Positive factors driving the rush for oil in West Africa:
- Major oil discovery in Ghana is about to begin production in 2010
- Anadarko announced a major discovery offshore Sierra Leone fall of 2009
- Anadarko petroleum plans to drill an exploration well offshore Liberia in 2010
- Largely unexplored region with billion barrel potential plays
- Offshore production in neighboring Ivory Coast
- high quality w/ low sulphur requires less refining
- easy access to biggest consumer (US)
- Gulf of Guinea predicted to supply 20 to 25% of Total US Imports by 2020 (in 2002 US State Department declared West Africa Oil a “strategic national interest”)
- Industry experts predict the Gulf of Guinea will earn $1 trillion from oil by 2020 if the price stays above $50 a barrel.
September 2009: Deepwater Venus discovery (Anadarko Petroleum and Tullow Oil) in block SL 6/07 offshore Sierra Leone. The Venus B-1 well was drilled to a total depth of approximately 18,500 feet in about 5,900 feet of water and encountered more than 45 net feet of hydrocarbon pay. Venus is the first deepwater test in the Sierra Leone-Liberian Basin and proves a late Cretaceous working petroleum system exists in the Liberian Basin. This discovery has de-risked other Jubilee-like prospects in the West African Equatorial Atlantic. 700 miles west of the Jubilee discovery in Ghana the Venus discovery has established the focus of future exploration to be along this margin where Tullow Oil has already secured a significant acreage position.
Anadarko's partners in Sierra Leone are Tullow Oil (UK), Woodside Petroleum (Australia), and Spain’s Repsol. Anadarko and Tullow are partners in the huge Jubilee field development in Ghana's offshore waters and are now planning to move the drillship to the South Grand Lahou exploration well in block CI 105, offshore Côte d'Ivoire. Anadarko is also planning further exploration and appraisal wells in Sierra Leone to gain a greater understanding of the Venus discovery in 2010. Positive results will serve to de-risk other potential prospects in the West African Transform Margin (WATM).
Anadarko and Tullow recently announced their eighth consecutive successful appraisal well in West Cape Three Points Block within the Jubilee field.
For a reported $4 Billion USD Kosmos Energy, with a 23.5% stake in the Jubilee field, sold its Ghana assets to ExxonMobil. Backed by private equity Kosmos now has other suitors, state owned Ghana Petroleum Corp. and China National Offshore Oil Company, whom are very keen obtain a stake in Jubilee’s 1.8 billion barrels in reserves.
In 2009 Sinopec, China’s state-owned oil company, successful acquiring all of the common shares in Addax Petroleum for more than $7 billion USD.
U.S.-based Anadarko Petroleum and the UK’s Tullow Oil announced Thursday another successful appraisal well in the West Cape Three Points Block within the Jubilee field — home of one of the largest oil finds in the past decade in West Africa. With each successful exploration and appraisal well — this is the eighth consecutive one — interest in the Jubilee field and exploration prospect offshore West Africa have continued to grow. Now that one of Jubilee stake holders has put its share up for sale, that interest has boiled over into a bidding war, of sorts. Kosmos Energy, which owns a 23.49 percent stake in the Jublilee field, recently agreed to sell its Ghana assets to ExxonMobil for reportedly $4 billion.