North Africa “too risky” for oil exploration

The current risks involved with drilling for oil in North Africa are not worth the rewards. That’s the claim made yesterday by Jean-Daniel Blasco, Vice President for North Africa at […]

Register now!

By Taryn Nixon

The current risks involved with drilling for oil in North Africa are not worth the rewards.

That’s the claim made yesterday by Jean-Daniel Blasco, Vice President for North Africa at Total.

Speaking at the International Petroleum Week conference, Mr Blasco said the problem of security has a strong impact on planning cost and revenue.

He said: “There are not many areas in the world where it’s worth investing today with the present [oil] prices. We have to separate the short term from the long term.”

Three main terror attacks have been “big game-changers” in the North African oil industry, he said.

In 2013, a terror attack in Tiguentourine, Algeria killed 40 people. In December 2014 there was an attack on a Libyan oil plant in the city of Sirte and just last week, the defunct al-Mabruk oil field also in Libya and run by Total was the scene of an assault that killed 11 people with five still missing.

Despite the risks, Mr Blasco said North Africa is still attractive for Total because of its “huge potential” in Shale gas and offshore drilling.

North Africa holds around 4% of the world’s oil and gas reserves and 4% of global production.