Going, Going…. Down

March 24, 2023

West African crude oil exports have been gradually declining

West Africa is home to two significant crude oil producers and a large number of smaller players.  The two largest producers are Nigeria and Angola, and they dominate the West African export market.  There are many smaller producers, like Cameroon, Gabon, Ghana, Equatorial Guinea and Togo, but their exports don’t play a significant role in the seaborne export market.  Nigeria has been the top producer over the last 20 years, but its output has been volatile.  Angola’s output grew quickly in the early 2000s, coinciding with the rapid expansion of Chinese crude oil imports.  However, over the last 10 years, production in both Nigeria and Angola has been trending down.

Peak oil production in Nigeria was in 2010 when it averaged 2.53 Mb/d.  Angola reached its highest annual average crude oil production in 2008 at 1.88 Mb/d.  The latest (2022) numbers for these countries are 1.15 Mb/d (Nigeria) and 1.14 Mb/d (Angola) respectively.  This slowdown in West African output has had a significant impact on oil flows and tanker employment.  The current geopolitical situation and significant future developments are reinforcing these downward trends.

To determine the short-term and long-term impact on the tanker market of the developments in West Africa, we will take a detailed look at each of the two key countries.

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