Chadian oil exploration began in 1969, and by 1975 oil had been discovered in both the Lake Chad and Doba Basins. However, civil war broke out in the country in 1979, which eventually halted oil exploration activities in 1981. Chad’s oil industry remained inactive until 1988, when new a legal framework was agreed and implemented enabling oil company activity to resume.
While the Lake Chad Basin showed promise, the major exploration focus was on the Doba Basin area, and by 1993 a consortium of operators in the area had made significant oil discoveries.
Neither Chad nor adjacent Cameroon had any laws or guidelines for an oil and gas transportation pipeline, however discussions commenced and treaties were established in 1996. In October 2000 the Chad-Cameroon pipeline construction commenced with funding from Exxon/Petronas/Chevron and several credit financing banks including the World Bank and US EXIM.
The graph (data: US Energy Information Administration (US EIA)) shows that the production of oil in Chad began in July 2003, when the Miandoum field, part of the Doba Oil Project, was brought on-stream.
This was followed by the Komé and Bolobo fields in March 2004 and August 2004, respectively. Production from these three fields has been restricted by a high water cut, low reservoir pressure, unconsolidated sands and complex reservoir geometry. A combination of well enhancements, EOR and the start-up of four satellite fields, Nya, Moundouli, Maikeri and Timbre, has helped to slow the rate of decline.
Production in 2012 averaged approximately 104,500 bbl/d as reported by the US EIA, with current oil production estimated at approximately 100,000 bbl/d. Due to natural decline rates, the Chad government have expressed support for further development in the Doba Basin and exploration of the Lake Chad Basin, as it is estimated that approximately 80% of the government’s budget is derived from revenues associated with the export of oil.