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Oil and gas in Africa

Oilfield Technology,

According to EY, oil and gas have played an important role in Africa’s economic growth. Nineteen African countries are significant producers of oil and/or gas, and the revenues from higher prices and the investments that new discoveries are creating are a key contribution to growth.

At the end of 2012, African oil and gas reserves were estimated to be more than 215 million boe. While the majority of proved and production remains concentrated in six countries – Nigeria, Libya, Algeria, Angola (oil), South Sudan (oil) and Egypt (gas) – there have been significant new discoveries in Ghana, Tanzania, Mozambique, Kenya and Uganda, with strong prospects also seen in Sierra Leone and Mali.

Most of the new discoveries are not yet counted as proved reserves. Nigeria and Libya currently dominate reserves, and the three countries collectively account for more than 75% of the region’s proved reserves.

Africa’s role in the ‘Golden Age of Gas’

EY holds that Africa is a currently small but growing part of the global gas market. With relatively open access and generally attractive leasing terms, Africa’s oil and natural gas resources have long attracted a broad spectrum of investors – from the large, integrated, international majors to the large and small independent exploration and production (E&P) companies, as well as national oil companies (NOCs) from outside the region.

Development of Africa’s unconventional gas resources, largely in North Africa and South Africa, could also substantially add to the potential supply. A decade ago, the world was estimated to have only 50 – 60 years of gas remaining. With new unconventional supply, the estimated resource life has risen to more than 200 years.

The world’s first large scale LNG liquefaction facility opened in Algeria in 1964, and by early 2012, 19 countries had liquefaction capacity and/or were exporting LNG. Global trade in LNG has grown from approximately 3 billion m3 in 1970 to more than 330 billion m3 in 2011.

Adapted from a report by Emma McAleavey.

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