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US EIA publishes briefing on emerging hydrocarbon producers in Africa

The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) regularly publishes international energy information, including overviews, rankings, data and analyses of various countries and regions. EIA has now released a briefing on emerging hydrocarbon (oil and natural gas) producers in Africa.

The EIA briefing focuses on Namibia, Kenya, Uganda, Mauritania, Senegal, and Mozambique—countries with uncovered hydrocarbon discoveries that may be potentially significant and commercially viable.


Map of Africa created by the US EIA.

On the liquid fuels side, a series of recent liquid fuels discoveries have generated a significant amount of investor interest in Namibia. However, Namibia is considered a frontier country in terms of upstream exploration, EIA said, and the Namibian government lacks experience and governance in commercializing these discoveries.

Kenya and Uganda are East African countries that are seeking to make the most of their own liquid fuels resources but face a different set of challenges and constraints regarding their finds. Both countries’ liquid fuels discoveries lie inland and so would require pipeline infrastructure to be built to export the extracted liquid fuels to other countries.

Constructing pipeline infrastructure poses a number of challenges, particularly for Uganda because it is a land-locked country and would need to transit another country such as Kenya or South Sudan and Sudan to reach a viable port for export. Extracting liquid fuels resources for domestic consumption is another option for both countries, but it requires refining infrastructure, which both countries currently lack, to process the liquid fuels into petroleum products.


On the natural gas side, Mauritania, Senegal, and Mozambique are seeking to develop natural gas hubs and are attempting to build out infrastructure that would enable large-scale production from their recent offshore natural gas discoveries, as well as increase domestic natural gas consumption. However, upstream development is subject to specific risks unique to each country.

Mozambique has in recent years dealt with a sudden influx of militant attacks on areas close to export infrastructure. These security issues have resulted in the declaration of force majeure on the Mozambique LNG project, delaying the facility’s start date and the development of other LNG infrastructure projects. Mauritania and Senegal are both seeking to capitalize on recent natural gas finds that fall across the shared maritime boundary of both countries, but project delays have occurred as a result of technical issues at the field.


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