The region’s total oil proved recoverable reserves amounted to 8.6 billion tonnes, representing 3.6% of the global oil reserves. Top countries per oil recoverable reserves include Nigeria (5,002.7 mt), Angola (1,709.4 mt), South Sudan (472 mt), Republic of Congo (225.9 mt), Gabon (273.6 bcm), Chad (215.8 bcm) and Sudan (202.4 bcm). Top producing countries include Nigeria (113 mt), Angola (88.7 mt), Rep of Congo (14.5 mt), Equatorial Guinea (13.5 bcm) and Gabon (11.6 bcm).

The countries in Sub-Saharan Africa have a relatively small share of global oil reserves and production, and major producers such as Nigeria and Angola struggled in the past two years due to the low oil prices. The numbers for the region are expected to grow in the future as there is yet much exploration left to be done.

Nigeria is the top oil producer in the region with 2.35 million b/d, as well as in terms of proved oil reserves with 37.1 billion barrels. The oil industry has been active in Nigeria since the middle of the twentieth century, with the upstream oil sector being the most important sector in the economy, as it accounts for 90% of the country’s exports and around 80% of the government’s revenue. There are three main oil fields: Anambra (onshore), Benin/Dahomey (deepwater and ultra-deepwater) and the Niger Delta (shallow and deep offshore). The industry has been struggling from militant attacks on the pipelines in the Niger Delta, which has significantly reduced the production rate to 1.9 million barrels in the second term of 2016.

Angola is the region’s second oil producer with 1.82 million b/d in 2015 and total proved reserves of 12.7 billion barrels. The industry has been struggling from low oil prices, which in turn severely affected the country’s economy as the oil and gas sectors account for 45% of the country’s GDP.

South Sudan has vast oil reserves estimated at 3.5 billion barrels, but they are largely untapped. The country is heavily dependent on oil exports as they account for around 60% of its gross domestic product. Due to the low oil prices and oil production cuts, the country is facing severe economic crisis and social unrest. Attacks on its main oil fields at northern Unity and Upper Nile states led to a curb in oil production by a third.

The Republic of Congo is the third oil producing country in the Sub-Saharan Africa with 277,000 b/d and reserves estimated at 1.6 billion barrels. In 2014, 70% of the country’s total revenue came from oil production, and this dependence on oil exposes the country to oil price volatility. Recent low oil prices had a negative impact on the country.

Oil Production

Oil Production271million tonnes per year

Oil Recoverable Reserves8.62billion tonnes

Oil Recoverable Reserves by region

  Loading graph...

Oil Recoverable Reserves by country

  Loading graph...

Top Oil producing countries

  Loading graph...


Oil data represents Crude Oil only, for extra-heavy oil and oil shale please refer to the WER 2013 report oil chapter.