By the Blouin News Business staff

Africa surpasses Middle East as second top paying jobs in oil and gas

by in Africa, Middle East.

Oil pumps are pictured at an oil station. AFP/Getty Images

Oil pumps are pictured at an oil station. AFP/Getty Images

Africa has passed the Middle East as the oil and gas producing region that attracts the second-highest top experts in the industry: Africa’s energy sector currently accounts for 13% of advertised roles that pay more than $170,000 for oil and gas professionals, only after Europe. Around 41% of the top paying advertised roles in oil & gas are in Europe, driven by the North Sea oil operations and a growing exploration in the United Kingdom, Poland and Romania for shale gas, according to Von Essen Group, a London-based management consultancy firm. The Middle East attracts 12% of jobseekers paid more than $170,000, followed by North and Central America with 11%.

Source: KPMG

Source: KPMG

Countries in the African continent with recent oil and gas finds – such as Kenya, Ghana, Tanzania, Uganda, Mozambique –  as well as already established producing countries – such as Nigeria or Libya – are boosting the oil and gas exploration and extraction activity.The revenues from higher oil and gas prices, as well as the international investment that has driven new discoveries in the past decade have brought unprecedented economic growth. According to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) from 2010, 16 of the 54 countries in Africa are exporters of oil: Nigeria, Angola, Libya, Algeria, Sudan, South Sudan, Equatorial Guinea, Congo (Brazzaville), Gabon, Chad, Egypt, Tunisia, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and Mauritania.

The world’s fourth-largest oil-producing region, Africa accounted for 10% of global crude output in 2013, led by Nigeria and Angola. “Africa has become increasingly attractive to international exploration companies and investors as it has become easier to access oil reserves,” said Lydia Marref, a partner at Von Essen.“The continent has made great strides in becoming more business friendly,” she added. According to figures from the U.S. EIA, Africa’s proven oil reserves have grown by nearly 120% in the past 30 years or so, from 57 billion barrels in 1980 to 124 billion barrels in 2012.

The continent’s production and consumption will continue to grow. However, lack of infrastructure and skills means the cost of oil projects in Africa will be “significantly higher” than in other regions over coming years, according to research and consulting firm GlobalData. Even if salaries and the business environment have improved as international exploration companies and investors flock to the continent, countries have much work ahead.