Africa is a continent richly endowed with natural resources with almost half of its 55 countries known to have proven natural gas reserves. Across the entire continent, natural gas reserves amount to a total of more than 800 trillion cubic feet, with BP predicting that the production of natural gas in the continent will expand by 80% by 2035, contributing to rising Gross Domestic Profit (GDP), the emergence of middle-class consumers and increased market value. As a major source of wealth and energy in Africa, the development of oil and gas resources proves critical for economic growth and revenue expansion. The following list comprises the Top Ten Natural Gas Reserves in Africa by country:
Nigeria – 206.53 Trillion Cubic Feet
According to the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Nigeria has proven gas deposits of 206.53 trillion cubic feet. Located in western Africa on the Gulf of Guinea, Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa and has a total area of 924,000km2 with a coastline of 853km. The country has the largest natural gas reserves on the continent and is the 12th largest producer of petroleum in the world. Nigeria’s oil sector comprises 20% of its GDP and 95% of foreign exchange earnings. The country’s biggest natural gas operator is the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Company.
Algeria – 159.1 Trillion Cubic Feet
Algeria ranks 11th in the world, 2nd in Africa, in terms of proven natural gas reserves and accounts for approximately 2% of the world’s total reserves. Covering an area of around 2.4 million km2 with a coastline of 1,200km, Algeria is the largest country in Africa and the world’s sixth-largest gas exporter. Hydrocarbons are the country’s primary source of revenue, supplying a large amount of natural gas to Europe. Additionally, natural gas accounts for roughly 34 percent of the northern African country’s GDP with 80% of Algeria’s total hydrocarbon production operated by the state-owned oil company Sonatrach – the largest company in Africa.
Senegal – 120 Trillion Cubic Feet
Major discoveries made in Senegal since 2014 have made the west-African country an attractive destination for oil exploration companies. The Grand Tortue Ahmeyin (GTA) gas field development alone holds proven natural gas reserves of 100 trillion cubic feet, which is expected to lead to massive gas production in Senegal and Mauritania over the next decade. The $4.8 gas project is set to produce 2.5 million tons of LNG annually and 70 million cubic feet of natural gas within its first phase. The GTA discovery is the deepest offshore gas field in Africa, lying beneath waters over 2km deep. Another major gas field in Senegal, the Yakaar-Teranga field, has proven natural gas reserves of 15-20 trillion cubic feet and will start production in 2023 or 2024.
Mozambique – 100 Trillion Cubic Feet
Mozambique holds roughly 100 trillion cubic feet of proven natural gas reserves, accounting for approximately 1% of the world’s total. The country’s proven gas reserves are able to meet 1,545.7 times its annual consumption, meaning the southern-African country has 1,500 years of gas left. Most of the country’s natural gas exploration occurs in Areas 1 and 4 of the 50,000km2 Rovuma Basin, which is operated in by Total S.A., U.S.-based ExxonMobil, and Japan’s Mitsui.
Egypt – 77.2 Trillion Cubic Feet
According to the International Trade Administration’s 2021 Energy Resource Guide, the transcontinental north-African country has proven natural gas reserves of approximately 77.2 trillion cubic feet. Egypt has one of the most developed economies in the Middle East and Africa and is the largest consumer of oil and natural gas on the continent. As the fifth largest holder of proven natural gas reserves in Africa, the country has emerged as a lucrative destination for Liquified Natural Gas and natural gas pipeline imports.
Tanzania – 57.54 Trillion Cubic Feet
Tanzania’s proven natural gas reserves are 57 trillion cubic feet, according to the Ministry of Energy. The Ministry estimates that around 70% of the country’s reserves are recoverable with approximately 50 trillion cubic feet far offshore in the Indian Ocean. From its three major oil fields – Songo Songo Island, Mnazi Bay, and Kiliwani North – Tanzania has a total annual production of 110 billion cubic feet of natural gas. The majority of these discoveries have been found in three blocks, with 22 trillion cubic feet of gas found in place at Block 2, and with Blocks 1 and 4 totaling around 25.4 trillion cubic feet in place. 10 trillion cubic feet of proven natural gas reserves have been found in several smaller fields throughout the country, with Mnazi Bay containing 5 trillion cubic feet and Songo Songo Island with 551 billion.
Libya – 53.1 Trillion Cubic Feet
With 53.1 trillion cubic feet of proven natural gas reserves, Libya is a major exporter of natural gas utilizing both LNG and pipelines to Europe. As the world’s 16th largest country and a major oil producer, – the industry accounts for nearly all export earnings and over one-quarter of GDP – Libya accounts for 1% of total global natural gas reserves. Libya’s state-owned National Oil Corporation is its largest oil company, accounting for 70% of the country’s oil output.
Angola – 13.5 Trillion Cubic Feet
Angola is the second largest oil producer in Africa, following Nigeria. The southern-African country’s economy is highly dependent on its hydrocarbon industry, with its crude oil sector driving economic growth and accounting for one-third of its GDP and more than 90% of its exports. As of 2021, Angola holds 13.5 trillion cubic feet of prove gas reserves, however, most of its production is flared or reinjected into oil fields to increase oil recovery.
Congo – 10.1 Trillion Cubic Feet
Located in central Africa, The Republic of Congo is the third-largest crude-oil producer in sub-Saharan Africa, following Nigeria and Angola. With 10.1 trillion cubic feet of proven natural gas reserves, The Republic of Congo, or Congo Brazzaville, is highly dependent on crude oil production for its economic revenue. Eni is the leading natural gas producer in the country having constructed two natural gas-fired power plants and upgraded the country’s transmission and distribution network.
Equatorial Guinea – 5 Trillion Cubic Feet
According to Statista, as of 2020, Equatorial Guinea has 5 trillion cubic feet of proven natural gas reserves and produces nearly 300,000 million cubic feet per year, ranking 51st in the world. Located in central Africa, the country is a major exporter and net producer of crude oil and is a key producer and exporter of natural gas. Exported as LNG, Equatorial Guinea’s natural gas is produced by Sonagas in conjunction with the nation’s principal petroleum company, EG LNG.
Cameroon – 4.8 Trillion Cubic Feet
While much of its gas remains undeveloped, Cameroon has approximately 4.8 trillion cubic feet of natural gas reserves. The country’s national oil and gas company, Société Nationale des Hydrocarbures, in cooperation with GDF Suez, is currently planning the construction of the country’s first LNG plant.
Sudan – 3 Trillion Cubic Feet
With natural gas reserves estimated at 3 trillion cubic feet, plans are currently underway in Sudan to extract and utilize the country’s vast resources to facilitate industrial and commercial power generation. With a population of 8 million, only 29% of Sudan’s population has access to electricity, despite being holding the 10th largest natural gas reserves in Africa. The majority of Sudan’s oil sector is held by China’s National Petroleum Company, India’s Oil and Natural Gas Corporation, and Malaysia’s Petronas.
MSGBC Natural Gas Reserves
The Mauritania, Senegal, Gambia, Guinea-Bassau-Conakry Basin offshore West Africa is an exciting frontier for oil and gas exploration. The basin includes the GTA gas field, which is estimated to contain more than 100 trillion cubic feet of natural gas as well as the Yakaar-1 gas field in northern Senegal, with current resources placing estimates at 15 trillion cubic feet. The basin includes the AGC joint maritime zone, sitting between Guinea-Bissau and Senegal and features a regional collaboration between the governments of the five countries.
Source: OPEC Annual Statistical Bulletin 2022
According to current estimates, 80.4% (1,241.82 billion barrels) of the world's proven oil reserves are located in OPEC Member Countries, with the bulk of OPEC oil reserves in the Middle East, amounting to 67.1% of the OPEC total.
For more information:
OPEC Annual Statistical Bulletin 2022