Recapping Africa’s Top Energy Developments in 2023

energy. africa
Energy Capital & Power showcases the latest developments in Africa’s energy hotspots, including South Sudan, Libya, Angola, Namibia and the MSGBC region.

The transition to cleaner sources of energy – such as natural gas, renewable energy, and green hydrogen – served as a central theme to Africa’s energy developments in 2023. Poised to alleviate energy poverty – with over 600 million people in sub-Saharan Africa still living without adequate electricity access – major developments include the signing of new exploration contracts, major oil and gas discoveries, developments in green hydrogen and rising investment in decentralized power solutions.

South Sudan Accelerates Exploration

South Sudan signed multiple exploration-focused Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) in 2023, from enabling the acquisition and development of oil and gas production licenses with oil and gas independent Zenith Energy to launching aerial survey exploration with South Africa’s Strategic Fuel Fund in Block 2. In the renewables space, Egypt and South Sudan agreed to co-develop the construction of 20 solar-powered stations in the East African country, while Aptech Africa successfully installed 26 MWp of solar plants in Juba last September, as part of a self-financed project by infrastructure developer, Ezra Construction Company.

Libya Revives its Upstream Sector

Libya’s oil and gas sector underwent a strong revival in 2023, with oil production reaching 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd), ahead of a targeted two million bpd in the next three to five years. The National Oil Corporation also announced plans to launch a licensing round in 2024, which would be the country’s first in nearly two decades. Last May, Tatneft struck oil in Area 82 of onshore Block 4, while production resumed at the El Sharara oilfield – the country’s largest. Moreover, 2023 saw Libya sign numerous MoUs with international majors including Eni and Equinor.

Angola Awards New Contracts

On the back of several new contracts awarded, Angola is diversifying its exploration landscape and driving upstream activities. The sale of Sonangol’s stakes in Blocks 3/06 and 23 to Afentra was approved last November, while Azule Energy awarded a $300-million contract to Sepura Energy for work on the offshore Northern Gas Complex project. Meanwhile, a Production Sharing Agreement between the ANPG, Azule Energy and Equinor, as well as a $75-million contract between TechnipFMC and TotalEnergies for the Girassol Life Extension project, are set to bolster Angola’s hydrocarbon output.

Namibia Solidifies Frontier Status

Significant discoveries in Namibia’s Orange Basin in 2023 included the Jonker-1X discovery made last March and the Lesedi-1X discovery made last July by supermajor Shell. In terms of onshore potential, ReconAfrica announced an updated prospective resource estimate last June of 22.4 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in Namibia’s Petroleum Exploration License 73 in the onshore Kavango Basin.

Poised to facilitate Africa’s energy transition by becoming a leading producer of green hydrogen, Namibia signed a deal last May with Hyphen Hydrogen Energy for the next phase of its flagship $10-billion green hydrogen project. The deal outlines offtake terms that will see Namibian green hydrogen exported to Europe.

MSGBC Scales Energy Opportunities

MSGBC member-countries – Mauritania, Senegal, The Gambia, Guinea-Bissau and Guinea-Conakry – saw several advancements in their respective energy sectors in 2023. Last November, Mauritania and the European Commission jointly launched the Team Europe initiative, which aims to catalyze investment in the development of green hydrogen industries in the West African country.

Meanwhile, the Africa Finance Corporation entered into a strategic partnership with Senegal to bolster growth of the Sangomar Field Development, a resource-rich area with substantial potential for natural gas exploration. Last July, engineering firm TSK partnered with Senegalese company LFR Energy for the construction of the Sandiara Power Plant, a gas-to-power facility located in Senegal’s Special Economic Zone, with construction slated to begin in 2024.

The Gambia’s Ministry of Petroleum and Energy and H2 Gambia, a subsidiary of HydroGenesis, signed an agreement last October to explore the country’s hydrogen potential. In Guinea-Conakry, TotalEnergies secured a Front-End Engineering Design contract last September for the construction of an alumina refinery, which is set to catalyze aluminum production in the West African country.