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Last Updated: December 2017

Overview


Map of Equatorial Guinea
Map of Equatorial Guinea
  • Equatorial Guinea's economy relies heavily on its oil and natural gas industry, which accounted for more than 60% of its gross domestic product (GDP), 80% of its fiscal revenue, and 86% of its exports in 2015, according to the latest estimates from the International Monetary Fund’s country reports. In 2015, Equatorial Guinea’s hydrocarbon activity fell by 8.9% and its overall GDP declined by 7.5%. This has placed pressure on the government’s fiscal position, requiring the government to rely on external borrowing and government savings to meet deficit financing needs. Emphasis on the oil and natural gas industries has also led to the lack of development in non-hydrocarbon sectors.
  • Equatorial Guinea became Africa’s sixth member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) on May 25, 2017. Membership in the group has come at a time where Equatorial Guinea is facing declining oil production and fiscal pressure because of the sustained decline in oil prices.
  • Petroleum and other liquids

  • Equatorial Guinea held 1.1 billion barrels of proved crude oil reserves as of January 2017. Production of petroleum and other liquids averaged 244,000 barrels per day (b/d) in 2016, which is lower than its peak production of 375,000 b/d in 2005. The Zafiro field, operated by ExxonMobil, remains the country’s largest source of oil output and export; however, average output has declined to 82,000 b/d in 2016 from a peak of 280,000 b/d in 2004.
  • Given their current fiscal position, the government has been eager to attract foreign investors to start production in new fields. Equatorial Guinea’s 2016 oil and natural gas licensing round closed on June 5, 2017, and announced seven winners: ExxonMobil Corporation; Ophir Energy; Elenilto Group; Talaveras; Atlas Petroleum and Strategic Fuel Fund; Offshore Equator PLC; and Clontarf Energy.
  • U.S. companies are the dominant producers of Equatorial Guinea’s crude oil, although European and Chinese companies have started to play a role in the sector. GEPetrol, the national oil company, owns small shares in key fields and manages the state’s participation as a shareholder in production-sharing agreements and in joint ventures with other international oil companies (IOCs). GEPetrol is also responsible for marketing, oil licensing, and hydrocarbon policy and implementation.
  • The Bioko Oil Terminal project, a 7.5 million barrel storage facility for crude oil and petroleum products, recently made progress after the government signed a $500 million development and financing deal with Saudi Arabia’s Arabian Energy, and it is expecting to break ground by 2018. Located at Punta Europa, the project aims to become West Africa’s largest storage facility and a regional trading and distribution hub, given its geographic proximity to oil-producing nations near the Gulf of Guinea and along the southern coast.
  • Equatorial Guinea does not have any refining capacity. The country consumed about 6,000 b/d of petroleum in 2016, all of which was imported. The government has announced plans to open a 20,000 b/d refinery in Mbini, but the project has been slow to develop.
  • Equatorial Guinea exports crude oil to markets in Asia, Europe, and the Americas. China has been the largest destination for Equatorial Guinea’s crude oil since 2011 and has imported approximately 23,400 b/d from Equatorial Guinea in the first half of 2017. India and South Korea have also ramped up crude oil imports from Equatorial Guinea since 2012, importing 35,000 and 29,100 b/d, respectively, in 2016.
  • Natural Gas

  • Equatorial Guinea held 1.3 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of proved natural gas reserves as of January 2017 and is a net exporter of natural gas. Dry natural gas production has increased rapidly, from 0.7 billion cubic feet (Bcf) in 2001 to 219 Bcf in 2016. Domestic consumption has increased at a much slower pace, from 1 Bcf in 2001 to a peak of 57 Bcf in 2011 before declining to 42 Bcf in 2016.
  • In 2016, Equatorial Guinea exported 152 Bcf of LNG, with most going to Asia-Pacific (88 Bcf) and the Middle East (42 Bcf), according to BP’s 2017 Statistical Review of World Energy. India was the primary destination for liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Equatorial Guinea in 2016 and received 49 Bcf.
  • Most of Equatorial Guinea's dry natural gas production is exported as LNG. The country has one LNG plant, the Punta Europa (EG LNG), located on Bioko Island. The LNG plant came online in 2007 with one train and is supplied with natural gas produced at the Alba field. Equatorial Guinea had planned to build a second LNG train that would use natural gas from Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon, and Nigeria; however, this option is unlikely, as UK-based Ophir Energy has shifted its focus to developing the Fortuna floating LNG (FLNG) project and away from constructing the second train.
  • Ophir Energy signed an agreement in May 2017 with OneLNG and GEPetrol to develop the Fortuna FLNG project, Africa’s first deepwater FLNG project. The project is expected to reach the final investment decision (FID) stage by the end of 2017.
  • Equatorial Guinea's state-owned hydrocarbon company, Sociedad Nacional de Gas de Guinea Ecuatorial (Sonagas), manages the distribution, marketing, and exploration of the country's natural gas assets as well as the industrial and residential natural gas markets.
  • Electricity

  • Although electricity demand is growing in Equatorial Guinea, access to electricity and reliability of supply are low as a result of the country’s inadequate infrastructure and poor management of the national grid. Equatorial Guinea has increased its total electricity capacity and generation since 2012 after new plants came online; total electricity capacity and generation were 334,000 kilowatts (kW) and 425 million kilowatt hours (kWh) in 2015, respectively.
  • Hydropower has significant potential to meet the country’s energy consumption needs. The Djibloho dam on the Wele River came online in October 2012 and increased total electricity generating capacity by 120 megawatts (MW). The Sendje River hydropower project is also expected to add 200 MW of capacity upon completion in 2017.