Africa: Continent of Discoveries

Africa conference will examine exciting new plays and developments.
This article appeared in Vol. 9, No. 2 - 2012


Source: NOAA Africa continues to deliver exciting new oil and gas discoveries in emerging plays. There is great excitement offshore East Africa, from the giant gas discoveries which suggest that Mozambique is well on the road to becoming the next new producing centre, to the string of encouraging wells along trend in Tanzania, with more drilling in the immediate future in Tanzania and Kenya’s Transform Margin. Onshore East Africa, rift plays are being followed up by the industry after a number of successes in Uganda, continuing up into the South Sudan rift, which is shaking off its unsettled past to look at a promising future, with plays possibly extending to Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia – is Somalia’s time yet on the horizon?

On the other side of Africa, along the entire west coast, analogs and conjugate margins are the hot topics, from Namibia possibly mirroring the discovered plays of the Brazilian Santos Basin, to Morocco looking right across the world to its conjugate Atlantic margin off Canada. Discoveries made below the salt in the Kwanza and Benguela Basins of Angola are thought to be analogs to the presalt Santos fields - but are they also giants? And will the trend continue to other parts of the Aptian Salt Basin in Congo and Gabon? Meanwhile, West Africa’s Equatorial Margin continues to deliver discoveries from Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire west to Liberia, Sierra Leone and possibly Guinea.

Are there things to learn from South America that can be applied to Africa, and can the conjugate margin analogs work both ways? The players have already pushed the analogs to the conjugate margins of South America, with lots of new leasing and drilling in Guyane, Suriname and Guyana. And when will Brazil’s Equatorial margin open up?

There are also continuing discoveries in the Nile delta area and some major new finds in the Eastern Mediterranean, but many wonder whether the recent political upheavals in North Africa and the Middle East will put a damper on Africa’s historically most prolific oil and gas producing areas.

All these and many other issues are on the agenda for the annual Africa Conference, which this year will be held in Houston on September 11 – 12. This is the 11th in the series of yearly conferences on the continent, which are organized jointly by the Houston Geological Society (HGS) and the Petroleum Exploration Society of Great Britain (PESGB) and held alternately in London and Houston. The conference series covers all aspects of African E&P, with particular emphasis on new ideas for plays and prospects, the geology of the continent and its conjugate margins, and the application of emerging technologies. Because although it is the quality of the technical program which draws the participants each year, new and emerging technological refinements by service organizations make a significant contribution to the search for hydrocarbons in Africa, and many of these will also be represented at the conference.

The most recent Africa conference, held in London, attracted nearly 500 delegates, speakers and exhibitors, the highest number ever to have attended the event. Further details can be found on the websites of the two organizing societies.


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