TotalEnergies announces $600m investment in Congo, sidelines Nigeria

Alex Omenye
Alex Omenye

French oil major TotalEnergies has announced a $600 million investment deal in the Republic of Congo, just days after its CEO revealed that the company chose Angola over Nigeria for a $6 billion energy project.

Earlier this week, it was reported that TotalEnergies’ CEO, Patrick Pouyanne, explained the decision to invest $6 billion in Angola over Nigeria, citing policy inconsistencies and other challenges in Nigeria.

Following this, TotalEnergies has now unveiled a $600 million investment in Congo for oil production and exploration, once again bypassing Nigeria, Africa’s largest oil producer.

In a press statement released on Thursday, TotalEnergies outlined that the investment would be used to finance exploration and maintain production in the country’s deep offshore Moho Nord field.

“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 statement read.

The statement also mentioned that two drilling rigs arrived at the permit this month, with CEO Patrick Pouyanne expressing optimism about the field yielding a discovery before the end of the year.

In April, TotalEnergies, through its subsidiary TotalEnergies EP Congo, signed an agreement to purchase a 10% stake in the Moho permit from Trident Energy.

Upon completion of this transaction, TotalEnergies will hold a 63.5% operating stake in the permit. Trident Energy will maintain a 21.5% share, while the Republic of Congo’s national oil company, Société Nationale des Pétroles du Congo, will hold a 15% stake.

“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 like TotalEnergies will be instrumental in achieving these objectives. We look forward to witnessing new discoveries in the coming months,” stated NJ Ayuk, Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber (AEC).

Earlier on Monday, CEO Patrick Pouyanne explained the rationale behind investing $6 billion in Angola over Nigeria. Speaking at the Africa CEO Forum in Kigali, Rwanda, Pouyanne highlighted the inconsistency in Nigeria’s policymaking as a significant deterrent for long-term investments.

“Nigeria loves to open topics without closing them. You love to debate. There is always a new legislature in Nigeria about a new petroleum law. When you have such permanent debates, it’s difficult for investors looking for long-term structure to know what direction to go,” Pouyanne said.

“In reality, the Niger Delta is the most prolific part of West Africa. But because of these debates, there has not been a single exploration in Nigeria for 12 years. It’s important to have a debate, settle it, and put a framework on the table that investors can trust.”

Pouyanne further emphasized the stability of Angola’s policy framework as a key reason for TotalEnergies’ decision to invest there. “We have countries that have perfectly integrated policies like Angola. So, we go to Angola and announce a very large $6 billion project because their framework is stable. So we know where we go,” he concluded.

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