Africa's oil "sweet spots" still viable after price rout

martes 10 de marzo de 2015 08:31 GYT

* "Sweet spot" exploration to go ahead despite price drop

* Frontier projects, such as pre-salt suffer most

* Ebola, investment uncertainty deter elsewhere

By Emma Farge

DAKAR, March 10 (Reuters) - African oil explorers will keep drilling in select locations such as onshore east Africa and less complex projects off the West African coast even with oil at $60 a barrel, executives and analysts told Reuters.

But they warned that African governments with reserves in less attractive locations should revise terms now or forfeit the investment, leaving the oil and gas underground.

"There are still some exciting areas in Africa like east Africa and in particular the onshore areas," said Aidan Heavey, CEO of one of Africa's biggest explorers Tullow Oil, referring to drilling projects in Kenya and Uganda. "This is certainly not the end of African oil - far from it."

Oil prices have collapsed from $115 a barrel in June, prompting oil firms to slash hundreds of millions of dollars from exploration budgets, hitting relatively expensive African projects hard. Tullow has cut its budget from a peak target of $1 billion to around $200 million this year, mostly focused on Kenya, although it may double from next year.

Stuart Lake, CEO of African Petroleum, which has licences offshore Senegal and Ivory Coast in the West Africa Transform Margin, says the firm has no plans to cancel projects in an area he called one of Africa's "sweet spots".   Continuación...