By Sebastine Obasi
Nigeria and seven other African oil producing countries could experience boom in the coming years, with Mozambique and Tanzania set to emerge as new frontiers, if they can attract enough investment, a report by PriceWaterhouseCoopers has stated.
The report also stated that six of the top 10 global discoveries in 2013 were made in Africa, with more than 500 companies now exploring across to the continent.
Large gas finds in Mozambique and Tanzania would make the world “take note of east Africa as an emerging player in the global industry,” said the report’s advisory leader, Mr. Chris Bredenhann.
It further stated that the boom has brought investment opportunities, despite the lingering challenges of corruption, lack of infrastructure and regulation, as transactions worth some $1 billion (760 million euros) occurred every 17 days in Africa’s oil and sector last year.
Still, the continent faces fierce competition for vital investment from other parts of the world, the PWC report cautioned. “A huge obstacle to growth in Tanzania and Mozambique is the cost of the infrastructure required, which neither country can afford without help from foreign investors,” it said.
Nearly nine million barrels of crude were produced every day in 2013, more than 80 percent of which came from established players such as Nigeria, Libya, Algeria, Egypt and Angola.
Demand for oil in Africa was also expected to “rise significantly” over the next 20 years, driven by population growth, urbanisation and the emergence of a middle class, the report said.
The report also stated that in gas that is even more concentrated, with nine tenths of annual natural gas production of 6.5 trillion cubic feet coming from Nigeria, Libya, Algeria and Egypt.
The report seems to offer a glimmer of hope for Nigeria’s gas sub-sector, which has not been fully utilised for the nation’s domestic electricity supply.
Nigeria exported 19.8 million metric tonnes per annum, MMTPA of liquefied natural gas, LNG in 2012, accounting for more than eight percent of globally traded LNG, and making it the world’s fourth largest LNG exporter.
But this is way much lower than the ambitions of Africa’s largest holder of natural gas reserves (2013 reserves estimates: 182 trillion cubic feet, Tcf).
The country has had three LNG projects, with capacity for 23 MMTPA, on the drawing board for upwards of nine years. None of them – Olokola LNG (10MMTPA), Brass LNG (5MMTPA), and the seventh train of the Bonny LNG (8MMTPA), looks likely to be sanctioned before 2015. The Olokola project seems to have collapsed even before takeoff.
However, Mozambique could become a major player in the Asian market on a par with Australia, the United States and Papua New Guinea when it starts exporting gas, expected in 2020, the report said.
Already majors such as Eni, Chevron, and BP, have invested in its gas fields, some of the largest discovered in the past decade.