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West Africa’s oil and gas sector faces a pivotal few years

Instability in the region has impacted upon exports, but can these countries overcome this to become reliable wordwide players?

A few years ago, one oil supplier above all others – Nigeria – vexed the thoughts of traders in New York. A pipeline outage or saboteur’s attack in the Niger Delta would have an immediate impact on oil prices. The rebels knew how important their country’s oil was to the US and causing havoc in the market across the Atlantic was part of the ploy. In 2004, Nigeria’s light, sweet crude oil accounted for about 10% of US imports, giving Africa’s biggest oil producer an outsized influence on the price of American fuel. Refineries in the US northeast depended on Nigeria. Unrest in the country, which frequently shut in much Nigerian oil, was one of the supply-side forces that helped send crude pric

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