Cameroon has experienced a fairly steady decline in its domestic oil production over the past 20 years. The country is still a net oil exporter, but if new fields do not come online in the near future, Cameroon could become a net oil importer. Currently, Cameroon does not produce any natural gas, but the country has plans to develop its natural gas reserves for generating electricity in the future. The majority of electricity generated in Cameroon comes from hydroelectric power stations, though droughts can often leave the country dealing with electricity shortages.
As of January 2006, Oil and Gas Journal estimated that Cameroon had proven oil reserves of 400 million barrels, with the majority of reserves located offshore in the Rio del Rey basin of the Niger Delta. Less significant reserve deposits are located in the Douala/Kribi-Camp basins off Cameroon’s western coast, and onshore in the northern Logone-Birni basin.
n 2006 Cameroon produced 90,000 bbl/d of oil in 2006. Oil exported from landlocked Chad is transported via the Chad-Cameroon pipeline, which ends at Cameroon’s Kribi terminal.
The Cameroonian government revised its petroleum laws to include financial incentives and tax breaks on exploration in both 1999 and 2002. Although the country has been well explored, Cameroon’s state oil company, the Societe Nationale des Hydrocarbures (SNH), believes that discovery and development of smaller fields is still possible. Renewed interest in oil investment has led to exploration in all three of Cameroon’s major petroleum basins -- Logone Birni, Douala and Rio del Rey. SNH, which Cameroon has committed to privatize, engages in exploration and production in conjunction with several foreign oil companies, the largest being Total.
- Oil production: 82,300 bbl/day (2005 est.)
- Oil proved reserves: 90 million bbl (2006 est.)
- Natural gas proved reserves: 110.4 billion cu m (1 January 2005 est.)
- In 2005, Total brought its Bakingili discovery online. In 2005, SNH awarded Total the first production sharing contract (PSC) in Cameroon’s history for the Dissoni permit in the Rio del Rey basin. In 2006, Total announced that it struck oil after drilling its first well on the block.
- Interoil Corporation also conducted exploratory drilling in three fields.
- In 2007, Cameroon had plans to open a licensing round which will offer six oil blocks for bid in the Rio del Rey region. The blocks will be awarded under PSCs. In the medium term, Cameroon is expected to open a licensing round for the Bakassi Peninsula, which Nigeria agreed to withdraw from in June 2006. Industry experts believe Bakassi acreage could contain significant amounts of oil reserves as it borders areas in the Gulf of Guinea that, in the past, have yielded numerous oil discoveries.
- Tullow Oil and partner Addax Petroleum signed an exploration licence with the Cameroon Government for the Ngosso Area in December 2002. Addax operates the licence with a 60% interest, while Tullow holds the remaining 40%. The Ngosso licence, which lies in shallow water, contains a number of existing small oil discoveries - Narendi, Odiong and Oongue - in addition to numerous exploration opportunities. One of the objectives of the initial work programme is to appraise these discoveries with a view to establishing their commerciality.