Untapped natural gas supplies in sub-Saharan Africa are set to be unleashed this decade, with output more than doubling from 1.3 million barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd) in 2021 to 2.7 million boepd in 2030 due to vast undeveloped deepwater resources, according to Rystad Energy research
While deepwater developments have played a crucial role in the region’s liquids output to date, averaging about 50% of annual production, gas output from such fields has been minimal. That is expected to change, however, as gas from deepwater reserves will surge in the coming years. Production from deepwater developments will skyrocket from 120,000 boepd in 2021, 9% of total output including shelf and land production, to one million boepd accounting for 38% of total output.
As global demand for gas continues to rise and importing countries suffer supply headaches, the production outlook for the region is promising. Deepwater production is projected to grow further in the 2030s, with gas output more than doubling in five years to 2.1 million boepd by 2035. Gas from shelf and land reserves will increase by 2035 and will contribute about 46% of the expected four million boepd of total gas output from the region, based on estimated recoverable reserves, development timelines and plans.
As a result of the booming production outlook, greenfield investments are also projected to soar. Gas and liquids greenfield capital expenditure in the region totaled US$12bn in 2021, with US$8bn spent on deepwater developments. By 2030, total greenfield investments will surge to almost US$40bn, of which US$24bn will go on deepwater projects.
“Production in sub-Saharan Africa is expected to increase significantly in the coming years, with natural gas output in particular set to see a boom in output. Although there have been notable onshore finds, the development of deepwater offshore resources is going to usher in a period of rapid growth for the region,” said Siva Prasad, senior upstream analyst with Rystad Energy.