Africa is a continent of 54 countries with an estimated mid-2000 population of 805 million people. The upstream oil industry is key to the continent of Africa, with proved reserves of 75.4 billion barrels (7% of the world’s total) and in 1998 it produced 7.8 million barrels per day (381 million tons/year) of over 40 types of crude oil. Five countries dominate Africa’s upstream oil production. Together they account for 85% of the continent’s oil production and are, in order of decreasing output, Nigeria, Libya, Algeria, Egypt and Angola. Other oil producing countries are Gabon, Congo, Cameroon, Tunisia, Equatorial Guinea, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Cote d’Ivoire. Exploration is taking place in a number of other countries that aim to increase their output or become first time producers. Included in this list are Chad, Sudan, Namibia, South Africa and Madagascar while Mozambique and Tanzania are potential gas producers.


The downstream oil industry comprises 44 refineries in 25 countries with a total distillation capacity of 3,000 thousand barrels per day which represents 4% of the world total. The major refining centres are in Egypt (19.2%), Algeria (16.7%), South Africa (15.6%), Nigeria (14.6%), Libya (11.6%), Morocco (5.2%) and Kenya (3.0%) in decreasing magnitude of refining capacity (1/1/99) as a percentage of total African capacity. South Africa also has synfuels production. All countries have marketing and distributing facilities. In addition to fuels, Africa has an active lubricants industry which encompasses base oil refining, lubricant blend, distribution and marketing.

Major Players

All the major international oil companies have a presence in Africa, but there are also local African oil companies. Most of the companies issue regular press releases which are a supplement to the news available about their activities and to the investment reports of investment analysts.

The World Bank and other bodies have undertaken studies and produced reports on the African oil industry. In recent years, there have been several conferences devoted to the African oil industry in both the upstream and downstream sectors.

CITAC, the premier company offering consultation and analysis, personnel training and business development in the African energy market, offers additional infomation about the industry in this country, including the only comprehensive report ever prepared on Oil Refining in Subsaharan Africa.

The Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa is a self-financing, national development finance institution focusing on contributing to economic growth, industrial development and economic empowerment through its financing activities.

The CEF (Pty) Ltd is the South African government’s holding company in the petroleum industry. CEF is mandated by the state to engage in the acquisition, exploitation, generation, manufacture, marketing and distribution of energy from and to engage in research relating to the energy sector.

For more information on business in South Africa, buy the South African Business Digital Guidebook published by WiteStuff Publishing. This A-Z business resource, with an investment focus, provides a synthesis of key reference and resource information regarding doing business in South Africa. It contains condensed information across a comprehensive range of subjects and sectors that are useful for corporate business, entrepreneurs, government and academic researchers

The CWC group is hosting the Nigeria Oil & Gas 2005 Conference.

The Truth About Oil & the Looming World Energy Crisis published by The Association for the Study of Peak Oil addresses the topic of Peak Oil in a novel and refreshing way.


Shaun Bakamoso

Greetings. I'm Shaun Bakamoso, and I'm thrilled to be your guide through the dynamic world of business news in South Africa here at With a passion for staying informed and a keen interest in the ever-evolving landscape of business, I've dedicated myself to providing you with timely, insightful, and comprehensive coverage of the latest developments impacting the South African economy. / Instagram