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Oil and natural gas industry in Africa - statistics & facts

Africa accounted for roughly eight percent of the global oil output in 2020. Nearly 330 million metric tons of oil were produced on the continent that same year. The region generated 6.9 million barrels per day, the lowest production level since 2000. However, oil remains a primary driver for the economy in producing countries, and its vast reserves may launch other African nations as new producers. The hydrocarbon sector has also shown its potential regarding natural gas, reserves of which exceed 600 trillion cubic meters.

African oil and gas powerhouses

Crude oil and natural gas production is distributed widely in Africa but heavily concentrated in the West and North regions. Located on the West African coast, Nigeria is the major and more mature African oil producer, accounting for roughly one-third of the continent’s production in 2020. Angola, Algeria, Lybia, and Egypt follow, composing the five leading African oil producers. Moreover, these five countries also constitute the largest producers of natural gas in Africa. Together, they accounted for over 90 percent of the continent’s output in 2020. In terms of oil refinery capacity, strong variations are registered among the five countries, ranging from 833 thousand barrels per day in Egypt and 80 thousand barrels per day in Angola.

Fossil fuel exports

With the main African oil and gas producers in West and North Africa, the regions accounted together for some nine percent of global oil exports in 2020. That same year, Nigeria led crude oil exports, with more than two million barrels of oil sold on the international market per day. The country also exported large quantities of natural gas, around 36 billion standard cubic meters, following Algeria. Natural gas exports from Algeria reached 42.5 billion standard cubic meters in the same period. Consequently, fossil fuels play a crucial role in producing countries' economies. For instance, crude oil and natural gas accounted for nearly seven percent of Nigeria’s GDP, and contributed 19 percent of Algeria’s GDP.

New players in the sector

Apart from the established main producer countries, other African nations have been rising as potential players. As of 2020, Africa counted over 15 upcoming liquids projects. The main one is located in Uganda, with an estimated resource volume of 945 million barrels of oil equivalent. Moreover, roughly 40 percent of global gas discoveries in the last decades were in Africa. As the third-largest holder of natural gas reserves in the region, Mozambique has a promising future in the sector.

Interesting statistics

In the following 7 chapters, you will quickly find the 33 most important statistics relating to "Oil and natural gas industry in Africa".


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