May 25, 2015

Sub-Saharan Africa’s national oil companies have big ambitions but funding remains a challenge

Without a substantial infusion of capital, even experienced African national oil companies (NOCs) will remain largely focused on overseeing licensing for exploration and production (E&P), and managing their domestic oil sectors. The more ambitious business of deep-water drilling, complex technical operations and cross-border expansion will remain in the hands of foreign players.
In March, Saudi Aramco concluded a $10 billion standby revolving credit facility deal with 27 international lenders, the largest of its kind in the Gulf region for years. Even revenue-rich Saudi’s NOC needs large pools of capital from abroad.

African NOCs have big ambitions too. Although they have generally lagged behind other emerging-market counterparts, recent years have seen a spate of African NOCs aspire to expand their asset portfolios, invest outside their home countries, transition into world-class operators and raise finance in non-traditional ways, rather than continue their historical reliance on state coffers.

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Rolake Akinkugbe
Head,  Energy and Natural Resources