Invest in Africa?

David Bamford

02 August 2018

My personal focus in sub-Saharan Africa is on two areas, namely North West Africa and East Africa.

In North West Africa, the MSGBC Basin was once neglected, then explored, and latterly has yielded major gas discoveries.

One could say more or less the same thing about offshore East Africa, long neglected, then somewhat explored, latterly yielding major gas discoveries for Tanzania and Mozambique.

In both cases, an open question is “Where’s the oil?” (other than in the Rift Valley of Uganda and Kenya); it has evaded discovery by some smart, and some not-so-smart, explorers.

To me this hints of not properly understood petroleum systems, of wrong perceptions of the source rock –> migration –> reservoir + trap stories.

I have mentioned this possible failing before, elsewhere, indeed only last week.

I’m not really sure of the root cause but it does seem to me that we have actual data on the geochemistry of potential source rocks, a pretty good (i.e. data supported) view of a basin’s stratigraphy, sedimentology and structural history, and may be left with heat flow history as one area where we have to resort to arm-waving around (academic) hypotheses regarding the lithosphere, stretching, ‘beta-factors’ etc etc.

Hmm, I wonder how many petroleum provinces there are where this is the case?

Anyway, back to North West, and East, Africa: I look forward to some insightful presentations at our June 25th Finding Petroleum event – presentations which explain how these petroleum provinces work!