--> --> Abstract: African Opportunities Past, Present and Future: From Independent Oil Company's Perspective, by Ian Cloke; #90082 (2008)

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African Opportunities Past, Present and Future: From Independent Oil Company's Perspective

Ian Cloke
Tullow Oil and Gas Co, London, United Kingdom

Africa is currently at the forefront of hydrocarbon exploration with activities at levels not experienced for 30 years A third of the world’s discoveries since 2000 have taken place in Africa. The continent provides opportunities for companies from the super-majors to the small independents.

Hydrocarbon exploration in the African continent dates back to the earliest part of the 20th century when field geologists mapped the continent and identified numerous oil seeps indicating working hydrocarbon systems.

The first major oil and gas discoveries were made onshore in the mid 1950’s in Algeria and Libya. Contemporaneously oil was discovered onshore in Nigeria, Gabon, The Congo, Cameroon and Angola opening several new play fairways.

The next phase of exploration was generated by the oil crisis of the 1970’s and technology advancements in exploration leading to further discoveries in Chad, Niger, Ethiopia, Sudan and Tunisia and offshore in Egypt. The remoteness of some of these discoveries resulted in them being stranded in the interior until pipelines connected them to the export routes.

The third phase of exploration commenced in the mid 1990’s as improved drilling technology allowed the targeting of prospects in >300m water depth This phase continues through to the present day. The combination of excellent quality 3D seismic data and AVO resulted in success rates in excess of 50% as discoveries were made in the Miocene and Oligocene age deepwater confined channel systems of Mauritania, Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea and Angola and the Nile Delta of Egypt. Onshore exploration continued apace close to export pipelines and in frontier areas such as Uganda. Major oil companies dominated this period. In 2007 the Jubilee oil discovery was found in Cretaceous age turbidities in Ghana opening an exciting new play fairway along the Equatorial Transform margin.

AAPG International Conference and Exhibition, Cape Town, South Africa 2008 © AAPG Search and Discovery