The petroleum sector has been a crucial part of Nigeria’s economy since crude oil was first discovered in the 1950’s. As of 2010, oil and gas exports accounted for more than 98% of export earnings and about 83% of Federal Government revenue. Nigeria’s proven oil reserves are estimated at about 35 billion barrels. In mid-2014, its crude oil production was averaging around 2.2 million barrels per day. Natural gas reserves are well over 187 trillion ft³ (2,800 km³), about three times as substantial as the crude oil reserves.

Nearly all the country’s primary reserves are concentrated in and around the delta region of the Niger River, but offshore rigs are also prominent in the well-endowed coastal region. Nigeria is one of the few major oil producing nations still capable of increasing its oil output. Multinational Corporations dominated the industry before the 1990s, but local participation has surged since the implementation of the Nigerian Content Directive and the NOGIC act in 2010. Both have successfully promoted the use of Nigerian companies and resources in the award of oil licenses, contracts and projects.