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Exploration Analysis

Through the 1970’s and mid-1980’s, Cameroon was a significant oil producer and exported from 100,000 to 150,000 BOPD. In recent years, the country’s production capacity has steadily declined, so that by 1993, production was only 114,000 BOPD, with exports of 72,000 BOPD.

All Cameroon production comes from the Rio Del Rey Basin, which is the extreme eastern flank of the Niger Delta Basin. Fields are relatively small, averaging 22 MMBBLS, but, like their Nigerian counterparts, are highly productive. Continued drilling activity over recent years has failed to replace production, and reserves have declined steadily. Although deeper drilling and the application of 3D seismic may lead to more significant reserves additions in the future, all of the potentially prospective blocks in the basin are under concession to Elf, Pecten and Kelt, thus presenting little opportunity for the new investor to the basin.

The Douala Basin, occupying the most northerly part of the West African Salt Basin, has always been regarded as gas-prone, although small, non-commercial oil discoveries have been made. Mobil did not pursue development of the Sanaga Sud Field, the largest discovery to date, which contains just under 1 TCF of gas and 5 MMBBLS of condensate. Recent geochemical studies by Kilenyi (1991) and Ackerman et al (1993), have suggested that oil-prone source rocks are present in this basin, suggesting significant unrecognized oil potential.

The Douala Basin has been only lightly explored when compared with the Rio Del Rey Basin, and land is much more readily available. However, the recent reacquisition of the Sanaga Sud Block, offshore from Kribi, by Mobil and the acquisition of three large onshore blocks by Texaco, suggest that the potential of the Douala Basin is already in the process of being re-evaluated upwards by the international oil industry. (*Note – in 2000, Petrel Robertson evaluated several exploration blocks in the Douala Basin on behalf of Euroil Ltd., a junior U.K. firm).

Cameroon presents a fairly attractive petroleum investment climate with a reasonably capable work force, a manageable political and business environment, substantial transport and industrial infrastructure and excellent economics. The major drawbacks are the limited prospectivity for oil in the Douala Basin where acreage is available, and the lack of acreage in the oil-prone Rio Del Rey Basin.

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For more information contact:

Leslie Sears
Petrel Robertson Consulting Ltd.
500, 736- 8th Avenue S.W.
Calgary, Alberta
T2P 1H4

Phone: (403) 218-1618
Fax: (403) 262-9135

This summary, part of Petrel Robertson’s 1995 summary of exploration and development opportunities in 31 countries around the world, has not been updated. Some of the information, particularly relating to political and economic issues, is thus out of date. It is included, however, to demonstrate the breadth and depth of Petrel’s work in each of these nations.

Copyright © 2014 Petrel Robertson Consulting Ltd.