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Chatham House: Thirst for African Oil -- Asian National Oil Companies in Nigeria and Angola

Authors: Alex Vines, Lillian Wong, Markus Weimer, and Indira Campos
August 2009


This Chatham House report provides a comparative study of the impact of Asian companies on the two leading oil producing countries in sub-Saharan Africa: Nigeria and Angola.

While there is an abundance of literature about the renewed interest by Asia in Africa's resources, individual case studies assessing Asian competition are scarce and comparisons even rarer. This report describes the Asian presence in the oil sector in Nigeria and Angola, sets the political contexts essential to understanding the relationships and assesses the outcomes in both countries. It also exposes the flaws in many general assumptions about Asian engagement with Africa.

Asian countries, like their Western counterparts, have been seeking to diversify their sources of oil to lessen their dependence on the volatile Middle East. For some years, Asia has sourced oil from Nigeria or Angola, either on government-to-government term supply contracts or through the intermediary of oil traders with lifting quotas, or even occasionally by buying on the spot market. In 2008, India imported just under 10% of its requirements from Nigeria, its sixth largest supplier of crude oil, while China imported around 16% of its oil imports from Angola, its second largest source of crude oil.

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