Cameroon Oil And Gas Profile
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  • Cameroon is the smallest oil producer in sub-Saharan Africa (Figure 1), and production levels are declining. Production started in 1976 and reached its peak in 1986 at 173,000 barrels/day. It declined by nearly 40 percent over the decade through 1996. However, the pace of the decline has slowed. Liquid Reserves stand at 0.18 billion barrels and Liquid Production at 59,000 barrels per day. Private oil companies are responsible for exploration and exploitation, but the government remains a key actor in the sector


  • 1947 - Start of oil exploration by the French Bureau of oil exploration
  • 1952: Awarded the first oil exploration license to the company Serepca
  • 1953: first gas discovery, non-commercial, in the Douala basin, Bomono field
  • 1955: first discovery of oil, non-commercial, in the Douala basin, wells Souellaba
  • 1972: first commercial discovery of oil in the basin of the Rio del Rey, Betika field
  • 1974: Creation of the National Fund for Stabilization of Prices of Hydrocarbons (HSPC)
  • 1976: Creation of the National Company of Refining (SONARA)
  • 1977: Cameroon became an oil producing country, through the production of its first tonne of oil in the basin of the Rio del Rey, Kole field
  • 1979: Creation of the Cameroon Deposits of Oil (SCDP)
  • 1980: Creation of the NHC
  • 1981: Inauguration of the refinery SONARA
  • 1985: Production of crude oil reached a record level of 186,000 barrels / day
  • 1986: Start of production decline, due to the occurrence of'' against'' oil shock, which causes a decrease in exploration activities
  • 1991: Enactment of Law No. 91/018 of 12 December 1991 on special incentive measures for the promotion of research and production of hydrocarbons in the Douala basin
  • 1995: Enactment of Law No. 95/13 of 8 August 1995 laying down specific measures for the promotion of production activities of liquid hydrocarbons from marginal fields in the national mining
  • 1997: Release, for the first time, a field in the basin of Douala / Kribi-Campo (Ebome)
  • 1999: Entry into force of the law on petroleum code, which introduced flexible measures and incentives for investment
  • 2000: Liberalisation of the downstream petroleum sector
  • 2002: Entry into force of Law No. 2002/013 of 30 December 200 with gas code
  • 2006: The Cameroon embarked on the development of gas resources, through the signature between the State of Cameroon and the company Perenco's first contract for the development and operation of natural gas, and signing a Memorandum of Understanding with the National Company of Equatorial Guinea Gas, for gas export to that country.
  • Rise of the domestic production of crude oil, up 5.96% over the previous year
  • 2008 : Signing of Decree No. 2008/012 of 17 January 2008 amending and supplementing Decree No. 80/086 of 12 March 1980 establishing a National Hydrocarbons Corporation . This decree extends the tasks of the NHC to set value of natural gas in Cameroon.
  • 2008 - SNH and GDF SUEZ enter into a partnership to develop a LNG project
  • 2010 - Total agreed to sell its Cameroon assets to Perenco


  • The government is represented in the oil sector through the Société Nationale des Hydrocarbures (SNH), the national oil company under the aegis of the secretary general at the presidency. Its role is to assist the authorities in their financial relations with the private oil companies. SNH is also responsible for selling the government’s share of oil output (both in the international market and to the national oil refinery), and for transferring the resulting oil revenue (after accounting for expenditures) to the treasury. SNH is marginally involved in oil production, as it exploits jointly with Perenco an oil field that accounted for 1 percent of the country’s output in 2004. Finally, SNH holds a 20 percent stake in Total, Pecten, and Perenco and other stakes in companies involved in oil sector downstream activities and in non-oil-related activities.
  • The relations between the private oil companies and the SNH, including the tax regime, are contractually defined in the Production Sharing Agreements (PSAs).


  • Oil Reserves: Most of Cameroon’s known commercial oil reserves are located in the offshore Rio del Rey Basin (89%) with the remaining 11% located in the Douala Basin.
    • Rio del Rey consists of approximately 7000 km 2 offshore
    • Douala / Kribi-Campo is 19 000 km 2 , of which 7000 km 2 is onshore
  • Gas Reserves: Substantial gas reserves have been noted in Cameroon but have not been exploited due to the lack of a local gas market. In 2007 Sonagas (the National Gas Company of Equatorial Guinea) and SNH (the National Hydrocarbon Corporation of Cameroon) agreed Heads of Agreement relating to export of Cameroon natural gas to Equatorial Guinea. Sonagas claims that preliminary studies have confirmed that Cameroon has sufficient natural gas reserves to be able to supply Equatorial Guinea with a minimum volume of 200mcf of gas per day for 20 years from 2010.

Active Companies

  • In Cameroon, Total’s production was 9 kboe/d in 2010, compared to 12 kboe/d in 2009 and 14 kboe/d in 2008. In November 2010, TOTAL finalized an agreement in principle with Perenco to sell the Group’s 75.8% interest in its Exploration & Production subsidiary in Cameroon.
  • Bowleven operates three shallow blocks in the Etinde Permit area
  • Sterling Energy is the operator of high potential deep water offshore exploration block, owned together with Murphy Oil
  • Perenco has operated in Cameroon since 1993, as a partner with ExxonMobil and SNH

Crude Oils



  • GDF Suez & Société Nationale des Hydrocarbures are planning to build a 3.5 million ton LNG Export terminal, the Cameroon Lng Terminal in Kribi on the Southern Coastline of Cameroon


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