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Africa’s Largest Hydrocarbon Discoveries by Region

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With significant discoveries poised to transform west Africa into a global hydrocarbon hub, trillions of cubic feet of natural gas plays discovered between east Africa, and the Mediterranean gas fields offshore north Africa and southern Africa’s recent hydrocarbon boom, the continent is emerging as the world’s leader for oil and gas exploration.

Representing the final frontier for oil and gas exploration, Africa continues to gain significant interest from regional and global energy players. 

West Africa

West Africa is the largest contributor to discovered resources on the continent, with Senegal, Mauritania, Ghana and Ivory Coast serving as Africa’s top discoverers over the last five years. Notable discoveries include Senegal’s Yakaar-Teranga discovery, Mauritania’s Orca gas discovery and Ivory Coast’s Beleine find, three of which account for over 64% of the region’s discovered resources since 2017. 

Southern Africa

Eni’s offshore Angola discovery in Block 15/06 in 2021 led to a potential 200 to 250 million barrels of oil while exploration of Namibia’s 6.3-million-acre Kavango basin by energy majors’ TotalEnergies, Shell and Qatar Energy uncovered a sizeable discovery in 2022. Also in 2021, South Africa’s Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy announced the discovery of pockets of shale in the Karoo Basin, with estimates placing the resources at a potential 390 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of gas.

North Africa

Egypt has been responsible for the majority of discoveries in north Africa since 2017, with Eni’s activities having led to discoveries in the Nour North Sinai, Meleiha and South West Meleiha (SWM) concession areas, as well as the North Diametta East Delta marine concession and SWM B-1X exploration prospect.

East Africa

With a regional potential that could result in an export capacity of up to 300,000 barrels of oil per day, approximately 0.3% of the current global total, east Africa is poised to experience an oil and gas boom in the coming years. An exploration campaign led by oil and gas supermajor, Shell, has led to the discovery of 23 trillion cubic feet of gas being discovered in Tanzania, while Mozambique’s Area 1 and 4 liquefied natural gas trains have resulted in the discovery of 65 tcf and 85 tcf of natural gas, respectively. 

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Matthew Goosen

Matthew Goosen

Matthew Goosen is a Video Editor and Content Writer at Energy Capital & Power. He holds an Honours Degree in Film and Media Studies at the University of Cape Town and is currently undergoing his Masters Degree. Born in Pretoria and raised internationally, he has been living in Cape Town since 2013.