BP plots West Africa Gas Prize

After securing significant working interests in Kosmos’ Mauritanian and Senegalese acreages, BP has its sights firmly fixed on West Africa.

Industry insight - Vice President of exploration for BP Africa, Jasper Peijs, gives a rundown on BP’s latest activities in Africa.

In December 2016, BP entered into a partnership with Kosmos Energy, signing an agreement to acquire a significant working interest of Kosmos’ exploration blocks in Mauritania and Senegal - acreage which holds world-class deepwater gas discoveries and exploration prospectivity across both countries.

The approximately 33,0002Km of acreage covered by the wider BP and Kosmos partnership includes the Tortue field, estimated to contain more than 15 tcf of discovered gas resources. The total acreage in the region could contain roughly 50 tcf of gas resource potential and in excess of 1 billion barrels of liquids resource potential.

The operations in the region reached a milestone in February with a key agreement between the Governments of Mauritania and Senegal, which will enable the development of the project to continue to move towards a final investment decision, being signed by the two governments. The Inter-Government Co-operation Agreement (ICA) provides for development of the Tortue/Ahmeyim gas field through cross-border unitisation, with a 50:50 initial split of resources and revenues, and a mechanism for future equity redeterminations based on actual production and other technical data.

The agreement was signed on Friday, 9 February in Nouakchott, Mauritania by Mauritania Minister of Oil, Energy and Mines Mohamed Abdel Vetah and Senegal Minister of Petroleum and Energies Mansour Elimane Kane during a ceremony with President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz of Mauritania and President Macky Sall of Senegal.

“These are tremendously exciting and I would draw an analogy with my own home country of The Netherlands where there was a big gas discovery in 1959, the Groningen gas field, which started production in 1963,” Jasper Peijs, Vice President of exploration for BP Africa, says. “On the back of a stable gas production, the GDP increased per capita from 10,000 to just over 50,000."

“More important than the GDP, on the back of that growth general well-being increased and The Netherlands is now the sixth happiest country in the world. Given that, I can see a lot of potential for Senegal and Mauritania. Obviously starting from a smaller base; Senegal has about the same population as The Netherlands, while Mauritania is somewhat smaller. Their GDP is 1000-3000 per capita and you could see that growing over time and with that the opportunities for the people of both countries.”

The Tortue gas project will be the first phase of what BP expects to be some significant plays in the region. “We are well on track to get Final Investment Decision (FID) across the line during 2018 which will enable the construction and commissioning period of around three-year duration to begin,” Peijs adds. “It is not just the revenue that it will bring that is important, there will also be a lot of revenue from supporting jobs in areas such as catering, construction, transport and accommodation that will hopefully further develop the two economies. There will be an additional benefit in the increase of the gas supply as well that will support electricity generation and that should have a knock-on effect for supporting other businesses.”

Once Tortue phase one is established, BP’s next step in the region will be to develop the area immediately adjacent. “We are only developing the first phase of gas, but we have already identified enough gas supply for subsequent phases,” Peijs continues. “Once step one is done you would immediately look about setting up step two in Greater Tortue."

“Then in the nearby Cayar block there is the Yakaar discovery, which was the largest hydrocarbon discovery by industry in 2017 at around 12Tcf or two billion BOE. That together with the Teranga discovery that Kosmos had already made just to the East of that, puts between 30 and 50Tcf of gas in place. That isn’t proven yet and will require appraisal. And that is just in Senegal. In Mauritania we have acquired a lot of Seismic data that has been taken through to technical limits with some boutique processing and I’m sure that North of the Tortue gas field we will highly likely find some more gas that’s material and significant, which would entail us looking at the possibility for a southern Mauritania gas hub.”