In a relatively low oil price environment, listed chemicals and energy group Sasol is focused on pursuing hydrocarbon opportunities in Africa, according to John Sichinga, the senior vice-president of Sasol Exploration and Production International.
Sasol is currently in the middle of a drilling programme in Mozambique.
Sichinga said drilling of the second gas well in the northern part of the Temane Field in Mozambique was completed on October 2. Drilling of the first Inhassoro G6 oil rim well commenced on October 11.
The drilling programme is part of Sasol’s field development plan for the Production Sharing Agreement (PSA) licence in Inhambane province, Mozambique.
“The PSA will be developed in phases,” Sichinga said. “Sasol plans to drill a total of 13 production wells during first phase of the field production plan.”
Together with North America, southern Africa forms part of what Sasol refers to as a dual regional strategy. “Key to this strategy is to deliver steady growth with an oil bias focused on Africa,” he said.
He said Mozambique was at the centre of Sasol’s growth strategy for southern Africa.
Sasol earlier this year said gas produced in the first phase of the production sharing agreement would be allocated to a 400 megawatt (MW) gas-to-power plant to be developed near Sasol’s existing central processing facility near Inhassoro, Mozambique.
He said the recent commodity bust had hurt Africa, but cheaper energy presented increased in-country monetisation options.
Sichinga said Africa had significant hydrocarbon potential. Last year, the continent produced 8.4 million barrels of crude oil per day from a proven oil reserve totalling 129.1 billion barrels.
“As at the end of 2015, Africa has a proven natural gas reserve base of 496.7 trillion cubic feet. An estimated 100 billion barrels of oil offshore Africa are yet to be discovered.”
He said Sasol was searching for proven hydrocarbon basins, proximity to developed infrastructure, markets and skilled workforce, producing oil assets and exploration opportunities.
“But it does not mean that if there is no skilled work force Sasol will not go there,” he said. West Africa fitted Sasol’s medium-term growth strategy “of delivering steady oil-biased growth with an African focus”.
Sasol is also eyeing gas exploration opportunities in South Africa. In November 2013, it signed an exploration right permit to explore for hydrocarbons on the east coast, offshore Kwazulu-Natal, with the Petroleum Agency SA.
In June 2014, Sasol concluded a farm-out to Italian oil and gas multinational Eni for the exploration right permit 236.