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This month Infield Systems looks at frontier exploration with a particular focus on developments in Africa.

Apr 8th, 2015
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This month Infield Systems looks at frontier exploration with a particular focus on developments in Africa. East Africa is emerging as an important hydrocarbon province, with recent years seeing an increase in exploration activities in deep and ultra-deepwaters offshore Mozambique and Tanzania. Eni and Anadarko have made major discoveries in the Rovuma basin in Mozambique such as the Mamba Complex in Area 4 and Prosperidade and Golfinho-Atum prospects in Area 1. Offshore Tanzania, BG Group and Statoil have made significant discoveries such as the Jodari prospect in block 1 and the Piri prospect in block 2. Both countries are likely to capitalize on their large natural gas resources for indigenous use and by building LNG export infrastructure, with key demand markets likely to be in Asia.

While East Africa has the potential to become an important industrial player, the established West African region is also seeing frontier exploration centered on its presalt plays. The prospect of emulating the successes of Brazil makes West African presalt plays attractive. Presalt discoveries have already been made in Angola, Congo and Gabon, while under-explored Namibia is also a potential candidate for future discoveries; however no commercial presalt discoveries in the country have yet been brought into production.

The fall in global oil prices has created challenges for the offshore oil and gas industry, with frontier exploration likely to be adversely affected. Exploration in frontier areas can involve the use of advanced technologies deployed in sometimes challenging environments, increasing the cost and risk of exploration and development. With E&P companies re-evaluating their budgets and portfolios, high-risk and high-cost developments, such as developments in the Arctic, could face delays. –George Griffiths, Senior Energy Researcher, Infield Systems

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