Asian oil firms yet to make an impact

Asian oil firms yet to make an impact

Lagos: Asian oil companies have yet to shake the dominance of European and US energy producers in Nigeria and Angola, according to a Chatham House report.

In spite of fears expressed in Western capitals about an Asian takeover in the Nigerian and Angolan oil sector, the reality is different, said the London-based Royal Institute of International Affairs, also known as the Chatham House, in a report. These fears were highly exaggerated.

The West African coast stretching from Nigeria to Angola is among the world’s richest in hydrocarbon reserves. Exploration and production in both countries has for many years been dominated by bigger oil firms including Chevron Corp., Exxon Mobil Corp. and Royal Dutch Shell Plc.

Demand for energy in Asia, driven by surging economic growth in recent decades, has led oil companies mainly from China, South Korea and India to seek access to African energy reserves. They have gained some footholds since 2004. Yet, the big oil firms remain the leading players in both countries, said the report, which focuses on Nigeria and Angola. They dominate production and hold the majority of reserves. Companies from China, South Korea and India, latecomers to West Africa, have become rivals for hydrocarbon interests in the two countries, the report said. China has used deeper pockets to gain some advantage over India while the Korean National Oil Corp. is fighting India’s ONGC Videsh Ltd and the Nigerian government in court for control of two offshore oil rights, it said.