West Africa

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Currently the most active newer offshore oil wells are off the coast of West Africa, specifically Nigeria and Angola. Combined, the two regions have a proven reserve of over 20 billion barrels of oil. Further the geological factors are extremely favorable. The rock is young permitting easy extraction of up to 100,000 barrels a day. Drilling experts claim that the only restraint is the size of the conduit bringing up the oil.

Other countries in the region have also revealed oil reserves off their coast. Ghana is fast becoming a popular site with its Jubilee well, which is expected to hold approximately 2 billion barrels of oil. Oil extraction from this region began in late 2010. Another find was discovered in March 2011 indicating that this could be the area to watch out for in coming years.

The Sierra Leone Liberian basin is hot spot for oil exploration and experts hope that the 700 mile stretch from the Jubilee well to this region will have similar properties and billions of barrels of oil lying beneath. Finally Liberia recently signed a deal with Chevron to conduct exploratory efforts on three different locations off its coast.

The only thing affecting oil production in the region appears to be political issues. While Nigeria was historically Africa’s largest oil producer it lost its spot to Angola due to the political unrest. Unfortunately Angola too has problems of its own relating to oil production particularly due to political battles in the oil rich province of Cabinda. The other countries also have similar political structures and might face similar challenges in the future.

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