You are Home   »   Events   »   East African Exploration - where are the big fields hiding? Agenda

East African Exploration - where are the big fields hiding?

Finding big fields in East Africa
Alessandro Colla
» Fugro Gravity & Magnetic Services
Shane Cowley
» Tullow Oil

Full Agenda

Tuesday, April 17, 2012
The Geological Society

East Africa used to be considered an exploration ‘backwater’: the thinking went - perhaps there is some gas but not enough to ever be commercial, not a place to interest ‘serious’ explorers!

Things are changing. The region is seeing a ‘scramble for resources’ - in the East African Rift System all the way from Malawi to Somalia, with the Albertine Basin in Uganda exemplifying what might be available; in the offshore areas of Kenya, Tanzania and Madagascar; ENI may have just made a huge gas discovery in Mozambique; and of course there remains the vast heavy oil potential of Madagascar.

Does this region have the potential for the Giant Fields that will unlock its future and propel it to the front rank of hydrocarbon provinces: perhaps ENI have already answered this question for gas but what about oil? If Yes, does the region have the political, regulatory and fiscal systems that can deal with the transformation that would result?

This April Forum will consider these profound questions, perhaps going as far as to point to those basins, prospects and fields that will turn this into a truly Frontier exploration province!


9:30 David Bamford -
New Eyes Exploration

Welcome & Introduction - is there any oil offshore East Africa?

View PDF   
David Bamford is well known around the oil & gas industry both as an explorer and a geophysicist. He holds a Physics degree from the University of Bristol and a Ph.D in Geological Sciences from the University of Birmingham.

Since 2004, he has been a non-executive director at Tullow Oil plc, being recruited for this position especially for his exploration knowledge. He serves on the Nominations and Remuneration Committees, and was chairman of the latter, and Senior Independent Director, for 3 years prior to his retire from the board at the end of April 2014.

He was on the board of Premier Oil from May 2014 to May 2016.

He retired from BP plc in 2003, his last four positions being Chief Geophysicist (1990-1995), Business Unit Leader (General Manager) for first West Africa and then Norway (1995-1999), and finally Head of Exploration until 2003.

He has served on the boards of Paras Ltd, a small exploration and IS/IT consulting company in which he held 22% equity, until its sale to RPS Energy in 2008 and Welltec a/s, a Danish well engineering company, as the nominee of the private equity investor Riverside.
From 2012 to 201 he was on the board of ASX-quoted Australia Oriental Energy as a non-executive director.

He was a founder of Richmond Energy Partners, a small oil & gas research house, and several media companies that focus on the oil & gas sector, and has served as an advisor to Alliance Bernstein, Opus Executive, the Parkmead Group plc, and Kimmeridge Energy LLP. Since retiring from BP, he has undertaken asset and company valuation projects for investment banks, hedge funds and small oil companies.

New Eyes Exploration
New Eyes Exploration, founded by David Bamford, explores new ways to discover Oil and Gas.
9:50 Monica Enfield - Director, Research & Advisory Group
Energy Intelligence

The geo-politics of East Africa

View PDF   
Monica Enfield is the Director of Industry Analysis for Energy Intelligence’s Research & Advisory group, based in Houston, TX. In this role, Monica manages retainer and advisory engagements that assess above-ground risk for regional, country and project level investments in international oil and gas. An Africa specialist by background, Monica leads the country risk practice on that region, with specific expertise in African national oil companies, local risk assessment and strategy development. Monica was previously the Director of Country Risk at PFC Energy, where she managed client offerings on national oil company strategies and country risk. She has also participated in a number of external task groups, including contributing to a chapter on energy security in “Africa Policy in the George W. Bush Years: Recommendations for the Obama Administration” at the Center for Strategic International Studies in Washington, DC.Monica holds an MA in Arab Studies from the School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University and a BA in Political Science from California State University, Stanislaus. She speaks English and Portuguese.

Energy Intelligence
Energy Intelligence has been a leading independent provider of objective insight, unbiased analysis
10:25 Michael Hall -
Airbus Defence and Space

The East African Rift System - The Contribution of Earth Observation Data to Hydrocarbon Exploration

View PDF   
Talk Description
Michael Hall - Astrium GEO-Information Services

East Africa, overlooked in terms of its hydrocarbon potential for many years, is currently experiencing a surge in interest with recent discoveries in the Albertine Rift and offshore. This presentation summarises the results of a geological interpretation study of the East African Rift System (EARS) based on Earth Observation (EO) data, incorporating both a structural and stratigraphic interpretation together with the identification of lake and offshore oil seeps. The study represents a unique and consistent interpretation over the entire EARS at a regional scale to aid exploration for energy resources, covering an area of approximately four and a half million square kilometres.

The EARS is an elongate system of extensional faults, stretching over 5000km in a general N-S direction from the triple plate junction of the Afar Triangle in Ethiopia to the Inhambane region in Mozambique. Dominated by extensional faulting, the area is characterised by two main rifting trends, defined as the Eastern and Western Branches, with several phases of superimposed rifting having occurred. Included in the study is an extract from Astrium’s global oil seeps database, which includes oil slicks derived from natural lake bed oil seeps of the EARS and from the sea bed of surrounding offshore areas, identified using Radar Imagery. The offshore areas include the Gulf of Aden, Seychelles, Madagascar, Somalia, Tanzania, Mozambique and Kenya, with over 800 radar scenes assessed.
Astrium Services GEO-Information division comprises the earth observation and imagery exploitation e
11:00 Coffee & Tea
11:30 Alessandro Colla -
Fugro Gravity & Magnetic Services

East Africa Exploration: Hints from Remote Sensing and Potential Fields data from Continental to Prospect scale

View PDF   
Fugro Gravity & Magnetic Services was formed in 2008 through the merger of Fugro Robertson (
12:05 Shane Cowley -
Tullow Oil

Finding oil in East Africa, The Albert Graben Story, Past, Present and Future

Talk Description
AUTHORS: 1. Shane Cowley, 2. Paul Burden, 3. Ian Cloke
[All of Tullow Oil: 1. Chiswick Park, London. 2. Capetown. 3. Capetown.]

Recent industry focus on East Africa has resulted in large tracts of new acreage being licensed. The drivers for this focus are a series of significant discoveries of both gas and oil across the region. These discoveries have been in areas with little track record of past success. The play elements however have long been recognised particularly in the Albert Graben where Wayland et. al. described oil seeps as far back as the 1920’s. Tullow’s history in Uganda began with the acquisition of Energy Africa (EA) in 2004. EA had been working in the Albertine Graben since 2001 with their partners Heritage Oil. Exploration success for Tullow in Uganda did not come easily and was as much about corporate deals to consolidate acreage positions as it was about success through the drill bit. Industry perception at the time was that a young mid continent basin without a proven prolific oil source rock was not the obvious place to look for elusive East African oil. Persistence has paid off with the total discovered resource base now topping approximately 1.1bn boe.

Recent exploration began with the drilling of the Heritage operated Turaco-1,2 & 3 wells between 2002 to 2004, resulting in a disappointing CO2 discovery in the Semliki area at the southern end of the basin. A breakthrough came with the drilling of the Hardman operated Mputa-1 leading to the first oil discovery in the basin. Several discoveries in the same flank play followed including Waraga and the significant Kingfisher field operated by Heritage in 2007. All of these flank plays rely on a seal against the basin bounding fault and 3-way anticlinal dip closure.
Exploration of the northern areas of the basin also began in 2007 with the acquisition of a fairly sparse grid of 2-D seismic by Tullow, the operator of EA-2 and Heritage, operator of EA-1 (exploration area 1).

Interpretation showed large NW-SE trending faults cross-cut by secondary E-W trending faults. The intersection of the two fault trends combined with structural dip towards the SW led to the definition of a number of triangular shaped fault traps. Monoclinal dip to the SW towards a potential 'source kitchen' beneath Lake Albert provided a speculative and risky long distance migration path. Some of these prospects were supported by amplitude anomalies at various levels in the interval just above the base of the rift-fill. Prospects identified included Ngege, Kasamene, Kigogole, Nsoga, Ngiri (Warthog), Rii(Giraffe) and Jobi(Buffalo).

The first boreholes drilled within the area were Ngege-1 and Kasamene-1 in mid 2008 by Tullow. The latter was a promising discovery in high quality Pliocene fluvial channel sandstones. This was followed by another discovery, Kigogole-1, before drilling activity switched to EA-1.

The first well to be drilled by Heritage was Ngiri-1 in EA-1 south of the Victoria Nile. This well was a promising discovery similar to Kasamene-1. Activity then moved to the north of the Victoria-Nile and the most significant discovery so far was made at the Jobi-1 and Rii-1, drilled at the end of 2008. These wells intersected the same large oil accumulation.

During 2009 Tullow continued exploring in EA-2 and made further discoveries at Nsoga-1, Wahrindi-1 and Ngara-1 and also started an appraisal drilling program.

In early 2010 Tullow exercised their pre-emption rights over the Heritage Oil sale of their Ugandan assets consolidating their position as 100% equity holder and operator of EA1, EA2 and EA3A. In parallel a farm-down process continued culminating in Tullow farming down their equity to 33% and introducing CNOOC and Total to the basin. As the farm-down process continued further discoveries followed in 2010 and 2011 at Mpyo-1, Jobi-East-1 and Gunya-1 along with additional appraisal wells and 3D seismic.

Exploration by Tullow and Heritage over the past 5 years has opened up a major new oil play in the Victoria-Nile region. In 2012 Ugandan exploration efforts with our new partners CNOOC and Total will see the drilling of the Kanywataba prospect in the south of the basin and a series of prospects to the west of the Nile in the north. More regionally exploration focus in Tullow is shifting to transfer learnings in Uganda to new frontiers in Kenya and Ethiopia where important play tests will be drilled in 2012.

Tullow Oil plc is one of the largest independent oil and gas exploration companies in Europe. The Gr
12:40 Prize Draw, followed by Lunch & Refreshments

Join 10,000 oil & gas professionals who attend our events and receive our newsletter.


Staying competitive in a down market through digital transformation - case study on how Lundin is becoming more efficient through 3D operation
by Per Ivar Nerseth from AVEVA

"Blend of science, technology, political and economic aspects."


We are planning a further webinars program for 2024 -
If you may have an interesting story to share, please contact
Karl Jeffery on