West Africa 2015: Key Events in Oil, Gas

Several energy firms operating in West Africa have experienced financial difficulty this year. Afren plc was forced to enter administration in July, after failing to secure support for a refinancing and restructuring plan, and the National Oil Company of Liberia implemented a company-wide restructuring plan in August, after the lower oil price environment caused “serious fiscal difficulties” for the organization, according to a NOCAL statement. Other energy companies, such as Panoro Energy ASA, Mart Resources Inc., Azonto Petroleum Ltd, Oando Energy Resources, African Petroleum and Seplat also revealed various financial troubles in 2015. In a more positive development for the sector, Nigeria’s state oil company, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, announced in September that it had secured a $1.2 billion multi-year drilling financing package, which will contribute to the running of 36 oil wells. The package was financed by a consortium of Nigerian and International lenders.

One of the most significant political changes of the year in the West African oil and gas industry was Muhammadu Buhari’s successful presidential bid in Nigeria. President Buhari was inaugurated May 29 and has since pledged to trace and recover the vast sums of money that have been stolen from the country’s oil sector. Buhari also suggested that he is looking to take a more aggressive military posture against thieves and sabotage afflicting Nigeria’s oil and gas sector.

West Africa experienced some financial trouble in 2015, which is understandable given the current market conditions. However, the area’s exploration, production and political achievements in the last few months are encouraging and signal a bright future for West Africa’s oil and gas industry.


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