The Alarming Dearth in Critical Infrastructure for West Africa’s Oilfield Development - Africa’s premier report on the oil, gas and energy landscape.

The Alarming Dearth in Critical Infrastructure for West Africa’s Oilfield Development


By Jennifer Daniel

With the recent surge and relative stability of the price of oil within the last couple of weeks; for several economies, the economics of sustained and improved production capacity is beginning to make sense. Oil producing countries in Africa, especially those in West Africa, are the most excited.

The commercialization of fields in this region, at a time like this, is a compelling case, considering the plethora of fields that were erstwhile shut-in or undeveloped due to the coronavirus pandemic and the fluctuating price of oil in the global market.

Crucial to the effective commercialization of unproduced oil molecules in West Africa remains availability and access to field development infrastructure and resources especially for offshore locations in the light of the obvious preference of oil majors to leave onshore oilfields to independents.

Drilling rigs, Early Production Facilities, Storage facilities and FPSOs will be in demand on a larger scale if investors are to successfully milk the prevailing price advantage. Investors will need to comb the industry locally and internationally for equipment that are available and economically friendly. It is reported that the West African oil and gas industry alone has over 10 FPSOs planned and announced which are expected to come live by 2022, with 7 (seven) of those split between Nigeria and Angola.

The catalogue of equipment and infrastructure available is quite scanty but surprisingly, Century’s FPSO Tamara Nanaye, formerly Front Puffin and Tamara Tokoni are reported to be available for deployment to a full field that require floaters. This follows the purported decision of the operators of the AJE field OML 113 to harness the gas potential of the field. This is great news for fields in dire need of an FPSO within the region.

With the increasing number of fields whose development requirements necessitate the deployment of floaters, the ultimate question remains how they will be sourced, financed and deployed.

Jennifer Daniel is a PhD candidate at the Centre for Innovation & Entrepreneurship, University of Bristol.


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