Perhaps the starting point here is to recognise that there is manifestly no political coherence, no unifying political entity, which covers Morocco – Algeria – Tunisia – Libya – Egypt.
Nevertheless Algeria, Libya and Egypt are major petroleum-producing countries, and Morocco has surprised industry insiders with a recent, reportedly significant, gas discovery.
For a good summary of the petroleum geology of North Africa, emphasising the vast scale, the variety of hydrocarbon provinces and the diversity of petroleum types and remaining potential thereof, I refer you a short article by Robin Crawford which can be found here.
Thus there is significant potential throughout the region but equally we can say that each country offers some mixture of the major challenges – from the obvious one of security to bureaucracy to internal politics.
Is there then a regional opportunity?
What seems clear that any North African portfolio would be thin if it did not include assets in Egypt, acquired if necessary via the active A&D market which exists there. Egyptian production could then ‘anchor’ a regional entity seeking North African development and/or appraisal projects, possibly even (shock horror!) accessing exploration acreage.
There are a number of smaller E&Ps with some presence already in North Africa that might contemplate such Egyptian-led growth.
For a fuller interrogation of the region, click here