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Oil and gas opportunities in Africa

Oilfield Technology,

There are few more exciting oil and gas regions of the world than Africa. Search EIC's global business intelligence database, EICDataStream, under current and future upstream projects in Africa and 338 separate projects are found.

Eye catching projects include the Jubilee Project offshore Ghana, with a value of US$ 3.1 billion; the CLOV project, Block 17, offshore Angola, which will be developed via a standalone FPSO and has a value of US$ 9 billion; the Raven and Taurt gas fields offshore Egypt with a value of US$ 4 billion, and many, many more.

Offshore developments in West Africa
Angola recently surpassed Nigeria as the continent's largest oil producer with high profile projects including the Total Pazflor project located in Block 17 in deepwater offshore Angola and ExxonMobil's Kizomba fields, which have recoverable reserves approaching 2 billion bbls of oil equivalent.

Moving on from Angola, there is, of course, Nigeria, the world's 10th largest oil and gas producer. Shell's giant Bonga field has been producing 225 000 bpd since it went into production in 2005, while Total's Akpo is close behind and is likely to increase capacity over the next few years with proven and probable reserves estimated at 620 million bbls of condensate and more than 1 trillion ft3 of gas. In July 2008, Chevron announced the Agbami field, the largest deepwater discovery in Nigeria, had produced its first oil.

Ghana is also a West African country on the rise with UK operator, Tullow Oil currently developing the Jubilee Phase 1 Development field, the country's first deepwater development. And further south in offshore Namibia, EIC member ATR Plant Services, a division of The ATR Group of companies, has successfully negotiated an extension to its current contract with Transocean.

North Africa and Libya
North Africa also retains a strong interest to UK investors. Egypt, for example, agreed this summer to oil and gas exploration deals worth almost US$ 2.3 billion covering the Eastern Desert, the Nile Delta, the Gulf of Suez and northern Sinai.

Despite the recent political controversies, Libya also remains an important lure for UK investors and the supply chain. Libya has set a goal of increasing oil production of 1.6 million bpd to 2 million bpd by 2010, with longer term ambitions to raise it to 3 million bpd by 2015.

Less developed regions
The countries of East Africa are seeing more and more oil and gas exploration activity. While only 500 wells have been drilled to date (as compared to tens of thousands in West Africa), the investment prospects are good.

Oil has recently been found in Uganda, a number of gas fields are also being appraised in Tanzania and a series of licensing rounds have taken place in neighbouring Mozambique. Oil production is rising steadily in Sudan at 491 000 bpd and The Democratic Republic of Congo is also seeing activity. Finally, Zambia is also looking into providing licenses for oil and gas exploration with the opportunity for E&P companies to bid to explore 23 blocks in its North-Western, Western and Eastern provinces. Preliminary geological surveys have all confirmed the presence of oil.

As a result of all this activity in the region, it is fair to say that exciting opportunities await companies investing in African oil and gas.

Author: Paul Main, EIC, UK. To read the full version of this article, please refer to the upcoming December 2009 issue of Oilfield Technology magazine.

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