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Equatorial Guinea has experienced rapid economic growth due to the discovery of large offshore oil reserves, and has become Sub-Saharan Africa’s third largest oil exporter after Nigeria and Angola. According to the World Bank, oil revenues increased in value from $3 million in 1993 to $190 million in 2000 to $3.3 billion in 2006. From 2002 to 2006 the country experienced an average real annual GDP growth of 15.8 percent. Oil exports currently represent over 90 percent of total export earnings. However, a slowdown in oil production has caused GDP growth to decelerate to 6.8 percent in 2007.
According to the Oil and Gas Journal, Equatorial Guinea had estimated proved oil reserves of 1.1 billion barrels as of January 2007. The majority of these reserves are located offshore in the oil-rich Gulf of Guinea. Since the 1995 discovery of the Zafiro field, Equatorial Guinea's oil production has increased dramatically. In 1995, oil production was 5,000 barrels per day (bbl/d), which increased to 385,970 b/d in 2006.
The Ministry of Mines, Industry and Energy is the overall regulatory body for the petroleum industry in Equatorial Guinea. The Equatoguinean government created a national oil company (GEPetrol) that became operational in 2002. GEPetrol’s primary focus is to manage the interest stakes of the Equatoguinean government in various production sharing contracts (PSAs) and joint ventures (JVs) with foreign oil companies. The company can also participate in oil exploration and production activities outside Equatorial Guinea.
- Oil production: 420,000 bbl/day (2005 est.)
- Oil proved reserves: 563.5 million bbl (1 January 2002)
- Natural gas production: 100 million cu m (2004 est.)
- Natural gas proved reserves: 36.81 billion cu m (1 January 2005 est.)
- In 1995, ExxonMobil and Ocean Energy discovered the Zafiro field, which is located northwest of Bioko Island. Zafiro was the first deepwater field to be brought on stream in West Africa and is currently the main producing field in Equatorial Guinea. Zafiro is currently operated by an ExxonMobil-led consortium that includes Devon Louisiana and GEPetrol. According to the Energy Intelligence Group (EIG) the field contains estimated recoverable reserves of over 400 million barrels, and is Equatorial Guinea's largest oil producer, with an output of 245,000 bbl/d for the first half of 2006.
Zafiro, as of 2005, has been blended with Topacio and marketed as “New Zafiro”, a low-sulfur distillate rich crude oil. Zafiro was traditionally sold across the US, Europe and Asia-Pacific markets, but recently China has emerged as its single most important purchaser, buying over half its export volumes.
- Alba, Equatorial Guinea's third largest field is located 12 miles north of Bioko Island. According to the EIG, Alba is a major condensate field containing an estimated 400 million barrels of liquids. The field currently produces between 65,000 and 75,000 bbl/d of condensates and 20,000 bbl/d of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). Marathon Oil Corporation serves as operator of Alba field along with GEPetrol.
- Additional production could come from( Amerada) Hess Corporation’s Northern Block G field, expected to come on stream at the end of 2007. According to EIG, initial production is expected to be around 60,000 bbl/d.
- In 2005, the Equatoguinean government planned to begin a new licensing round for offshore acreage, including parts of Blocks F, G, H and L in the Rio Muni Basin. After several delays, the licensing round went ahead in September 2007. Blocks were awarded to India’s Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Ltd, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, and other independent producers. Prior to the licensing round, PetroSA, the South African state oil company was allocated three blocks for the country’s role in preventing a coup attempt against the government of Equatorial Guinea in 2004.
- Asian firms from China, India and the Philippines are especially interested in gaining exploration rights. In February 2006, the China National Offshore Oil Company (CNOOC) signed a production sharing agreement (PSA) for offshore acreage in Equatoguinean waters. Under the contract, CNOOC and GEPetrol will have the rights to explore the acreage over the next five years.
- Tullow Oil holds interests in two production licences offshore Equatorial Guinea, covering the Ceiba field and the Okume Complex. An extension is currently being negotiated on a third licence, which covers exploration Block L, to allow completion of the required regional studies prior to commiting to a well in the next exploration period2006 average gross production from the Ceiba field (Tullow 14.25%) was 40,000 bopd. This was maintained by a successful infill and water injection programme to re-pressurise the reservoir. Infill drilling will continue in 2007 and production is expected to remain around 2006 levels throughout 2007. Production from the Hess operated Okume Complex development (Tullow 14.25%) commenced, ahead of schedule, on 14 December 2006. By early March 2007 the field was producing at 20,000 bopd from 5 wells. This figure will steadily increase during 2007 as more wells are brought on stream. Peak production of 60,000 bopd, is expected to be achieved in mid-2008. The project involves the integrated development of the Okume, Oveng, Ebano and Elon oil fields, collectively known as the Okume Complex. The development includes two tension leg platforms (TLPs), four fixed platforms, and the drilling of over 40 wells. Production from the fields is gathered at a central processing facility (CPF) located at the shallow water Elon field. A 24 km pipeline connects the CPF to the Sendje Ceiba FPSO vessel, which has a storage capacity of 2.1 million barrels, and currently handles production from the nearby Ceiba field.