Oil discoveries in Uganda and Kenya in recent years have raised hopes that East Africa can follow the lead of several other African nations and become major oil producers. There is some way to go, while other countries are already established players in the market, producing millions of barrels a day. The oil industry is key to the continent of Africa. The market is currently dominated by five major players, who account for 85 per cent of the continent’s production. Tom Jackson takes a look at who these major players are.
Nigeria and Oil
Producing 2.2 million gallons of oil per day, Nigeria is Africa’s biggest producer of oil and in the top fifteen producers in the world. They are also the world’s 4th biggest exporter, exporting 2.1 million barrels each day. Much controversy has surrounded oil production in Nigeria. Most recently Royal Dutch Shell is on the defensive following a $100 million fine imposed by a Nigerian court for a 1970 oil spill. Also, past reports show that militants have attacked pipelines and kidnapped oil employees, cutting into Nigeria’s oil production. In 2010, a military attack in Nigeria’s Oil Delta killed up to 150 people. Recently, as a result of the corruption in the industry Nigeria’s President, Goodluck Jonathan, sacked the managing director and several other executives of the state oil company, NNPC.
Algeria and Oil
Algeria produces 2.1 million barrels of oil daily. In 2010, Algeria’s president fired the CEO and top managers of the state-owned oil firm Sonatrach following a corruption scandal. According to the 2011 BP Statistical Energy Survey, Algeria had proved oil reserves of 12.2 billion barrels at the end of 2010, equivalent to 18.4 years of current production and 0.88 percent of the world’s reserves.
Angola produces 1.9 million barrels of oil daily, and exports 1.8 million barrels, placing them seventh on the world’s list of exporters. The oil and gas sector is currently Angola’s most important source of income and foreign currency. Companies, national and foreign, investing and operating in the oil and gas sector are not subject to the generally applicable foreign exchange regulations.
Libya produces 1.7 million barrels of oil per day, while exporting 1.2 million barrels daily. Defying both doomsday scenarios and even modest recovery projections, Libya’s oil industry is now booming having tailed off during the fight between rebels and government forces. It is one the few examples of national success as Libyans head to the polls to vote in their first free elections since the fall and death of former Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi.
Producing 680,000 barrels of oil per day, Egypt is the fifth largest producer in Africa. The petroleum industry plays a key role in the Egyptian economy. It is one of four main sources of foreign exchange with Egypt being currently an oil exporter. Egyptian oil production comes from four main areas: the Gulf of Suez, the Western Desert, the Eastern Desert, and the Sinai Peninsula. In addition to its role as an oil exporter, Egypt has strategic importance because of its operation of the Suez Canal and Sumed (Suez-Mediterranean) Pipeline. These are two routes for export of Persian Gulf oil. The Sumed pipeline is an alternative to the Suez Canal for transporting oil from the Persian Gulf region to the Mediterranean. The 200-mile pipeline runs from Ain Sukhna on the Gulf of Suez to Sidi Kerir on the Mediterranean.