In his 2007 book, Untapped: The Scramble for Africa’s Oil (buy from Amazon.co.uk or Kalahari.net), John Ghazvinian suggested that there were at least six reasons why Africa’s oil is really “good” oil. Of course, any oil is good oil these days, but Africa’s oil producers has some distinct advantages that can work in Africa’s favour.
For the record, Africa’s top oil producers (bbls per year) are as follows (World list available here):
- Nigeria, 2.21 (14th in the world)
- Algeria, 2.12
- Angola, 1.9
- Libya, 1.8
- Egypt, 0.6
More importantly, I think, Africa’s top proven oil reserves (in billions of barrels) are as follows (World list available here):
- Libya, 47 (9th in the world)
- Nigeria, 37.5 (10th in the world) – still many untapped fields so the actual number is likely to be much higher
- Angola, 13.5 (15th in the world) – still many untapped fields
- Algeria, 13.4
- Sudan, 6.8
- Egypt, 4.3
- Ghana – recent discoveries in late 2010 has meant official estimate in January 2011 of 2 billion is now deemed very low (their newly opened Jubilee field has 1.8 billion barrels on its own – the second largest single field in the world).
Even with new discoveries on the West African coast, Africa still only supplies just more than 10% of the world’s oil. But there is huge hype around the continent. The United States already imports more oil from Africa than the Middle East, and China is increasingly looking to Africa for its energy security. Ghazvinian suggest the following reasons why Africa’s oil reserves are so exciting (much of this is taken from a summary by the author, available here):