Africa Keeps Standing as Explorer Hotspot

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African oil production south of the Sahara has long been declining, but ongoing discoveries like Venus and Graff in southern Africa's Orange Basin and Baleine in West Africa's Tano basin have sustained the region as a hotspot at a time when energy security fears are trumping calls to halt new exploration. While investment is recovering and hardy independents continue to derisk acreage, investors remain selective the world over. International oil companies (IOCs) are focusing on frontier countries along the Atlantic margins with big new discoveries while sustaining production from near-term discoveries in mature producing countries with improved terms like Angola. And while some discoveries are expected to be massive —and IOCs continue to fast track developments— output from the new discoveries will come too late to put a large dent in the West’s oil shortages before 2025. Development of Cote d'Ivoire's Baleine and Senegal’s Sangomar could deliver first oil next year if projects perform to schedule, with combined volumes possibly reaching 250,000 by 2025-26. Venus and Graaf could potentially double that contribution, with accelerated fast tracking, though plans have yet to be unveiled. While oil output south of the Sahara has fallen sharply from 5.38 million b/d a decade ago to 3.86 million b/d in 2021, exploration has continued to outperform other regions. The handful of recent giant finds since 2021 could deliver as much as 15 billion barrels according to some industry insiders. This followed a decade in which sub-Saharan Africa boasted discoveries of some 52 billion bbl of oil equivalent — more than any other region.

Exploration, Offshore Oil and Gas
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