Deepwater West Africa – going against the grain?

The low oil price is having a major impact across the oil & gas industry. However, DW’s recently released World Floating Production Market Forecast 2015-2019 expects capital expenditure on FPS units to total US$81 billion between 2015 and 2019. While many industry participants may consider this surprising due to daily announcements of budget cuts, it is important to note that while a number of FPS projects have been put on hold, few have cancelled – indicating that operators are simply employing wait-and-see tactics on projects. Over the next five-years, deepwater projects in the ‘golden triangle’ of Latin America, US Gulf of Mexico and West Africa, are expected to account for more than 60% of FPS expenditure. This is not unexpected given diminishing reserves in many onshore areas and in shallow waters, coupled with the widely accepted fact that floating production systems are a key enabler for production in deep waters.

Deepwater West Africa, particularly offshore Angola and Nigeria, is a growing market despite the current downturn. As DW noted in February, while cuts in expenditure are being announced, IOCs are pressing ahead with key projects in both countries, all of which are expected onstream before 2018. Chevron, ExxonMobil and Eni all have major deepwater projects in Angola, collectively adding a peak capacity of approximately 1 million bpd. Total also has a number of FPS projects in development – examples include the Eastern Hub FPSO in Angola and the Egina FPSO in Nigeria.

While Petrobras is currently embroiled in a corruption scandal, a number of the NOC’s FPS units were ordered prior to the oil price downturn therefore these projects are unlikely to be affected. However, future orders have some uncertainly due to the scandal. Overall, due to the growing importance of deepwater reserves, associated floating production activity is expected to increase despite the oil price downturn. As such, offshore West Africa will remain a key area for FPS deployments and oil & gas stakeholders’ interest in the region is well placed.


Adapted from press release by Joseph Green

Published on 09/03/2015


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