African deepwater frontier drilling on the rise
Most are in the Western African region.
“Africa appears to be emerging from a long hibernation in terms of oil and gas exploration activities,” said Rystad Upstream Research analyst Taiyab Zain Shariff.
The number of exploration wells drilled around the continent fell sharply in 2015 due to a combination of budget cuts, failed projects, and poor market conditions.
That decline continued until this year, with more investors now prepared to take a chance on high-impact, frontier drilling.
Rystad lists the following as wells to watch:
- Dana Gas is currently drilling a deepwater well on the Merak gas prospect in the Egyptian sector of the Mediterranean, targeting Pliocene turbidite plays. Planned TD is 2,600 m (8,530 ft).
- Total plans to drill a well on block C-9 in the Mauritanian basin targeting a large Cretaceous oil and gas play.
- BP’s Orca prospect, on the same structural ridge as the BirAllah and Tortue discoveries offshore Mauritania and Senegal, could contain 13 tcf in place.
- Geneva-based Trace Atlantic is seeking a partner to help fund a well on the deepwater Albian age Formosa prospect offshore Senegal/Guinea-Bissau.
- Total plans to drill a well in block 48 in the ultra-deepwater Lower Congo basin, pursuing a new play in the Miocene and Oligocene channels and lobes.
- Offshore Namibia, Total is looking to drill what would be the deepest well ever completed in the continent, on the Venus prospect in a giant basin floor fan of the Orange basin.