Energy in Cameroon

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Energy in Cameroon is a growing industry with tremendous potential, especially with the hydroelectric industry. With a total installed capacity of 1,292 MW, the mix of energy production of Cameroon consists of 57% of hydraulic power source, 21% of thermal springs in the gas, 10% of heat source to light fuel oil and 13% of heat source to heavy fuel oil.[1]

Oil[edit]

Cameroon began off shore oil production in 1977. Annual production has gradually fallen since 1985, and the decline is expected to continue as existing reserves are depleted. Output amounted to 76,600 barrels per day (12,180 m3/d) in 2001, down from 100,000 barrels per day (16,000 m3/d) in 1999. However, Cameroon is sub-Saharan Africa's sixth-largest crude oil producer, with output in 2003 at 67,000 barrels per day (10,700 m3/d), and estimated reserves at 400 million barrels (64×10^6 m3) as of January 1, 2004, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA). Field development and production began in the Kribi-Campo basin in the mid-1990s, and the Ebome field came online in 1996. As of 2002, the major operators were ExxonMobil, Royal Dutch Shell, and Total S.A. The oil sector is managed by the national oil company Société Nationale des Hydrocarbures.

Work was under way on development of the Doba basin oil fields and construction of a pipeline between Cameroon and Chad, with the aid of a US$93 million loan from the World Bank. Production was expected to have begun in early 2004. In October 2002, Cameroon and Nigeria, both of whom claimed the potentially oil-rich Bakassi Peninsula, received a ruling on the dispute from the International Court of Justice, which granted the peninsula to Cameroon. Cameroon's petroleum consumption in 2001 was 22,000 barrels per day (3,500 m3/d).

Natural gas[edit]

The country reportedly has large reserves of liquid petroleum gas, which are largely untapped. According to the EIA, Cameroon's natural gas reserves stood at 3.9 billion cubic feet (110×10^6 m3) as of January 1, 2004, with no known production in 2002. In cooperation with GDF Suez, Société Nationale des Hydrocarbures is planning to build a liquefied natural gas plant.[2]

Hydroelectricity[edit]

Hydroelectric resources remain the most readily exploitable form of energy in Cameroon, which, together with the Democratic Republic of Congo, is considered to have the greatest hydroelectric potential in Africa. Electrical energy is produced primarily by two hydroelectric stations on the Sanaga River. Nearly 60% of the power from these stations goes to the aluminum smelter at Edéa. Cameroon's electrical capacity was 810 MW in 2002, for which output for that year was 3.249 TWh, of which about 90% was from hydropower and the remainder from fossil fuels. Consumption amounted to 3.022 TWh in 2002. In the 1980s, hydroelectric capacity was expanded by an additional complex on the Sanaga River (Song-Loulou) and a 72 MW generator (built with Chinese aid) on the Bénoué River. However, despite Cameroon's impressive waterpower resources, the national electricity grid runs principally from Douala to Yaoundé and from Douala to Bafoussam. Most other areas are served by diesel-generated electricity or have no electricity at all. Cameroon's National Energy Plan attempts to prepare for a diminishing petroleum output. Hydro-Québec of Canada conducted a feasibility study of the Nachtigal Power Station, which could provide 280 MW of hydroelectric power on the Sananga River north of Yaoundé. In 1998, Hydro-Québec was awarded a contract to upgrade the Song Loulou Hydroelectric Power Station.

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