The managing director of Seplat Petroleum Development Company, Austin Avuru, has described West Africa as a prime petroleum province in the world. Avuru made the submission in London in a paper he presented at the just concluded International Petroleum Week 2013 organized by the Energy Institute.
To buttress his point, Avuru pointed to the fact that "Africa's contribution to world reserves has increased from 7.0 per cent in 1995 to 8 per cent in 2011 with estimated 2.8% of world oil (68 bn barrels) in Sub-Saharan Africa and 44 bn barrels of those in the Gulf of Guinea."
He also highlighted growing reserves in Libya, Nigeria and Angola while noting that it is a "trend likely to continue with new discoveries announced in Ghana, Egypt, Algeria, Libya, Tunisia, Mozambique, and Uganda in 2011."
Highlighting the strategic position of West Africa in the global petroleum game, Avuru noted that West African countries like Nigeria, Ghana, Cote D' Ivoire, Cameroun, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and Chad have cumulative oil reserves of over 60bbls of oil and over 208 tcf of gas making them a key resource base for oil and gas exploration with potential for significant spikes in reserves.
Taking a broad view, the Seplat boss, noted that oil and gas activity on the continent extends from Mauritania to Angola with Nigeria and Angola accounting for the lion share, an impressive 80% of the total sub-region's reserves as at January 2012. New production countries have also joined the big players following the discovery of oil in commercial quantities in Chad, Ghana,Cote D'ivoire, Liberia, Mauritania.
As if to dispel the cynicism of naysayers, he noted that the potential for growth remains high while explaining that latest findings indicate that future growth will come from West Africa because since 2007, West Africa has seen more success in exploration than other regions of the world - making it attractive for investment.