With plenty of latest discoveries witnessed from East Africa, the petroleum atlas reshaping is expected where some new faces (e.g. Mozambique, Kenya, Tanzania, etc.) may play emergent roles besides traditional oil countries in Africa. Due to general lack of infrastructure construction and capital investment, it still need some time for large-scale commercial production and the involvement of international oil companies is indispensable in the process.
Dramatic price drop has tremendously stricken both governments and international oil companies (IOC) in oil-producing countries since 2014. The effectiveness in which governments and IOCs adjust to this reality will determine the extent and the pace of future development of these countries’ oil sectors.
Most IOCs were struggling to cut capital expenditure and control operating cost to survive, and how to maintain and attract investment is regarded as huge challenges by many governments in the downward scenario. Apart from resource factors, petroleum fiscal terms are one of the key factors in the investment decision for IOCs. The attractiveness of fiscal contracts has a fundamental effect on profitability of petroleum projects, and thus an important indicator for evaluating investment feasibility in the country. The paper gives an overview on fiscal transformation in most Africa oil countries, some of them were trying to increase government share in oil profits to support social expenditures, and others have provided fiscal incentives to absorb further investment in the oil sector. It shows that fiscal policies in the countries where national economy relies more on oil revenues are less stable during the past decade. Some upstream projects in Nigeria are illustrated to show the impacts of different contract terms on economic benefits. Thus with new government's coming into power, most IOCs are holding back further investment and expecting negotiation with the authorities for confirmation on fiscal terms applied in their assets to avoid potential contractual risks, like PIB, Side letter, etc. The implications regarding petroleum regime are summarized based on the experience from Nigeria for emerging countries in East Africa, relatively stable fiscal policy with some incentives to encourage exploration activities would be helpful to petroleum industry. Lastly, investment suggestions are presented with priorities to promote business development in the area.