Undeveloped African oil and gas reserves 'worth US$125 billion'

Oil rig in Cape Town Harbour. (Image source: Derek Keats/Flickr)A new report has placed the value derivable from reserves in conventional undeveloped oil and gas fields in Africa at an estimated US$125bn

The latest upstream outlook from global energy research company, Wood Mackenzie, added that there are nearly 1.4 trillion barrels of oil equivalent (boe) reserves in conventional undeveloped oil and gas fields globally.

This figure includes nearly 1.1 trillion boe of ‘technical reserves’, or reserves for which there are no firm development plans in place.

"Over half of these discoveries which we classify as 'good technicals', are potentially economic under our current price assumptions," said David Highton, principal analyst of upstream research at Wood Mackenzie. "These have an indicative collective value of about $760bn."

There is a vast potential value from good technical fields across the world, according to the report, with the Middle East holding the most valuable portfolio ($185bn), followed by Latin America ($149bn), North America ($132bn) and Africa ($125bn).

Wood Mackenzie’s outlook predicts that around 300bn boe of undeveloped commercial reserves will be brought onstream in the next decade or so.

Commercialising the unfulfilled potential of undeveloped discoveries will be difficult, according to the report, as there are a number of obstacles to be overcome.

"These could be the lack of accessible markets or available infrastructure, political or environmental issues, operator constraints, or simply low resource volumes for the particular location," the report said.

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