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Africa: Oil, gas, and petrochemicals

Hydrocarbon Engineering,


BMI anticipates market growth for Algeria’s petrochemical sector however, it does believe that some plans to bring online new petrochemical capacity may experience delays. This year, BMI has said that it expects import levels of petrochemicals in to the country to increase and it is likely to become even more dependent on finished petrochemical product imports.

Development in shale in the country is expected to provide an upside to production in the country as well as provide a solid base for the expansion of the petrochemicals sector, improving its competitiveness in the global market. If expansion plans within the petrochemical market do move forward without delay, then the domestic market is anticipated to absorb some of the increase in output; however, the new capacity will still be rudimentary by standards elsewhere in the world.


BMI expects gains in oil production in Gabon in the short term, however, in the long run, Gabon’s oil sector is one of decline due to both natural depletion and a lack of new production coming online. Gas production in the country is expected to increase from 2013 levels of 0.07 billion m3 to 0.4 billion m3 in 2018.

When to comes to downstream assets, the country’s oil and gas infrastructure is very limited. The country is home to one aging 24 000 bpd refinery that is underutilised and is expected to close in 2016. There has been an agreement signed between Gabon and South Korean company, Samsung, for the construction of a new 50 000 bpd refinery to replace the SOGARA facility that is due to be taken offline.


BMI expects overall oil output levels to continue to drag in Libya due to continuing political instability, deteriorating security and recurring production shutdowns. There have been efforts made to increase oil exports but these are expected to be continually undercut by supply disruptions and saturation in the market of Atlantic sweet crude.

At the start of this year, Libya’s oil and gas reserves stood at 48 billion bbls and 1.5 trillion m3 respectively. Production of oil is expected to be at 425 000 bpd by the end of this year, but production recovery is expected by BMI and levels are predicted to hit 617 000 bpd. In the long term, production levels are expected to be dragged down due to weaker investment and physical damage due to the violence Libya has been experiencing. BMI expects refineries to continue to operate below their utilisation rate due to interruptions in the oil supply and due to the targeting of oil and gas infrastructure by those who oppose the central government.

South Africa

The level of demand in South Africa’s petrochemical market is similar to that of last year, according to BMI, but market sentiment is continuing to deteriorate. Due to a strike in the platinum sector, the petrochemicals sector in the country is suffering, as consumption of plastics is reliant on the mining sector.


BMI has said that a number of events have come to a head to push Uganda in the right direction to become an oil producer, including the resolution of the refinery dispute. The construction of a refinery between IOC and the country’s government has finally been negotiated, and a 60 000 bpd plant is to be built in the Hoima district. The plant will refine domestic crude. However, first oil from the country is not expected until the end of 2019 at the earliest.

The consumption of refined fuels in Uganda is expected to speed up by 2023 as the country begins to utilise its new domestic refining capacity. BMI expects oil consumption in the transport sector to increase, as well as the power sector. Uganda is likely going to become a crude oil and refined products net exporter in 2019 and crude oil export levels are expected to hit 10 000 bpd by 2023. Export levels of refined fuels is expected to remain low due to rising domestic consumption.

Edited from report briefs by Claira Lloyd

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