The Main Oil Producing Countries in Africa

The African continent is home to five of the top 30 oil-producing countries in the world. It accounted for more than 7.9 million barrels per day in 2019, which is about 9.6% of world output. This level of production is down somewhat from the heights of 2005 to 2010 when African production was nearly 10 million barrels per day. The major production declines between 2010 and 2015 were mostly due to lower global oil prices. Output stabilized between 2015 and 2019. However, the global financial crisis and a production dispute between Saudi Arabia and Russia in early 2020 dramatically reduced oil prices. As a result, future levels of oil production in Africa and around the world were highly uncertain as of June 2020.

All oil production statistics given in this article include lease condensate and come from U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) datasets.

1. Nigeria

Nigeria produced more than 1.9 million barrels of oil per day in 2014 to rank as the 11th-largest oil producer in the world. The country produced around 2 million barrels per day between 2015 and 2019. Fluctuations in annual oil production, especially since 2005, can be attributed partly to security problems connected to violent militant groups in the country. Nigeria is home to the second-largest proven oil reserves in Africa. However, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reports that security issues and other business risks in the country have reduced oil exploration efforts.

The state-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) is responsible for regulating Nigeria's oil and gas sector, as well as developing its oil and gas assets. The NNPC relies heavily on international oil companies to fund development and provide expertise. Most large onshore oil production operations in the country are operated as joint ventures between the NNPC and private oil firms, with the NNPC as majority owner. Comparatively costly and complicated offshore oil developments are typically organized under production-sharing contracts. The terms of these contracts can be adjusted to provide appropriate incentives to international operators. The largest global oil companies operating in Nigeria include Chevron, Exxon Mobil, Shell, Total, and Eni.

2. Angola

Angola produced over 1.4 million barrels of oil per day in 2019, continuing a trend of declining production. Angola was producing around 1.8 million barrels per day in 2015, but output decreased steadily during the rest of the decade. This decline was partly due to a cut that the nation agreed to as a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). Angola offers access to abundant offshore and deep-water oil reserves in the South Atlantic. However, the development of these oil resources could be delayed by sharply lower oil prices in 2020.

The Sociedade Nacional de Combustiveis de Angola, also known as Sonangol, is Angola's state-owned oil company. It historically oversaw virtually all oil and gas development in the country. However, President Lourenço made substantial efforts to form a new independent regulatory organization called Agência Nacional de Hidrocarbonetos e Biocombustìveis (ANHB). Some of the most significant international oil companies that were operating in Angola included BP, Chevron, Exxon Mobil, Total, Statoil, Eni, and China National Offshore Oil Corporation, also known as CNOOC.

3. Algeria

Algeria produced approximately 1.3 million barrels of oil per day in 2019 to maintain its position among the top tier of African oil producers. However, production is down substantially since 2005, when Algeria's output was almost 1.7 million barrels of oil per day. OPEC production cuts and a lack of foreign investment played major parts in the nation's declining oil output. Algeria also exports substantial amounts of natural gas, most of which go to Europe.

Entreprise Nationale Sonatrach is Algeria's state-owned oil and gas company. Sonatrach continues to dominate the oil industry in Algeria. However, lower oil prices led to some reforms in 2019, including a lower tax burden. International oil majors involved in Algerian oil production include BP, Total, and Exxon Mobile.

4. Libya

Libya produced almost 1.2 million barrels of oil per day in 2019, up more than 100% since 2016. This fantastic increase was primarily the result of a temporary reduction in armed conflict within the country. Furthermore, Libya was exempt from the 2016 OPEC production cuts because output had already fallen from 1.7 million barrels per day in 2010. Unfortunately, production fell dramatically in early 2020 as the civil war in Libya intensified. Despite its troubles, the country contains the largest proven reserves of oil in Africa.

As of June 2020, Libya was embroiled in a civil war between the Government of National Accord (GNA) and the Libyan National Army (LNA). International oil companies were active in Libyan oil production before the wars following the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi. However, the future will remain cloudy until the instability is resolved.

5. Egypt

Egypt produced about 630,000 barrels of oil per day in 2019, with output remaining remarkably steady. The country became much more stable between 2014 and 2019. Egypt is also the largest oil producer in Africa that was not a member of OPEC. On the other hand, the government's pro-market reforms reduced subsidies for the oil industry.

Egypt's state-owned oil company, Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC), historically dominated oil production in the country. EGPC partners with several international oil companies in offshore and onshore production operations in Egypt. Eni and BP are major shareholders in offshore Egyptian production assets. Furthermore, the Egyptian government has worked to make the country more attractive to foreign investment. Reforms include reducing subsidies to EGPC and reducing the amount of payments in arrears to international oil companies.

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  1. U.S. Energy Information Administration. "Petroleum and Other Liquids,"

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