TotalEnergies to Strengthen Exploration & Production (E&P) Activities in Congo with $600M Investment

On the back of recent investments, exploration and production updates and strong willingness by the government, the Republic of Congo is taking historic measures to ensure its oil and gas industry drives resource monetization and energy access throughout Africa

Oil and gas supermajor TotalEnergies has announced that it will invest $600 million to strengthen exploration and production activities in the Republic of Congo in 2024. The investment will be used to finance exploration and maintain production in the country’s deep offshore Moho Nord field, which accounts for approximately half of all Congolese oil production, or roughly 140,000 barrels per day (bpd).

As the voice of the African energy sector, the African Energy Chamber (AEC) commends the commitment by TotalEnergies to Congo’s oil and gas future. The $600 million investment signals a strong intent by the IOC to develop and monetize Congolese hydrocarbons for the benefit of the country and will unlock a wave of economic opportunities for the broader region.  

The TotalEnergies-operated Moho Nord field brings together four reservoirs that extend over 320km2 in water depths of 750m to 1,200m. As such, TotalEnergies’ commitment to the Republic of Congo’s oil production is poised to ensure additional production of 40,000 bpd, adding to the country’s current levels of 267,000 bpd. TotalEnergies also operates the deep offshore Marine XX permit, which extends over an area of 3,285.8km2 at water depths of up to 2,000m. Two drilling rigs arrived at the permit this month, with TotalEnergies CEO Patrick Pouyanné expressing his optimism that the field will yield a discovery before the end of the year.

Congo’s oil and gas can play a much greater role in alleviating energy poverty and driving industrialization in Africa

In April this year, TotalEnergies signed an agreement – through its subsidiary TotalEnergies EP Congo – to acquire a 10% stake in the Moho permit from oil and gas company Trident Energy. Following the completion of this transaction, TotalEnergies will hold an operational stake in the permit with 63.5%, alongside Trident Energy, which will retain a 21.5% share, and the Republic of Congo’s national oil company Société Nationale des Pétroles du Congo (SNPC), which will hold a share of 15%.

“The $600 million investment by TotalEnergies shows that the IOC is in the Republic of Congo to stay. Congo’s oil and gas can play a much greater role in alleviating energy poverty and driving industrialization in Africa, and partnerships with companies to the likes of TotalEnergies will be instrumental in achieving these objectives. We look forward to witnessing new discoveries being made in the coming months,” stated NJ Ayuk, Executive Chairman of the AEC.

In addition to TotalEnergies’ investment plan, the Republic of Congo is set to benefit from a new strategic partnership with Algeria in the field of hydrocarbons and energy. A memorandum of understanding was signed between Algeria’s Minister of Energy and Mines Mohamed Arkab and the Republic of Congo’s Minister of Hydrocarbons Bruno Jean-Richard Itoua on May 21 to enable the development of a new roadmap for bilateral relations between the two countries.

The agreement will also facilitate the sharing of expertise between Algeria’s state-owned Sonatrach and the SNPC headed by Raoul Ominga in the field of downstream oil. The two countries have also expressed their optimism and support to the development of an African Energy Bank to focus investment in oil and gas projects across the continent.

These major developments come after the confirmation of the formation of a new Gas Master Plan in the country by the Republic of Congo’s Ministry of Hydrocarbons during the Invest in African Energy 2024 summit in Paris this month. Currently in its final stages, the new plan will provide a framework that incentivizes the development of the national gas sector while serving as a roadmap to harnessing gas resources for domestic consumption and export. This represents a major opportunity for regional and international investors and will promote gas utilization while reducing the country’s dependence on crude oil revenue. The new Gas Master Plan is being developed by SNPC with support from energy intelligence firm Wood Mackenzie. SNPC CEO Raoul Ominga has been working closely with the Ministry to get final approval. This will open the door for a lot of investment in the gas sector in Congo.

In addition to the Republic of Congo’s established fields, the plan opens the door to negotiate existing contracts and is set to culminate in the establishment of a new gas code in the country. The new code is poised to facilitate the commercialization of stranded assets and flared natural gas while allowing the government to make changes to current fiscal terms and make small-scale projects more economically viable. Approval by parliament for the new code is expected by June this year, according to Minister Itoua.

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