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Poll results: Africa and South America tipped for future of Oil & Gas production

14/10/2019
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Last week we asked EngineeringPro readers for your predictions on where in the world the biggest developments in future Oil & Gas production will be based.

Here’s what you said:

Africa and South America led our poll, while no engineering professionals saw a future for Oil & Gas in Europe

Oil & Gas discoveries bring investment, infrastructure and employment to new areas, so it’s vital to understand where the next major boom is going to be. And with both onshore and offshore projects turning to unconventional sources, predictions are getting harder to make.

We broke down the potential futures by continent, and the response we got shows how widespread these opportunities are expected to be.

Leading the predictions is Africa, with 38% of the vote. This reflects an upturn in the industry across the region in the last couple of years, with Africa estimated to have 487.7tcf of proven gas reserves (7.1% of global proven reserves) and 125billion bbl of proven oil reserves in 2017.

Offshore deepwater projects such as ExxonMobil’s Rovuma LNG venture in Mozambique, Senegal’s Greater Tortue Field or Namibia’s Orange Basin demonstrate the significant investment already being put into exploration and development around Africa’s coastal countries.

However, it’s not the only area seeing dramatic growth from deepwater discoveries, as reflected by other answers to our poll - with 30% of the vote going to South America.

Having been a prolific source of Oil & Gas for decades, supermajors are returning to the region to take advantage of ultra-deep oil fields, primarily off the coast of Brazil and Guyana such as the Liza, Mero and Carcara. Research from GlobalData expects E&P companies will invest an average capex of $12.7 billion per year on oil and gas fields in South America between 2018 and 2025, making this a fairly safe bet.

Ultra deepwater discoveries off the coast of Africa and South America make it likely that these regions will continue to see production growth in the coming years
(Image via Shutterstock)

What is more surprising, however, is the relatively low number of respondents voting for North America - with just 8% of engineers choosing it as an option for future investment. In the US, the rise of shale gas has already seen the onshore industry grow over the last few years, and numerous deepwater discoveries in the Gulf of Mexico promise future opportunities - with up to 48 billion barrels of recoverable oil and 141 trillion cubic feet of natural gas thought to be held in the area. Meanwhile Canada’s LNG industry has also been growing at a steady rate, with more investment being put into facilities and pipelines for export.

Why so few votes then? Maybe for the same reason as that Asia received the same score - growth in the past few years does not guarantee that it will continue in the future. Maybe engineers are sceptical about the ongoing future of shale, or the longevity of an administration that will put as much support into the industry. Or maybe the giant fields that offshore Africa, South America and Australia are just a more exciting prospect that ongoing investment in shale.

On a final note, Europe didn’t receive a single vote in our poll, with engineers lack of faith reflecting those of major Oil & Gas companies who have been pulling out of the North Sea region for some time, despite some major new finds in the basin. With the EU focused more on renewable energy, this is one area that few can see as the industry’s future.

Subscribe to the EngineeringPro newsletter for more of our weekly polls and the latest engineering news

Have your say

Do you agree with the results of our poll? Do you think that shale gas will in fact continue to provide a boom for the USA and Europe? Do you think that investment in the Middle East will have more of an impact on the future of Oil & Gas in Asia? Or do you think that other areas, such as the Arctic, are being overlooked.

Have your say on the results in the comments. The best ones will be featured in next week’s EngineeringPro newsletter.

Our next poll will be published later today. 

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Poll results: Africa and South America tipped for future of Oil & Gas production - Time to read 4 min
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