Top 10 Highest Oil Producing Countries in Africa (2024)

There are countries in Africa where you can find oil and gas. The rate at which the economies of these countries grow is on the high even though oil prices seem to flunctuate in recent times. Out of the 54 countries of the continent, 16 are exporters of oil to other foreign nations of the world.

oil producing states

The history of oil in the continent dates far back even before civilization or the colonial invasion. This doesn’t stop Africa’s top oil producing countries from exploring their God giving natural resources. We know that there are top oil companies involved in Africa hydocarbon exploration and they can be found in these countries.

Top 10 Highest Oil Producing Countries In Africa 2023

#1. Nigeria

Nigeria holds the top spot on this list, although Libya has the largest oil reserves in the continent, Nigeria has the upper hand as it has the highest rate of production. Infact, there are states in Nigeria where you can find oil and gas, these states are located in the southern region of the country and they include: Bayelsa, Delta, Edo, Cross River, Imo and Ondo states respectively.

Nigeria is the continent’s number one producer of oil and has the 2nd largest oil reserves. The country produces oil of high quality and is quite popular with the European and US refiners. This natural resource is also the main source of wealth of the country’s economy which accounts for its GDP. No wonder top oil companies in the world like Shell, Mobil and Chevron are known to be based in Nigeria.

#2. Angola

Angola is the 2nd highest oil producing country in Africa and also the third-largest trading partner of the United States in Sub-Saharan Africa. It is known that the U.S. imports 7% of its oil from Angola. On the international scene, Angola ranks 7th, producing about 1.9 million barrels a day.

Angola is a major oil producing country and also an active member of OPEC. Currently, Angola has 9.5 billion barrels of authentic oil reserves and 11 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of natural gas. It had to even reduce production as directed by OPEC. The oil industry in Angola is mostly dominated by the upstream sector – exploration of petroleum and production of offshore crude oil and natural gas.

The oil rich continental area of the Angolan coast is divided into 50 blocks, all operated by foreign oil firms. The offshore blocks 0 to 4 which is operated by Chevron accounts for a significant share Angola’s oil production. This U.S. company holds a very solid position in the market while Chevron and ExxonMobil jointly accounts for one-third oil production.

The economy of Angola has greatly improved over the years due to the fact that oil production has greatly improved. This shows that Angola is one of the largest oil producers in Africa that encourages investors into its oil industry.

#3. Algeria

Algeria is OPEC’s largest member country and also the largest country in Africa. This country shares borders with Morocco, the Western Sahara, Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Libya and Tunisia. It is situated in the north of the continent near the Mediterranean Sea. Its territory covers an area of around 2,382 thousand square kilometres.

Algeria is Africa’s third largest crude oil producer and also a member OPEC. The country joined OPEC in 1969. Until now, this north African country has maintained its rank as the sixth largest natural gas producer in the world. The oil and gas sector is the backbone of the economy, accounting for about 35 per cent of the gross domestic product, and two-thirds of total exports. The country’s other natural resources include iron ore, phosphates, uranium and lead.

The major industry players in charge of oil exploration in Algeria include BP, ConocoPhillips, Eni, Gazprom, Repsol, Shell, StatoilHydro and Total. Algeria contains more than 12 billion barrels of proven oil reserves and 159 Tcf of proven natural gas reserves.

#4. Libya

Libya joined OPEC in 1962 due to its discovery of natural oil and gas in Amal and Zelten, presently known as Nasser. Officially, the country began exporting of oil in 1961. Just like Algeria above, Libya is located in northern Africa. Although the country isn’t politically and economically stable, it is still the 16th largest country in the world in terms of land mass, comprising of around 1,760 thousand square kilometres.

Even though the Libyan economy is mostly hydrocarbon-dependent. the oil and gas industry account for almost 70% of its GDP. That is 97% of the export earnings plus 90% of fiscal revenues. It might shock you to know that Libya is also one of the richest countries in Africa producing an average of 1.7 million barrels daily.

The country isn’t only blessed with petroleum, other natural resources found in Libya are natural gas and gypsum while substantial revenues gotten from the energy sector, including the small population, gives Libya one of the highest per capita GDPs in Africa.

#5. Egypt

Egypt is among the top oil producing countries in the continent and one of the oldest energy producers in the Middle East. History has it that the discovery of commercial oil production dates back to more than a century. The ancient country benefits richly from low production costs and a relatively large volume of both onshore and offshore oil and gas fields.

Due to the political unrest in recent times and a sharp drop in oil price, Egypt’s oil production had since declined. This has greatly affected the growth and development of the natural gas industry. The current leadership in the country has diverted to tourism and agriculture as one of the major economic strength of the arab nation while trying to revive its natural gas production.

Egypt is still considered one of the richest oil producing African countries as it maintains a sizeable export market, through shipped products and pipelines, as well as a sizeable downstream sector. According to the BP Statistical Review 2015, the country had 3.6bn barrels of proven reserves in 2014 while oil production was at 717,000 barrels per day (bpd), down from a peak of 941,00 in 1993.

The country uses more oil and gas than other African countries. In 2014 alone, oil consumption was at 813,000 bpd which has seen the doubling of gas imports to 1bn scfd recently. Almost half of Egypt’s oil is produced in the Western Desert. Exploration and production license in the Western Desert has been dully dominated by top american oil firms which include: Shell, Apache, Eni and the Tunisia’s HSBI.

#6. Sudan

Sudan is another African country where oil can be found in large quantity. Unfortunately, just two years after the country gained its independence, the once oil-rich Sudan has since been plunged into a civil war funded by its own oil revenue.

Sudan’s oil reserves are mostly in the south, while the refineries and shipping facilities are located in the north. The discovery of oil has made Sudan divide itself, causing conflict between the north and south for decades. So how much oil is produced in Sudan?

On an average, 490,000 barrels is produced per day. Since it accounts for nearly 98 per cent of the southern government’s revenue, production increased for several years. The output even doubled more than expected since 2003. Even at this level, Sudan isn’t one of the world’s largest oil producers as it is currently ranked 30th, between Australia and Ecuador.

#7. Equatorial Guinea

Equatorial Guinea discovered its large oil reserves in 1956 but became a full member of OPEC on June, 2017. This country is also one of the highest oil producing African countries located in Central Africa. Due to the placement of the country’s oil rings, explortation has been made quite easy. The oil industry contributes majorly to the country’s economy producing an average of 346,000 barrels per day.

Equitorial Guinea is a nation and one of the top 10 producers and net exporter of crude oil including being an exporter of natural gas. They have also exported coffee, timber and cocoa in the past.

#8. The Republic of Congo

The Republic of Congo is the eighth largest producer of oil in Africa but faces an unfortunate number of political challeges as well as a poor economy but has been ranked among the list of top ten oil producing countries in the continent. This is not surprising as Congo emerged as a significant oil producer, with production expanding considerably during the 1990s.

It was in mid 2001 that production began to decline due to the fact that existing oil fields became bare. However, a steady rise in oil production since 2008 has seen the country regain its spot on the list. According to the 2012 BP Statistical Energy Survey, Congo had proved oil reserves of 1.94 billion barrels at the end of 2011, equivalent to 17.9 years of current production and 0.11% of the world’s reserves.

The downstream sector of the oil industry has also played a major role in the country’s economy. Just like other countries in this article, the oil and gas industry is mostly run by foreign companies.

#9. Gabon

According to an online report, Gabon produces an average of 241,700 barrels of oil in a day. Located in central Africa, Gabon’s mainland is mostly covered by the rain forest which caused the complex nature of its offshore geology. This in turn has led to the slow increase in the rate at which oil is produced.

The Republic of Gabon became a full member of OPEC in 1975 but terminated its membership in 1995. It re-joined the Organization on 1st March 2016. Apart from being an oil producer and net oil exporter, Gabon also have other natural resources like uranium, manganese and is doing well in the agricultural plus tourism sectors.

#10. South Africa

South Africa boasts of one of the richest economies in Africa at the moment and also a top oil producer. On a daily basis, it averages 190,000 barrels of oil and is one of the most developed countries on the continent. This is because, the whites based there even after independence.

Most of these highest oil producing countries have not maximized these resources for the good of their citizens. Most of the inhabitants in these nations still suffer from abject poverty while the political class use these resources to enrich themselves through corrupt means.

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Oluchi Chukwu

Oluchi is a seasoned Information blogger, content developer and the editor of Nigerian Queries. She is a tech enthusiast who loves reading, writing and research

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