Africa’s deepwater discoveries have not only emphasized the continent’s significant oil and gas potential but have made a strong case for African offshore exploration in the wake of declining investment trends worldwide. Despite the high development costs associated with deepwater developments, the recoverable reserves linked to these finds have the potential to dramatically change Africa’s energy landscape.
In independent energy research and business intelligence company Rystad Energy’s February Upstream Analytics report, the company records that approximately 60% of the current recoverable reserves in sub-Saharan Africa lie in deepwater regions, of which 40% is oil and 60% is gas. Accordingly, there has been an uptick in deepwater developments, with a number of undeveloped projects awaiting final investment decision (FID).
Mozambique: Area 4 LNG: 2,335 Million boe
The Mozambique Area 4 Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) development, located in the Rovuma Basin offshore Mozambique’s northern Cabo Delgado province, contains approximately 2,335 million barrels of oil equivalent (boe). Operated by American multinational oil and gas corporation ExxonMobil, the deepwater project expects FID by 2024 with startup anticipated for 2028.
South Africa: Brulpadda: 1,240 Million boe
Representing one of South Africa’s biggest oil and gas finds, the TotalEnergies operated Brulpadda deepwater development could be transformational for the country. With over 1,240 million boe, of which natural gas is predominant, the development expects to reach FID in 2024 (early production system) and 2027 (full field development) with startup expected for 2026 (early production system) and 2031 (full field development), respectively.
Nigeria: Bonga Southwest-Aparo: 630 Million boe
Adding to a long list of successful oil and gas discoveries in Nigeria, the Bonga southwest-Aparo deepwater development represents one of the largest gas finds in the country. With reserves estimated at over 630 million boe, the Shell-operated development will help position the established hydrocarbon market as a globally competitive gas economy. Shell expects FID in 2026 with startup anticipated for 2030.
Nigeria: Etan-Zabazaba: 525 Million boe
In another exciting turn of events for Nigeria, Italian oil major Eni is leading the development of the 525 million boe oil and gas project offshore Nigeria. With FID expected in 2028 and startup for 2032, the Etan-Zabazaba development will be critical for establishing energy security across the west African region.
Angola: Cameia-Golfinho: 420 Million boe
Meanwhile, another major deepwater project underway is the TotalEnergies-operated Cameia-Golfinho deepwater development in Angola. With reserves estimated at 420 million boe, FID expected in 2023 and startup in 2027 – the project will enhance much-needed output for the country.
Ivory Coast: Baleine: 345 Million boe
Eni is also leading the Baleine deepwater development offshore Ivory Coast. The find holds approximately 345 million boe and has the potential to position the country as a top hydrocarbon competitor. Phase one of the development is expected to reach FID in 2022 with startup expected for 2023, and phase two for 2024 and 2027, respectively.
MSGBC: Greater Tortue Ahmeyim FLNG: 320 Million boe
Arguably one of the biggest developments currently being undertaken in the MSGBC region, the Greater Tortue Ahmeyim LNG project, jointly undertaken by Mauritania and Senegal, has revealed reserves of approximately 320 million boe. Operated by bp, FID is expected in 2023 and start up for 2027, with the developments expected to transform the entire MSGBC regional economy.
Ghana: Pecan Phase 1: 230 Million boe
Norwegian-based oil and gas company Aker Energy is currently leading the development of the 230 million boe Pecan Phase 1 project offshore Ghana. Aker Energy is anticipating FID to be made in 2023 for Phase 1A and 2025 for Phase 1B, with startup expected in 2026 for Phase 1A and in 2027 for Phase 1B, respectively.
Angola: Agogo FFD: 205 Million boe
Another sizeable Angolan deepwater development is currently underway, led by Italy’s Eni. The Agogo FFD developments have estimated reserves of 205 million boe with FID expected in 2023 and startup for 2026. The development is set to enhance Angola’s domestic hydrocarbon capacity while strengthening its role in the wider African oil and gas market.
Angola: Chissonga: 190 Million boe
Finally, the TotalEnergies-operated Chissonga deepwater development will contribute further to Angola’s oil and gas reserve base. With reserves estimated at 190 million boe, FID is expected in 2024 and startup for 2029- the development will further cement Angola’s status as a leading African hydrocarbon producer.