Exxon-Mobil has recently started to draw oil from the petroleum fields of Southern Chad. This extractive project which has been backed by the World Bank has attracted a lot of interest for the hydrocarbon resources of that geographic region. Even if their potential is not as abundant as that of other parts of the World, these resources still represent a significant source of likely revenues for the countries of Central Africa which are in chronic needs of economic development.
Recent exploration efforts have uncovered a succession of possible oil basins all aligned along the Central African rift formation trending from West to East across sub-equatorial Africa and overlaying a number of countries: Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Niger, Nigeria and Sudan. These formations offer promising futures which have attracted the attention of several oil companies.
However the strategy of these operators is essentially driven by the profitability of particular prospects and does not provide a long term vision on which each of the involved countries could rely for the development of its national resources. Furthermore political tensions may arise in the case when oil fields are overlapping national boundaries. Without a shared multi-national regional vision these problems could involve into real conflicts in view of the long term tensions which will arise on the oil market.
On the basis of several years of experience in the monitoring of oil projects risk evaluation in Central Africa, the Norges Teknisk Naturvitenskapelige Universitet of Tronheim (Norway) and the Ecole des Mines de Paris (France) are organizing a seminar on the « Oil Resources Regional Goverance » of the Central African rift region. This event is aimed at defining a possible training and capacity building formula which would help the Central African countries in mastering a long term shared management of their hydrocarbon resources.