abound offshore West Africa
In the future, enhanced seismic images will improve drilling decisions
Deepwater oil exploration offshore West Africa has fourished since the frst oil and gas exploration of the Congo basin in 1994. Over the last 20 years, this region has become pivotal
for the exploration and production of oil and
natural gas. Across the continent, deepwater
oil and gas activity extends from Mauritania
to Angola, with total oil and gas production
growing from 58.9% in 2001 to 78.3% by 2011.1
West Africa’s appeal is hardly surprising.
Its Atlantic margin consists of signifcant
unexplored acreage offering considerable
E&P potential. Little wonder then that these
as yet untapped reserves have spurred considerable investments by local and foreign
investors alike. According to a report published by Barclays earlier this year, E&P
spending in Africa is set to rise by 4.5% year-on-year in 2013 to reach around $25 billion,
with western Africa attracting the lion’s
share of this spending. Overall, global exploration and production spending is poised
to reach a record $644 billion by the end of
2013, Barclays forecasts.
Within West Africa, Nigeria has a long-standing position as a major producer of oil,
and is home to the second largest amount
of oil reserves in the region. In addition to
Nigeria, Angola has emerged as one of the
most signifcant countries in Africa for the
exploration of oil and gas and is home to over
one-third of all discoveries made over the last
three years in the region. For example, of the
52 oil and gas discoveries made in offshore
West Africa between 2009 and September
(Above) International oil companies are applying their understanding of oil fields offshore
Brazil to the counterparts offshore West Africa.
These companies are employing state-of-the-art seismic imaging technology to locate oil at
water depths of more than 2,000 m ( 6,560 ft).
(Below) Repsol launched Project Kaleidoscope
to use new models and algorithms on one of
the world’s most powerful supercomputers—the
MareNostrum, shown here, operated by the
Barcelona BSC. The supercomputer enables
algorithms to run as much as six times faster
than on many seismic analysis platforms.