Five Major Oil Discoveries in Africa in 2021

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Despite the global slowdown in fossil fuel developments and investment, Africa has been accelerating oil and gas exploration, leveraging energy sector growth as a catalyst for wider economic development. Sizeable oil discoveries made over the past year have only further positioned the continent as the final frontier for hydrocarbon exploration, with global oil majors cashing in on Africa’s significant oil potential.

Namibia – 120 Billions of Barrels

In April 2021, Canadian oil and gas exploration company Reconnaissance Africa released preliminary results from its exploratory wells drilled in the Kavango Basin in Namibia. The wells not only revealed an active petroleum system, but analysts have compared the findings to that of the oil-rich Permian Basin in Texas, with 12% of the exploration footprint potentially uncovering 120 billion barrels of oil. With further drilling commencing, Namibia is on the precipice of an oil boom.

Côte d’Ivoire – 2 Billion Barrels

Italian oil major Eni announced a major oil discovery off the coast of Côte d’Ivoire in September 2021. With reserves estimated between 1.5 and 2 billion barrels of oil, the deepwater discovery is expected to dramatically increase hydrocarbon production, enhancing domestic capacity and reducing imports. Eni has announced that the company will examine the further potential of the find, with the area showing promising results.

Ghana – 700 Million Barrels

Eni additionally announced a significant oil discovery on the Eban exploration prospect in CTP Block 4, offshore Ghana. Following the Akoma discovery made in 2019, the Eban-1X well has revealed that the complex could hold between 500 and 700 million barrels of oil equivalent. Located approximately 50km off the coast and 8km from the Sankofa Hub, the discovery further positions Ghana as a hydrocarbon hotspot.

Angola – 250 Million Barrels

In April 2021, a light oil discovery made in Angola’s deep offshore Block 15/06 by Eni has revealed between 200 and 250 million barrels of oil. The well was drilled on the Cuica exploration prospect within the Cabaҫa Development Area and marks the second significant oil discovery in the area, further positioning the country as a hydrocarbon competitor.

Gabon – Millions of Barrels

In August 2021, oil and gas exploration company BW Energy announced an oil discovery in the Hibiscus North exploration well in Gabon’s Dussafu Block. With open hole wireline logging operations expected to reveal the overall hydrocarbon column, the discovery is expected to significantly increase the Blocks current recoverable reserves of 105 million barrels.

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Charné Hollands

Charné Hollands

Charné Hollands is the Deputy Editor at Energy Capital & Power. She holds a Higher Certificate in Professional Photography and Masters in Media Studies from the University of Cape Town. Charné writes content for ECP's website and events as well as co-authored African Energy Chamber: Road to Recovery.

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