Africa has a unique opportunity to cement its position as a leading global mining and exploration hotspot, the African Energy Chamber, the voice of the continent’s energy sector, has said.
In a statement issued this week, the Chamber said that ongoing bidding rounds in key existing and new African hydrocarbons markets will tell if Africa further confirms its position as the world’s new exploration hotspot and manages to attract necessary investment in its oil and gas acreages.
“Amongst well-established African producers, Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) members, Gabon and Congo-Brazzaville each have ongoing bidding rounds,” the African Energy Chamber said in its recent announcement.
The Chamber brings willing governments and credible businesses together to support the growth of the continent’s energy sector under international standard business practices.
In line with its mandate, the Chamber noted that Gabon’s 12th shallow and deep-water licensing round, an investment opportunity beneficial to its mining industry, is set to close in April, 2019 and Congo-Brazzaville’s own Phase II license round in June, 2019.
With both countries struggling to implement new Hydrocarbons Codes, the success of these rounds will tell if investors have been convinced to pump money into the countries by policy reforms developed over the past two years.
Two bigger African producers and also OPEC members, Nigeria and Angola, are set to launch landmark and out-of-the-ordinary bidding rounds this year. Nigeria will auction its gas flare sites under an initiative known as the Nigerian Gas Flare Commercialisation Programme, likely to happen after the country’s February general election.
Meanwhile, Angola will hold its Marginal Fields Bidding Round, which is the result of a new May 2018 policy enacted by President Lourenco, and to be launched at the Africa Oil & Power conference in Luanda in June 2019. With the Nigerian Petroleum Industry Bill yet to be signed and the ink still fresh on Angola’s new policy regime, both rounds will also be key in assessing investors’ interest for both countries’ business environments.
“Also attracting interest is the newest and arguably one of the upcoming entrants – Ghana – holding its 1st formal licensing round set to close in May 2019 which has reportedly got the attention of 16 oil companies, including majors ExxonMobil, BP, Total and ENI,” the Chamber noted.
As a hopeful new East African offshore frontier, Madagascar is also planning on branching deeper into the energy sector.
The African Energy Chamber believes that if trends like these continue, the continent could soon become a dominant player in the exploration industry.