(Business in Cameroon) - The National Hydrocarbons Corporation of Cameroon (SNH) recently published a magazine presenting its 2020-2024 development plan approved by the board of directors on December 3, 2019. According to the magazine, this development plan is focused on the optimization of oil and gas revenues.
"The overall objective is to increase the hydrocarbon and mining resources remitted to the State. The SNH should contribute to Cameroon's economic growth in the framework of the 2035 vision, by ensuring stable or even growing revenues during the said period. This is the main objective of the SNH," explains Maurice Matanga, the Director of Strategy and Development (DSD) at the public company.
"This will be done through a good development of hydrocarbon resources, and also, an increase in the transit fee to be paid to the state by the Cameroon Oil Transportation Company (Cotco), which operates the Chad/Cameroon pipeline," he added.
The company also plans, to revitalize the para-petroleum and oil services sectors, as well as develop skills in oil trades. "The actions to be carried out to this end are divided into four major areas: exploration/production (E&P), the development of oil and gas resources, portfolio optimization and management, E&P asset data and digital technology," Maurice Matanga adds.
The Drop in prices and insecurity
The previous five-year plan (2015-2019) was also aimed at optimizing oil and gas revenues. But it ended with a 25% drop in oil production. The SNH attributes this poor performance to the negative impacts of fluctuations in the exchange rate of the dollar (the currency used for Cameroon's international oil sales), and to the decline in oil investments from 2015 to 2017.
"Yet, these investments allow us to intensify exploration and production activities, to make discoveries thanks to which we renew our reserves and continue to ensure optimal exploitation of our fields, most of which are aging," the company explains.
The SNH also attributes poor performances to the insecurity that has "negatively impacted the effort to get reluctant investors on the free blocks in the mining field." The public company further points the drastic drop, between 2015 and 2017, of the price per barrel as a factor contributing to its poor performance. The barrel price, it indicates, even reached a record level below $30 in January 2016.
Yet, it is under the same conditions that part of the 2020-2024 plan will be implemented. The English-speaking regions of the North-West and South-West and the Far North, where hydrocarbon exploration is at a standstill in certain blocks, are still insecure. Internationally, oil prices, driven in particular by the coronavirus crisis, have resumed a downward trend and are now below $30 per barrel.