Natural gas in Africa: frontier of the Golden Age

Current fundamentals and activity

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African natural gas production

Africa natural gas production

Source: “BP Statistical Review of World Energy,” BP plc, June 2012.

African rotary rig counts(annual totals — percent by type)

Africa natural gas production

(*2012 through June)
Source: EY analysis of Baker Hughes Inc. data.

African rotary rig counts(annual averages — 2012 through June)

Africa natural gas production

*2012 through June
Source: EY analysis of Baker Hughes Inc. data.

African rotary rig counts (annual totals — percent by type)

African rotary rig counts (annual totals — percent by type)

(*2012 through June)
Source: EY analysis of Baker Hughes Inc. data.

African rotary rig counts (annual averages — 2012 through June)

African rotary rig counts (annual averages — 2012 through June)

*2012 through June
Source: EY analysis of Baker Hughes Inc. data.

African proved gas reserves are highly concentrated, with four countries — Nigeria, Algeria, Egypt and Libya — accounting for more than 92% of the continent’s total.

According to the Oil & Gas Journal, proved reserves of natural gas in Africa are estimated at around 14 tcm, as of 1 January 2012 1. African gas reserves are about 7.5% of the world’s total. Technically recoverable reserves of natural gas in Africa are substantially higher, estimated to be about 74 tcm, almost 10% of the world’s total 2.

Gas consumption in Africa has been growing at a rate of about 6% per year since 2000.

Africa natural gas


 Country Reserves at
1 January 2012
2010
demand
2010
production
Billion cubic meters
Algeria 4,452 28.5 83.7
Angola 307 0.7 0.7
Benin 1
0.0 0.0
Cameroon 134 * *
Congo (Brazzaville) 90 0.9 0.9
Congo (Zaire) 1 0.0 0.0
Eqypt 2,162 45.6 60.6
Equatorial Guinea 36 1.6 6.7
Ethiopia 25 0.0 0.0
Gabon 28 0.1 0.1
Ghana 22 0.1 3.5
Ivory Coast 28 1.6 1.6
Libya 1,478 6.8 16.6
Mauritania 28 0.0 0.0
Morocco 1 0.6 0.1
Mozambique 126 0.1 3.1
Namibia 62 0.0 0.0
Nigeria 5,053 4.9 28.7
Rwanda 56 0.0 0.0
Senegal 0 * *
Somalia 6 0.0 0.0
South Africa 0 4.0 1.0
Sudan 84 0.0 0.0
Tanzania 6 0.8 0.8
Tunisia 64 3.2 2.0
Uganda 14 0.0 0.0
Total 14,264 100 207

*Less than 500 million cubic meters
Sources: Reserves — Oil & Gas Journal
Demand/production — U.S. Department of Energy
Note that the latest demand and production data are for 2010.
Note that the latest reserves data are at 1 Januay 2012.

Africa natural gas production

African natural gas consumption is estimated to have been about 110 bcm in 2011, with Egypt and Algeria leading consumption totals and accounting for more than 70% of the African total. Gas consumption in Africa has been growing at a rate of about 6% per year since 2000 3.

Drilling activity in Africa

According to monthly data collected by Baker Hughes, Inc., oil and gas drilling activity in Africa has been broadly increasing. While month-to-month data are volatile, total activity has picked up in recent years, particularly since the global recession in 2008 and 2009.

African oil and gas drilling activity has historically been predominantly onshore and oil-directed.

Competitive landscape for oil companies

By-and-large, with relatively open access and generally attractive leasing terms, the international majors, particularly the European-based companies, have done well in Africa.

The larger independents also have been joined by a growing group of smaller, more-nimble independents and regional “specialists,” like Addax (now part of Sinopec), Tullow Oil, Maurel & Prom, Afren, Kosmos Energy, Perenco, Cobalt International Energy, Cove Energy and Ophir Energy.

African rotary rig counts (annual totals — percent by type)

African rotary rig counts (annual averages — 2012 through June)

Sub-regional environment

North Africa

North Africa represents the “Old Guard” of the continent’s natural gas sector, with Algeria and Egypt the two largest gas producers and consumers. Algeria, Egypt and Libya represent three of the continent’s four largest gas reserve holders.

Shale gas resources have been identified across much of North Africa. The majority of the resources are concentrated in Algeria, Libya and Tunisia in four formations in the Ghadames and Sirte Basins. Risked gas in place has been estimated at more than 52 tcf, with recoverable gas estimated to be around 14 tcf. Some preliminary exploration and drilling activity has been conducted in the Ghadames Basin, but with no reported production. No activity has been reported in the Sirte Basin 4.

West Africa

West Africa has predominantly been an oil story and over the last decade or so, the sub-region has largely become one of the global industry’s major success stories — in particular, the deepwater oil frontier.

Natural gas production has been dominated by associated gas, and with fairly limited domestic markets for gas, much if not most of the sub-region’s gas output has been flared; only relatively recently have we seen a dedicated focus on capturing the gas for export as LNG. Importantly, the World Bank’s Global Gas Flaring Reduction initiative has had a major focus on the sub-region, with those efforts tied in with the export projects and with the development of the local infrastructure to support domestic gas use.

East Africa

The most dynamic recent developments in the African natural gas sector have been in East Africa.

While small-scale exploration and production had been going on for decades in the sub-region, US independent E&P, Anadarko, essentially opened the new frontier in 2010 with its massive Windjammer discovery in Area 1 of the Rovuma Basin in offshore northern Mozambique. Four subsequent discoveries in the area by Anadarko, along with major discoveries in nearby Area 4 by ENI in the Mamba prospect, have boosted recoverable reserve estimates for Mozambique to as high as 3 tcm.

1 Oil & Gas Journal, Pennwell Corporation, 5 December 2011.
2 “Golden Rules for a Golden Age of Gas,” International Energy Agency (IEA), June 2012.
3 “BP Statistical Review of World Energy,” BP plc, June 2012.
4 “World Shale Gas Resources: An Assessment of 14 Regions Outside of the United States,” U.S. Department of Energy/Energy Information Administration, April 2011.