With almost 60% of recent discovered reserves by volume, west Africa is by far the largest contributor to the continent’s hydrocarbon future. The region’s top three freshly uncovered reserves alone – Senegal’s Yakaar-Teranga, Mauritania’s Orca and Ivory Coast’s Baleine – boast some 3.6 billion barrels of oil equivalent between them.
This September, pan-African industry powerhouses will convene for the MSGBC Oil, Gas & Power conference and exhibition at the height of the basin’s gas rush, co-writing a robust future for African energy that develops Africa as over 50 fresh offshore blocks come up for bidding.
Thus, with this in mind and over 50 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of gas already discovered in the region, here are the top eight west African oil and gas mega-discoveries of the past five years to watch.
Senegal: Yakaar-Teranga Discovery
A bp-Kosmos joint venture discovered 20 tcf of natural gas in Yakaar-Teranga development, located in the Cayer Profond deep water offshore block in Senegal at 3,000 meters depth. Final Investment Decision (FID) is expected by the end of the year with production tentatively slated for 2024 following the 2017 discovery, initially capped at 150 million cubic feet per day.
Mauritania: Orca Discovery
Also owing to bp and Kosmos’ partnership, the Orca discovery made in 2019 revealed 13 tcf of natural gas at 2,500 meters depth in Mauritania’s C-8 offshore block. A testament to bp’s 100% discovery drilling success rate in Senegal and Mauritania, Orca’s FID waits on Greater Tortue Ahmeyim and Yakaar’s.
Ivory Coast: Baleine Discovery
Discovered in Eni’s first ever Ivory Coast prospect well, CI101 Block’s Baleine holds two billion barrels of light oil and 2.4 tcf of gas at 1,200 meters depth, 60km offshore. Early production is expected by Q4 2023 – the first net zero emission project for the industry.
Ghana: Afina Discovery
Ghanaian firm Springfield Energy announced the Afina discovery in 2019, with the prospect holding up to 650 billion barrels of crude and 0.7 tcf of gas, discovered in the West Cape Three Points Block 2 in November 2019. Production waits the green light from federal government.
Angola: Agogo Discovery
Agogo is a deep-water oil and gas field currently being developed by Eni’s joint venture with Sonangol and SSI Fifteen. Agogo sits at 1,700 meters depth, 180km off Angola’s coast with one billion barrels of light oil in production at 20,000 barrels per day (bpd). It was discovered in March 2019 and is located in Block 15/06.
Angola: Ndungu Discovery
Product of the same Angolan Eni consortium, Ndungu holds 800 million to one billion barrels, located 130km offshore Angola and sharing Agogo’s block. Production started in February 2022 via the 100,000 bpd Ngoma Floating Production Storage and Offloading vessel, with a second producer well coming online by the fourth quarter of this year.
Ghana: Nyankom Discovery
AGM Petroleum made an oil discovery in its South Deepwater Tano (SDWT) block offshore Ghana. Dubbed the Nyankom discovery, the find boasts 127 million barrels of proven oil reserves with an estimated 400-650 million more in its immediate surrounds. Currently, the Ghana National Petroleum Company is moving to acquire a 70% in Nyankom’s SDWT Block and a 37% share in the CTP Block holding the Afina discovery.
Gabon: Ivela Discovery
In 2018, Spain’s Repsol and Australia’s Woodside made a sizeable discovery in the Ivela-1 exploration well, located in the Luba Muetse block, offshore Gabon. According to the companies, the rig encountered a 78-meter column of crude oil. A partnership with seismic surveyor Spectrum is assisting in mapping the field pre-production.