Equatorial Guinea forecasts to hit $1.4 billion in its hydrocarbon sector through the development of oil projects and an increase in exploration is yielding some good results. The OPEC member country recently led energy cooperation in the Gulf of Guinea with Sao Tome and Principe.
“We expect 2020 to be the biggest year of investment in Equatorial Guinea’s hydrocarbons industry in years,” Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons Gabriel Obiang said in a statement on the website of the Johannesburg-based African Energy Chamber.
São Tomé and Príncipe and Equatorial Guinea have agreed on the establishment of a Special Zone for Joint Exploration to explore and develop cross-border oil & gas reserves believed to be in the blocks bordering each country’s maritime zone.
The decision was taken during a meeting in Malabo between H.E. Osvaldo Abreu, Minister of Public Works, Infrastructures, Natural Resources and Environment of São Tomé and Príncipe and H.E. Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons of Equatorial Guinea.
It notably follows several cooperation agreements signed last year during the official visit of President Evaristo Carvalho to Equatorial Guinea, which notably included joint oil exploration in the countries’ maritime zone.
Both ministers discussed plans to expedite joint exploration efforts in the blocks within their maritime zone and expect operations to start as early as October 2020. São Tomé and Príncipe are also set to benefit from Equatorial Guinea’s experience in the hydrocarbons sector, especially when it comes to offshore oil & gas exploration, production, and monetization. In this regard, Equatorial Guinea has agreed to select students from São Tomé and Príncipe to study oil-related courses in the country.
São Tomé and Príncipe is believed to be an upcoming frontier when it comes to oil & gas. In its ambition to open up a new petroleum frontier in African waters, São Tomé and Príncipe hope to rely on the expertise of its African neighbors. The country shares another joint area with Nigeria, Africa’s biggest oil producer, which resulted in the signing of a treaty in February 2001.
Last November, Equatorial Guinea awarded nine oil and gas blocks as well as granted Exxon Mobil a six-month extension to assess the potential of a further two fields. Noble Energy Inc., Trident Energy Ltd., and Kosmos Energy Ltd. all made offshore discoveries in 2019 and will do more appraisals next year.
New investments in the sector will help Equatorial Guinea’s economic recovery from the collapse of oil prices in 2014.