Oil and Gas Exploration Takes Seismic Shift in Gabon to Somalia

Not all exploration has slowed for oil and gas in Africa. More nations not known for energy reserves on the continent are conducting seismic surveys during a drilling downturn, according to consultant PwC.

Gabon, Somalia, the Seychelles, Madagascar and Guinea-Bissau are among countries that used seismic surveys in the past year, Chris Bredenhann, partner at PwC based in Cape Town, said in a report Wednesday. The technique is similar to ultrasound and is used before drilling to detect where reserves may be.

The rise in seismic surveys “opens the possibility of increasing future exploration activity,” PwC analysts including Bredenhann said in the report.

In 2014, 11 of the largest 20 oil and gas discoveries were in Africa, though their size decreased, according to PwC. Exploration has shrunk on the continent this year, with Brent crude oil prices dropping 12 percent. The Baker Hughes Rig Count reported 100 rigs in Africa in May, the lowest amount since at least June 2012.

The number of bidding rounds for oil and gas blocks has also declined, the PwC report showed. “This is partially due to the flurry of bidding rounds in the previous couple years and a consolidation of these agreements together with the lower oil prices and lower interest to invest.”

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