Natural resources, energy and environment
In 1992, oil was found in Equatorial Guinea and in just over a decade the country developed into one of Africa’s largest oil producers. All oil is extracted at sea and oil extraction has largely been handled by American companies.
Between 1997 and 2005, oil production increased sevenfold, to 355,000 barrels per day. But during the second half of the 1990s, the rate of increase in the oil industry slowed, as production at the country’s three major oil fields began to reach its maximum levels. With an estimated 4.3 percent of the world’s oil reserves, Equatorial Guinea is still one of the five largest oil producers in Africa, but by the middle of the 10th production had dropped to around 300,000 barrels per day and the oil is expected to run out by 2030. Instead, the natural gas sector hopes to expand following a number of investments, in addition to US companies, also important gas stakeholders such as Spanish Unión Fenosa, Portuguese Galp Energia and Russian Gazprom, as well as a number of British and Japanese companies.
- COUNTRYAAH: Major exports by Equatorial Guinea with a full list of the top products exported by the country. Includes trade value in U.S. dollars and the percentage for each product category.
Other natural resources are the country’s forests, which provide timber for export. In the country there are also still unused minerals such as gold, uranium, iron ore and titanium as well as zinc, diamonds and tantalite. However, it is doubtful whether these deposits are large enough for extraction to pay off.
The energy sector is dominated by oil or gas-powered power plants, but there are also two smaller hydropower plants. The country’s electricity grid basically only covers the big cities. The supply of electricity is unreliable and power outages are common, as the wires are often old and poorly maintained. Since 2008, aid and credits from China have contributed to the commencement of a substantial expansion of the electricity supply, to the benefit of both cities and rural areas. It is even hoped that electricity will eventually be able to be exported to neighboring countries.
- Abbreviationfinder: A popular acronym site in the world covering abbreviation for each country. For example, GQ stands for Equatorial Guinea. Visit itypeusa for more information about Equatorial Guinea.
Firewood and charcoal are the main sources of energy for people in the country. Small diesel powered power plants are also used.
Developments in the oil and forest industry have created several environmental problems. Oil spills have hit the coasts and through intensive harvesting, large rainforest areas have been destroyed, resulting in soil degradation. In 2009, the US-based human rights organization Human Rights Watch released a critical report on how Equatorial Guinea uses its oil revenues: “Well Oiled – Oil and Human Rights in Equatorial Guinea”.
FACTS – ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT
Energy use per person
2 642 kilo oil equivalents (2007)
Carbon dioxide emissions in total
5 346 thousand tonnes (2014)
Carbon dioxide emissions per inhabitant
4.7 tonnes (2014)
The share of energy from renewable sources
7.8 percent (2015)
Lobbyists improve the country’s reputation
Equatorial Guinea celebrates a public relations triumph when the American Leon H Sullivan Foundation presents a human rights conference to the luxury holiday village of Sipopo on the island of Bioko. It is seen as the fruit of the regime’s use of American lobbyists to plague its shameful reputation. The PR campaign is believed to have contributed to Equatorial Guinea becoming co-organizer of the African Football Championships in early 2012, and the UN agency awarded UNESCO a prize award named after President Obiang (see October 2010).
The Theodorin’s palace in Paris is confiscated
French police issue a formal international arrest warrant against President Obiang’s son Teodorín, who is suspected of financial crime. The French authorities confiscate his palace-like residence in Paris, valued at the equivalent of about one billion kronor.
Criminally suspected son becomes vice president
President Obiang conducts a major government reform and places close relatives on twelve ministerial posts. The son Teodorín, called for financial crime in France and the United States, is appointed vice president.