorialguineaonline.com – December 3rd, 2015

 

Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, Equatorial Guinea’s minister of mines, industry and energy

Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, Equatorial Guinea’s minister of mines, industry and energy

Equatorial Guinea is one of the top crude exporters in Sub-Saharan Africa with daily production just below 300,000 barrels a day. At the just concluded 2015 West Africa Energy Assembly in Lagos, CNBC Africa’s Wole Famurewa caught up with Gabriel Obiang Lima, the country’s Mines Industry and Energy Minister and talk about how the country is reinventing itself in the current environment.

See video:

http://www.cnbcafrica.com/video/?bctid=4643827917001

 

Category : 3. Read Recent News / Business / News

Equatorial Guinea Expands Scope of Major Crude Oil and Petroleum Tank Farm Project

November 3rd , 2015 → 6:12 am @

Posted by equatorialguineaonline.com – November 3rd, 2015
upgrade

Minister of Mines, Industry and Energy announces the signing of an MoU that significantly expands the scope of the planned Bioko Oil Terminal project

The Ministry of Mines, Industry and Energy, representing the Government of Equatorial Guinea, announced today that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with three companies to build a crude oil and petroleum products storage tank farm on Bioko Island, Equatorial Guinea.

In an expansion of the previous project plan, the Bioko Oil Terminal will incorporate a significant amount of crude oil storage space, as well as storage for associated petroleum products. It will serve the Gulf of Guinea region and facilitate processing and export to consumers regionally and globally. The MoU establishes the terms of cooperation among the Ministry and the three companies.

The Ministry of Mines, Industry and Energy of Equatorial Guinea, Taleveras Group, Gunvor Group and the Strategic Fuel Fund will jointly participate in the Bioko Oil Terminal development. The tank farm will be operated by the Strategic Fuel Fund, which operates Saldanha Bay in South Africa, one of the world’s largest petroleum storage facilities.

Upon announcing the new MoU, Minister of Mines, Industry and Energy H.E. Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima stated: “The Bioko Oil Terminal will serve the enormous demand for storage in the currently underserved Gulf of Guinea region.This is a definitive step forward for our nation’s petroleum industry and economic diversification agenda. We are proud to announce that the national bank of Equatorial Guinea, BANGE, will be involved in the financing of the project.”

Category : 3. Read Recent News / Business / News

Oil price plunge: Equatorial Guinea wants to diversify economy

November 2nd , 2015 → 6:31 am @

Posted by www.equatorialguineaonline.com – November 2, 2015

Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, Equatorial Guinea’s minister of mines, industry and energy

Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, Equatorial Guinea’s minister of mines, industry and energy

Equatorial Guinea is one of sub-Saharan Africa’s largest oil producers. However, with the price of crude down roughly 50% over the past year, the country is looking to diversify its economy. How we made it in Africa spoke to Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima – minister of mines, industry and energy – on the sidelines of the Africa Oil Week conference in Cape Town. Below are edited excerpts.

How is the government of Equatorial Guinea responding to the low oil price?

We still produce the same volume of oil, but the problem is the price has gone down. We’ve had to reduce our government budget twice – we did it in January and then we have done it again in the summer – because the price of oil has kept going down.

The drop in the oil price is both a good and a bad thing. It is a bad thing because it means less revenue for the country. But it is a good thing because it is a wake-up call for countries like Equatorial Guinea to understand that we need to diversify our economy. We need to think of other resources that can allow us to move forward. We have invested heavily in infrastructure such as ports, electricity, water and housing. The country needs to focus on sectors such as hospitality, agriculture, services and telecoms.

We have built a new capital, it is called Djibloho, and the aim is to move both the politicians and the government there, and allow the other two main cities – Malabo and Bata – to grow as an economic hubs.

Where do you see the future of Equatorial Guinea in the energy space?

The example that I use all the time, and that I will keep using, is: like Singapore. We are in the middle of a neighbourhood that has big oil-producing countries with large populations. While oil and gas production brings in a lot of revenue, the future of Equatorial Guinea lies in services. We’ve built a new port and are planning an airport hub.

We are already servicing the oil industry from Luba, and are having discussions with our friends in Singapore, like Keppel Corporation, for the possibility in the future to have dry docks to repair FPSOs (floating production, storage and offloading vessels), especially because the water depth is very good. From here we can service the oil industries of NigeriaGabonAngola and others.

Equatorial Guinea has also introduced buses fueled by compressed natural gas (CNG). Tell us more about this initiative.

By using gas one can save a lot of money, as opposed to diesel and gasoline; it is also much more environmentally friendly. We are currently doing it as a pilot project, but if the pilot project is successful we need to roll it out across Equatorial Guinea. In addition to the buses, we can also consider using this technology for taxis, very similar to what India did. Equatorial Guinea could become a major producer of CNG for transportation and play an active role in introducing the technology in other African countries. Car manufacturers such as Tata and Ford are now all looking at CNG.

Category : 3. Read Recent News / Business / News

U.S. Ambassador to Equatorial Guinea: Who Is Julie Furuta-Toy?

October 26th , 2015 → 6:31 am @

Posted by www.equatorialguineaonline.com

Julie Furuta-Toy

Julie Furuta-Toy

 

President Barack Obama on June 18, 2015, announced his intention to nominate Julie Furuta-Toy, a career member of the Foreign Service, to be the next ambassador to Equatorial Guinea. If she’s confirmed, it will be the first such post for her.

Furuta-Toy is from Wyoming. As was true with many Japanese-Americans, Furuta-Toy’s father’s family was sent to an internment camp during World War II and he later served in the U.S. Army in Japan at the end of the war. Furuta-Toy attended UC Riverside, earning a BA in comparative literature in 1981 and earned an MA in the same subject from Indiana University in 1984. Ten years later, she earned a master’s degree from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces. Furuta-Toy joined the Foreign Service in 1986.

Furuta-Toy’s early assignments included Haiti, India, Mexico, and the Philippines. In 1996, she was named program officer in the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs. She moved over to the Bureau of Personnel in 1998 as a career development officer.

In 2001, Furura-Toy was sent to Moscow as a consul and immigrant visa unit chief. When she returned to Washington in 2004, she continued in that specialty as director of the Office of Public and Diplomatic Liaison and the Visa Office. Much of her job there involved explaining to those wanting to visit the U.S. on non-immigrant visas, such as those coming for educational and cultural events, why they were denied entry to the United States.

Furuta-Toy was made director of the Office of Children’s Issues in 2007. Here she dealt often with cases of child abduction, particularly those by a non-custodial spouse from another country.

Furuta-Toy was sent to Africa in 2009 as the Deputy Chief of Mission in Accra, Ghana. In 2012, she assumed a similar role in Oslo, Norway. Furuta-Toy ended up heading the mission there for almost two years because of the Obama administration’s inept handling of the nomination of George Tsunis, a bundler for Obama’s election campaigns, to be the ambassador to Norway. Tsunis eventually withdrew from consideration after a botched performance at his confirmation hearing.

Furuta-Toy is married to Steven Toy, another State Department employee. They have two children. Her languages are Spanish and Russian.

 

 

Category : 3. Read Recent News / News

Equatorial Guinea National Day

October 12th , 2015 → 6:56 am @

Posted by www.equatorialguineaonline.com – October 12, 2015

http://www.state.gov/secretary/remarks/2015/10/248091.htm

Press Statement

John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
October 12, 2015

 

On behalf of President Obama and the citizens of the United States, I send best wishes to the people ofEquatorial Guinea on your Independence Day.

The United States and Equatorial Guinea continue to have strong and fruitful economic ties. We are committed to our work together to improve health and basic education. We look forward to continued cooperation between our two countries, especially towards our shared goal of keeping Equatorial Guinea, and all of Africa, polio-free.

We also look forward to expanding collaboration on maritime security, economic diversification, and good governance for the benefit of all.

As you gather with family and friends, I wish the people of Equatorial Guinea peace, prosperity, and stability in the year to come.

Category : 3. Read Recent News / News

Supplying Power Where Power is Due: Annobon Island Microgrid

August 31st , 2015 → 10:13 am @

Posted by www.equatorialguineaonline.com – August 31st, 2015

Darren Hammell, Princeton Power Systems

Darren Hammell, Princeton Power Systems

With electricity only five hours a day, Annobon Island is much like many other remote areas of the developing world. Darren Hammel of Princeton Power Systems explains the changes that the Annobon Island microgrid will bring to this Equatorial Guinea community.

Annobon Island is the southern-most island of Equatorial Guinea off the coast of west central Africa. The island has a population of approximately 5,000 residents, with limited access to reliable electricity. In 2014, residents of Annobon Island had access to electricity for about five hours per day, if at all, and even then the electricity did not come cheap as they would spend an average of 15-20 percent of their annual income on supplemental power.

Unfortunately, the scenario on Annobon Island is fairly common throughout the developing world, especially on islands. The quickest and most convenient way to bring electricity to remote areas is with a diesel generator. They are widely available nearly everywhere on the planet, and reasonable cheap to buy and install. The problem comes with the long-term operation of these generators, which can be very expensive, particularly in locations that do not have easy access to the refined diesel fuel that the generators need to run. Furthermore, these generators are loud, polluting, burn significant volumes of fuel, and must be frequently monitored, maintained, and overhauled. Overall, this leads to diesel generators being a very expensive way to generate electricity.

What’s worse, generators are typically oversized for the average amount of power they provide, which makes them run inefficiently, burn more fuel, and need more maintenance. Finally, with many mechanical moving parts they are prone to break-downs and are tough to count on for reliable electricity, especially in warm temperatures.

One new solution to this issue relies on solar energy, advanced batteries, and advanced power electronics and controllers to create a “microgrid” to supply a village or an entire island with reliable and cost-effective electricity. As the technology to do this reliable and cost-effectively has only recently become available, it requires strong leadership and political will to develop microgrid projects at large scale. Annobon’s President Obiang Nguema had a vision to raise the quality of life for the residents by filling the need for an energy solution that would provide them with electricity for 24 hours a day seven days a week, and after consulting with industry came across solar microgrid technology as an optimal solution. Princeton Power Systems stepped in with the technology and capabilities to prove that one does not have to live on the mainland to enjoy the benefits of affordable, reliable, low-pollution electricity.

Princeton Power Systems, based out of Lawrenceville, New Jersey, opened doors in 2001. The company has extensive experience with microgrids having developed perhaps the highest profile solar microgrid in the world for the US National Park Service on Alcatraz Island in the San Francisco Bay, plus many other projects with customers across the United States, the Caribbean, Europe, and Africa. Princeton’s UL and CE-certified power electronics are used worldwide in advanced battery operations both tied to the electric grid and offgrid, with built-in smart functions for ancillary services.

The company’s project on Alcatraz, off the coast of California, is similar to the Annobon Island situation in the sense that they are both isolated from central power grids and Alcatraz previously ran entirely on diesel-fueled generators, which drove a significant amount of operating costs and pollutants for the Golden Gate Recreational area that manages the island. The Alcatraz Microgrid has been operating reliable for nearly three years, since the project was commissioned in 2012. During that time, the amount of diesel fuel consumed on the island has dropped by over 50 percent, reducing the number of fuel-resupply ferries that go out to the island by almost 75%. The resulting cost savings, emission savings, and improved electric grid reliability have made the project a success for the Park Service.

In collaboration with the project developer MAECI – Management & Economics Consulting, Inc.) and partners, Princeton Power Systems began the build-out of a 5-MW self-sufficient solar microgrid on Annobon Island, consisting of 20,000 solar panels split into three geographically-separated arrays, three large-scale advanced battery banks, and redundant generators. The microgrid is enabled by Princeton Power Systems 250 kW battery integrated inverters (BIGI), twenty of which are installed across the island to condition the power from the solar arrays and batteries, and to manage power flow between the different sources and loads. The BIGI-250 is the world’s first multi-port, DC-coupled power converter designed for cost-effective solar and battery microgrids like the one on Annobon.

The BIGI-250 operates both on-grid and off-grid and features built-in smart functions, such as demand peak shaving, photovoltaic (PV) ramp rate control and area frequency regulation (AFR). It includes a droop control algorithm that allows multiple power converters to synchronize on an AC-microgrid along with diesel generators and without dedicated communication lines between the converters. This control method allows inverters to drop off-line or communications to go down without affecting the reliability of the electric grid.

The control structure is based on Princeton’s Energy Management Operating System (EMOSTM) and four EMOS-Hub controllers placed around the island. There is one EMOS-Hub located near the mouth of the island’s inactive volcano, another near the island’s airport, one near the island’s only hotel and the fourth master controller near the southern tip to coordinate between all of the locations and support three small villages.  The island-wide microgrid EMOS controllers allow remote control and monitoring of the power system, and allows remote maintenance and software upgrades as needed.

“Today over 1 billion people are without power. We are taking our experience in microgrids from Alcatraz Island, the US Department of Defense and private sector customers to now apply it to improving quality of life for people in rural areas where grid connected power does not exist or is not reliable,” said Ken McCauley, president and CEO Princeton Power Systems.

The island-wide microgrid on Annobon will provide reliable, predictable power, supply enough electricity to handle 100 percent of the island’s current energy demand, and will be the largest self-sufficient solar project on the continent of Africa. Solar power with advanced batteries provides a cost-effective way to bring electricity to islands and remote areas with much lower emissions than fossil-fuel generators. Modern solar panels are far more efficient and cost-effective than their predecessors, and advanced batteries that can support the daily charging and discharging required for microgrid operation are just now becoming widely commercially available. The electronics and controls required to manage these assets has been demonstrated for several years in projects including the Alcatraz Microgrid.

The Annobon project is a part of Equitorial Guinea’s National Economic Development Plan Horizon 2020, which aims to make Equitorial Guinea an “emerging economy” while accelerating its development and democratization by 2020.  Along, with a much needed power supply, the microgrid will enable the development of multiple industries on the island, therefore, providing residents more jobs and significantly raise the standard of living.

Category : 3. Read Recent News / News

Program of activities of International Labor Day

April 28th , 2015 → 12:55 pm @

posted by: equatorialguineaonline.com – April 28, 2015

The Ministry of Labor and Social Security have organized a series of activities to celebrate May 1, dedicated to workers.

The activities, starting on April 29, begin with a series of lectures to be held in the auditorium of the Ministry of Internal Affairs on the following topics: the importance of working for society, offered by a representative of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP); the social responsibility of the company, by Malela Idjabe Ngandi, of the Presidential Council on Labor; and the impact of alcohol consumption on the job, by a graduate in Business.

On April 30, starting at 4 p.m., will be the end of the Football, Basketball and Boxing Tournaments, after which the trophies will be delivered to the winners.

On Friday, May 1, as is traditional, a Mass of Thanksgiving will take place at the Holy Cathedral of Malabo, to be attended by public officials and of the Administration; the mayor of Malabo, Maria Coloma Edjang; and members of the Government, headed by the Minister of Labor and Social Security, Heriberto Meco Mbengono.

After the church service, a reception at the La Luna de Malabo complex will be held.

Finally, these activities will conclude with a requiem mass in memory of all senior officials, businessmen and workers who died in the past year.

Text and photo: Sarilusi Tarifa King (D. G. Base Internet)
Equatorial Guinea’s Press and Information Office

Category : 3. Read Recent News / News / Politics

Seminar tour on legal issues

April 28th , 2015 → 12:54 pm @

posted by: equatorialguineaonline.com – April 28, 2015

The President of the Supreme Court, Martin Ndong Nsue, accompanied by the Attorney General, David Nguema Obiang, among others, made a tour to publicize the seminar workshop on the mainland, including all the members of the Judicial power of the provincial capitals.

After two days of intense work in the Palace of Justice in Bata, from April 20 to 21, the seminar participants attended several presentations.

The first speaker was Fernando Engonga Obama, who discussed labor issues involving the jurisdiction; the work, the role and competence in legal disputes; the development of conciliation, etc. Another presentation, regarding the judicial function in civil matters, was given by Reginaldo Ejido Panades.

Eliseo Mangue Nvo presented his analysis of the ordinary declarative processes, professional treatment and similar processes, while the conference of the President of the Supreme Court was on appeals against court rulings and mechanisms of effective judicial protection.

Martin Ndong Nsue, at the end of his speech and to culminate the event, congratulated the members of the magistracy of Litoral for their participation, and asked them to implement what they learned.

Text and photos: Miguel Angel Andjimi (D. G. Base Internet)
Equatorial Guinea’s Press and Information Office

Category : 3. Read Recent News / News

The Director General of BANGE in the Chamber of Commerce

April 28th , 2015 → 12:53 pm @

posted by: equatorialguineaonline.com – April 28, 2015

The funding mechanism for small and medium companies was the focus of the conversation during the meeting between the president of the Chamber of Commerce of Bioko, Gregorio Boho Camo, and the Director General of the National Bank of Equatorial Guinea (BANGE), Manuel Osa Nsue.

The meeting between the president of the Chamber of Commerce, Gregorio Boho Camo, and the Director General of National Bank of Equatorial Guinea (BANGE), Manuel Osa Nsue, took place on Monday, April 27, at the headquarters of the entity.

In addition to discussing the dynamism for the financing of small and medium enterprises (SMEs), they also analyzed in depth the work of the Professional Association of Credit Establishment (APEC), of which Osa Nsue is the president.

The APEC ensures the best interests of banks in Equatorial Guinea and works towards strengthening the economy. For this, the director of BANGE has a financing budget for SMEs, according to the agreement signed with the Ministry of Commerce and Business Development.

Text and photos: Clemente Ela Ondo Onguene (D. G. Base Internet)
Equatorial Guinea’s Press and Information Office

Category : 3. Read Recent News / News