Oil producers have a positive outlook on the development of African oil and gas resources with many opportunities yet to be exploited, according to industry experts.

Despite Africa containing only 9% of world’s proven reserves compared to Middle East’s 62%, industry analysts attending the 16th African Oil Week said the country contains a large amount of untapped reserves, Xinhuanet.com reports.

Global Pacific and Partners chairman Duncan Clarke said that industry leaders were optimistic in spite of the global credit crunch, unstable prices, geopolitical pressures and low cash flows.

“In particular, there is significant opportunity in the sedimentary basin, which still needs to be exploited,” he said.

Africa has high potential for oil and gas extraction with oil reserves of 120 billion barrels and gas reserves of 500 trillion cubic feet, Clarke said.

But oil companies working in Africa face stiff competition from national oil companies and few new licence opportunities in established oil provinces.