African countries will present a large number of licensing opportunities in 2018, though in many areas regulatory or legislative impediments may slow progress. In North Africa, Egypt will look to continue its gas renaissance with a new bid round focussed on the eastern Mediterranean and Nile Delta, while also planning new licensing in the more frontier Western Mediterranean and Red Sea. Algeria is also moving towards new licensing efforts, after a disappointing round in 2014. It plans to first amend its hydrocarbons law adding new fiscal incentives but the rule mandating a 51% interest for Sonatrach, the Noc, is expected to be retained.

In West Africa, Gambia, Sierra Leone and Cote d’Ivoire are looking to capitalise on industry interest in the Atlantic and West Africa Transform margins with offshore blocks on offer. Additionally, Senegal is currently developing a new petroleum code in preparation for a new licensing round. The outlook is more mixed for West Africa’s mature oil and gas producers. In the Gulf of Guinea, Cameroon has also offered eight blocks in a bid round closing in June, under terms which include an increased cost recovery limit. Congo (Brazaville) is expected to follow up last year’s deepwater round with an offering of shallow water blocks. Nigeria still suffers from political and regulatory roadblocks, however, with plans for a new marginal field licensing round uncertain and parliament still yet to pass most of the country’s new petroleum industry bills. Fresh shallow water licensing opportunities in Gabon reportedly await amendments to the petroleum code to improve the investment climate.

Stalled legislation also hampers licensing progress across Southern and Eastern Africa. South Africa’s delayed Mineral and Petroleum Resources Amendment Bill means that the sector faces regulatory uncertainty, while the opening of new exploration opportunities off Madagascar awaits the passage of a new petroleum code. Delays to new laws set to govern the upstream sector in Kenya and Somalia also hamper future licensing efforts. Meanwhile, Sudan hopes to entice new investment through a bid round set to open in Q2, following the removal of US economic sanctions in October.

Bid Rounds, Fiscal Regime Changes and Pending Legislation in 2018

Source: Upstream Analytics                                                                                                                 © GlobalData