African Licensing Round Up

We take a look at the current state of licensing round set to take place across the continent in 2020-2021.

Recent analysis from Rystad Energy predicts that over 50% of global upstream licensing rounds for 2020 will be cancelled or delayed, reflecting the dual effect of COVID-19 and oil price volatility. With this in mind, we took a look at the current status of African licensing rounds which were scheduled to take place across the year.

The ANPG awarded three deepwater concessions in the Namibe basin in early 2020 as part of the 2019 Licensing Round, and another round has been scheduled for 2021. Details on specific blocks to be offered are still TBC, but PGS recently completed a survey on the Kwanza Shelf which will provide key data for the Licensing Round. Read more here.

Côte d’Ivoire

Speaking as part of Côte d'Ivoire’s National Showcase at AOW 2019, Ambroise Niamien, (Special Advisor Ministry of Petroleum, Energy & Renewable Energy) announced the country’s plans for a mini-round to licence 13 offshore blocks.
The round will start with CI 102 and CI 503, which lie off Abidjan, and CI 800, 801, 802, which sit near Ghana’s maritime border.

Gabon’s 12th Offshore Licensing Round was launched at AOW 2019 and concerns 12 shallow water and 23 deepwater blocks. The closing date was pushed back by 3 months to 30 April 2020. TGS are the Official Technical Partner and has acquired 17,000 km² of 3D data.

The 2020 Licensing Round has just been launched and features 9 offshore blocks on offer (LB-25 to LB-33) in the Harper Basin, regarded as one of the last ‘unexplored and undrilled’ regions offshore West Africa. Read more here.

At AOW 2019, Carlos Zacarias (Chairman, INP) announced Mozambique’s intention to launch the country’s long-awaited 6th licensing round in early 2020, but we are yet to hear any details.

The 2020 license round, announced at AOW 2019, officially launched at the end of January with an initial application deadline of 31 July. Due to current circumstances, the deadline has been extended 30 September.
The round offers 12 offshore blocks in the MSGBC Basin and PETROSEN partnered with TGS, PGS and GeoPartners to deliver over 14,000km of 2D & 10,000km² of 3D data.

Hon. Timipre Sylva (Minister of State for Petroleum Resources) has just announced Nigeria’s intention to host a bidding round for 56 marginal fields, with a launch expected within the next two weeks.

Republic of the Congo
There is ongoing promotion of all open blocks, including 5 blocks in the interior Cuvette basin and 10 blocks in the Congo coastal basin. PGS is the supporting partner for 7 of the offshore blocks.

Sierra Leone
Launched in May 2019 and supported by Getech, Sierra Leone’s fourth Licensing round bid deadline was extended from November 2019 to February 2020 and has now closed. The Director General of the PDSL recently revealed that they had received 6 applications for the 5 blocks on offer.

South Sudan
Plans for the nation’s first licensing round, which was due to be launched in March, have been put on hold indefinitely. The round intended to offer 14 blocks in the Northern oil fields. Awow Daniel Chuang (Undersecretary, Ministry of Petroleum) said, “We are going to defer it a bit, but the plans are still there for us to attract new investors to South Sudan.”

In response to the outbreak, the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development has extended the deadline for pre-qualification applications for the 2nd Licensing Round to 30 September 2020. There are 5 blocks on offer, Ngaji, Turaco, Kasuruban, Omuka and Avivi, all located within the Albertine region.

As a consequence of recent developments, Tanzania has postponed its fifth upstream licensing round well into 2021-2022. The licensing round would have included 8 deep-water blocks in water depths of 2000m-3000m. Blocks 1,2,3 and 4 have a total of seven gas discoveries, yet were relinquished at different stages by Statoil, ExxonMobil, BG and Ophir.

Africa Oil Week is returning 2-6 November 2020. More licensing round announcements are expected in the National Showcase Theatre. Do you have an African licensing round story to share? Get in touch at