Seeking to expand oil and gas reserves and output, up to 18 exploration licensing rounds are expected to award blocks in Africa by the end of 2023, according to the African Energy Chamber’s The State of African Energy 2023 Outlook. Offering revamped fiscal terms and improved operating environments, new licensing rounds are expected to position the continent as a global exploration hub, while ushering in a new era of industry growth and energy security in Africa.
In addition to the new bid rounds planned next year, other countries – like the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), The Gambia, Sierra Leone, Sudan, South Sudan and Senegal – launched licensing rounds in 2022 and are expected to award them in 2023.
Kenya’s Ministry of Energy and Petroleum is expected to launch an offshore licensing round covering 14,000 km2 in the Lamu Basin in 2023. International Oil Companies already hold licenses to explore 26 out of 63 total blocks in the country, while 35 will be open for bidding. Following the country’s first discovery of oil in Turkana in 2012, the Kenyan Government has been seeking to attract investment into its emerging oil and gas industry andincrease its understanding of domestic hydrocarbon resources. Meanwhile, oil reserves in Kenya’s Lokichar Basin are estimated at over four billion barrels, with full production of 100,000 barrels per day by 2024.
As part of plans to increase the country’s oil and gas reserves and address slowing production due to natural declines in legacy projects, Angola’s National Agency for Oil, Gas and Biofuels (ANPG) will be continuing its six-year licensing strategy into next year. While the ANPG is currently evaluating proposals received for the 2021/2022 bid round, additional onshore acreage will be made available through limited public tender in 2023, including four blocks in the Congo Basin and eight blocks in the Kwanza Basin.
To revitalize upstream activities and boost its crude oil and gas production, Equatorial Guinea’s Ministry of Mines and Hydrocarbons is expected to open and close a new leasing project, EG Ronda, in 2023. The licensing round follows the success of the EG Ronda 2019, in which seven companies were awarded 26 oil and gas exploration licenses across nine blocks.
Uganda’s Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development announced that it will launch two licensing rounds in May 2023 to unlock additional discoveries and drive investment into the country’s growing upstream space. Despite being next to oil-rich South Sudan, Uganda has only explored 40% of its region and remains one of the final frontiers for African hydrocarbon exploration. The tender will be Uganda’s third licensing round and will seek to exploit over 6.5 billion barrels of estimated crude oil reserves located in the country.
Last July, the Congolese Ministry of Hydrocarbons launched a 30-block licensing round across the Cuvette Central, Coastal, Lake Tanganyika, Lake Kivu and the Albertine Graben basins. Expected to close in April 2023, the round comprises 27 oil blocks and three gas blocks and seeks to attract international operators to promising on- and offshore acreage. While the DRC has yet to produce commercial quantities of oil – currently yielding around 25,000 barrels per day of offshore production from the Coast Basin – the country could hold up to five billion barrels of total petroleum reserves, according to estimates.