After a year of sector recovery and pan-African alliance building, Equatorial Guinea is ready to capitalise on expected new investment and solidify its global standing through its Year of Energy campaign. In 2019, Equatorial Guinea will host and promote multiple events to champion its oil and gas projects and promote intra-African cooperation, including flagship events for the African Petroleum Producers' Organisation (APPO) and the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF).
An improved economic outlook in Equatorial Guinea is due in large part to expected foreign direct investment in oil and gas during 2019, with 11 new wells to be drilled. Already, five platforms have been contracted to perform drilling of new wells. These include greenfield prospects held by ExxonMobil, Kosmos Energy, Marathon Oil and Noble Energy. 2019 has been designated the Year of Energy by the MMH, highlighting the nation’s energy diplomacy in recent years, its investment in sustainable oil and gas sector growth at home, and its support for African oil and gas industry growth through memberships of APPO, GECF and its increasingly visible presence in the Organisation for the Petroleum Exporting Countries.
Improving the regulatory environment
“We have been busy in the downturn, working to improve our regulatory environment and attract new investment to the sector. Now that the oil price is at a sustainable level, activity in the oil and gas sector is set to take off at an unprecedented pace,” said Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, minister of mines and hydrocarbons. “Equatorial Guinea recognises the importance of working through influential organisations like OPEC and GECF to unite oil and gas producers and empower African countries with a voice on the international stage.”
In June 2017, the country proved the value of its exploration assets during challenging times by successfully concluding the EG Ronda 2016 bidding round. Seven companies advanced to negotiations with the MMH. Next year, Equatorial Guinea will again put more oil and gas exploration blocks on offer for ‘EG Ronda 2019.’
Equatorial Guinea has worked to make the business environment appealing to international investors, while also protecting the local economy, and has moved up in the World Bank’s Doing Business Index, with particular improvements made during 2018 and 2019. The global report specifically notes a law adopted in 2019 that regulates the mediation of contract disputes and creates a resolution mechanism, and a law from 2018 that eliminated the need to obtain an authorisation from the Office of the Prime Minister to start a new business.
“As the oil sector recovers, we are better able to diversify the overall economy. We have already moved forward with key projects in the downstream gas sector, including our regional LNG2Africa initiatives and the creation of a Gas Megahub for gas processing and exports,” said the Minister.