Exploration over the past decade over sub-Saharan Africa has delivered more giant discoveries than any other region, according to Wood Mackenzie.
There have been numerous 500 MMbbl-plus finds with multi-tcf gas fields offshore Mozambique and Tanzania, the Atlantic Margin of Senegal and Mauritania (oil and gas-condensate), with more deepwater giants set to be discovered off Nigeria and in the presalt offshore Congo and Angola.
Adam Pollard, senior research analyst with Wood Mackenzie’s sub-Saharan Africa upstream team, said: “The region still attracts explorers large and small; however, as the majority of discoveries are gas, turning them into viable developments has proved much harder.”
Eni’s Nene Marine is the only one of these discoveries onstream to date, although Tortue FLNG and SNE off Senegal/Mauritania are both making progress.
Mozambique’s giant gas fields will support multi-billion-dollar LNG export projects.
However, there has been no progress on monetization of large deepwater gas fields across the border in Tanzania, and these will likely miss the next LNG window of opportunity, the consultant believes.
Fourteen of 25 large discoveries identified appear to be sub-commercial, either due to the surplus of gas in East Africa, outstanding appraisal work, or a lack of viable development solutions.
However, the majors remain enthusiastic about sub-Saharan Africa as a value proposition, Pollard pointed out, having collectively acquired more than 140,000 sq km (54,054 sq mi) of offshore acreage over the past 12 months.
“Many basins remain underexplored,” he added, “and low entry costs in these frontier areas make sub-Saharan Africa a good place for pure explorers and minnows to create value. The continent has been responsible for some company-making discoveries in the past and there are highly anticipated wells planned in The Gambia and South Africa.”