African Exploration Campaigns to Watch in 2023

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Representing one of the final frontiers for hydrocarbon exploration and with much of its oil and gas resources largely untapped, many African governments have placed exploration at the center of their developmental agendas in 2023.

With the aim of unlocking the full potential of the continent’s resources in pursuit of long-term and sustainable economic growth, industrialization and electrification, while at the same time mitigating natural declines in legacy fields, a series of large-scale exploration campaigns have been launched continent-wide. These are some of the campaigns to watch in Africa in 2023.

South Africa: Wolf Prospect

Driven by recent discoveries made in the Orange Basin – including TotalEnergies’ Venus-1 and Shell’s Graff-1 in the Namibian maritime side in 2022 – the Wolf exploration campaign, set to be launched by Eco Atlantic, Africa Oil Corp and Ricocure in 2023, represents one of Africa’s top exploration campaigns to watch for in 2023.

Located in Block 3B/4B south of the Graff-1 and Venus-1 wells, the campaign will cover an area of 17,581 km² in water depths ranging from 300 m to 2,500 m, The campaign is considered one of the drilling activities set to drive industry expansion in 2023 and beyond, according to the African Energy Chamber’s State of African Energy 2023 Outlook.

Namibia: Osprey

The Venus and Graff discoveries made in Namibia in 2022 have triggered newfound interest in the country’s upstream market, with a series of exploration campaigns kicking off. One of the most notable to watch in 2023 is the Osprey exploration campaign, operated by Eco Atlantic, the National Petroleum Corporation of Namibia (Namcor) and Tangi Enterprise.

For its part, the Osprey exploration campaign, located in Block 2012A in the Walvis Basin offshore Namibia, represents one of Africa’s most promising high-impact wells, and is set to be drilled in 2023 with the possibility of expanding both Namibia and the continent’s reserves. Currently, Eco Atlantic is looking for another funding partner for the drilling program.

Namibia: Welwitschia Deep

Situated in the highly-prospective Block 2011A in the northern Walvis basin offshore Namibia, the Welwitschia Deep drilling campaign is expected to be launched in 2023 by Global Petroleum, Namcor and Aloe Investments. Owing to its close proximity to other sizeable finds in the basin, the exploration program is expected to yield promising results.

With an estimated P50 prospective resource volume of about 670 million barrels of oil, the drilling program is set to be drilled in the next 15 to 18 months.

Guinea-Bissau: Formosa

Following the launch of a campaign to attract investors to kickstart drilling activities in the hydrocarbon-rich offshore basin of Guinea-Bissau, Trace Atlantic Oil (58.5%), Petroguin (10%), Sphere Petroleum (4.5%) and CAP Energy (27%) are set to launch an exploration campaign in Block 5B in 2023.

Located 170km off the coast of Guinea-Bissau, the campaign is expected to advance the MSGBC’s oil and gas boom, with the region targeting to maximize the exploitation of hydrocarbon resources to boost energy access and monetization for economic growth. To date, 2D and 3D seismic surveys have been conducted, revealing an upside potential of 7 billion barrels.

Guinea-Bissau: Atum/Anchova

Also located offshore Guinea-Bissau, and expected to be launched by Petronor and FAR Limited in 2023, the Atum/Anchova exploration campaign in Block 2 represents one of the upstream programs that are expected to unlock significant discoveries both for the country and the region.

Analogous to the world-class Sangomar field offshore Senegal, the Atum/Anchova prospect represents a commercially attractive play with gross recoverable prospective resources estimated at 498 million barrels.

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Nicholas Nhede

Nicholas Nhede

Nicholas is an energy sector journalist with a passion on how technology and diversification of the energy mix can be used to address energy sector challenges. Nicholas holds a diploma in Journalism and Communication studies and has been covering energy-related topics including the Internet of Things, distributed energy and digitalisation since 2015.

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