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What role will Africa play in the drilling of oil and gas wells in 2024 ?



What role will Africa play in the drilling of oil and gas wells in 2024 ?

ExxonMobil, Shell, Eni, TotalEnergies, Chevron and BP top the list for high-impact oil and gas wells, together accounting for around 45% of the main undeveloped fields, mainly in Africa's pristine frontier basins .

Despite a recent slowdown in global oil and gas drilling activity, the trend is set to reverse, particularly in Africa, where numerous operations are planned for the current year.

A recent Rystad Energy report indicates that Africa and Latin America could be the catalysts for a resurgence in drilling activity in 2024, after a relatively lacklustre 2023 in terms of major commercial discoveries. Oil companies are looking to these regions to explore new oil frontiers.

According to Rystad Energy's study, 36 high-impact wells are planned for 2024, the highest number since 2014, with Africa leading the list for number of wells. However, less than a third of the previous year's high-impact wells resulted in commercially viable discoveries.

Major oil and gas companies dominate high-impact drilling, planning to drill around 16 wells in 2024, mainly in the Atlantic and Asia. National and international oil companies will be responsible for a significant number of wells, while smaller operators will cover the remainder.


In Guyana, despite currently disappointing drilling results, the country has seen impressive growth since 2020, with production already exceeding 600,000 barrels per day. Hess Energy recently announced that the Payara field had reached full production capacity, complementing the Liza field currently under development. ExxonMobil is also developing other FPSOs in the region, with an expected production capacity in French Guiana of 1.2 million barrels per day by 2027.

In Latin America, Rystad Energy expects high-impact drilling to focus on wells that are important to operators' long-term strategies, rather than on frontier areas.

Eni has played a key role in Africa since the 1950s, with projects ranging from traditional to renewable energy production. In Libya, the relationship with Tripoli has intensified, notably with the recent signing of an agreement to operate two offshore fields from 2026. In Tunisia, recent agreements include the reinforcement of border security and the transit of Algerian gas, supplies of which have increased significantly. In Algeria, Eni has signed important gas supply agreements.

In Mozambique, Eni is involved in several projects, including the Coral Sul FLNG field. Agricultural cooperation and sustainable development projects are also underway, as are circular economy initiatives in other African countries such as Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Kenya and Angola.