Production from the Sémé offshore oil field began in October 1982 by Saga Petroleum, a Norwegian firm working under a service contract. The field yielded 1.35 million barrels of oil in 1991. In 1990, Benin exported an estimated 1.27 million barrels of crude oil. In 1986, the contract was transferred to Pan Ocean Oil (Panoco), a Swiss-based US firm, but loans to Benin from international development agencies were frozen because the company could not furnish satisfactory financial and capability statements; it withdrew, forcing Benin to take over oil production. Reserves, which were estimated at 44 million barrels, were considered sufficient to meet domestic needs, but there is currently no refinery in Benin; consequently, refined petroleum products have to be reimported. In 1991, imports of refined petroleum products amounted to $55 million, or 11% of total imports.
Installed capacity in 2001 was an estimated 94,000 kW. Total domestic power output in 2000 was 240 million kWh, of which hydropower accounted for 83.3% and fossil fuels for the rest. Electricity consumption in 2000 was 523.2 million kWh. An agreement was signed with Togo and Ghana in 1967 under which Benin receives low-cost electric power from the Akosombo Dam on the Volta River in Ghana. Electricity imports in 1998 were estimated at 270 million kWh. Togo and Benin are constructing a dam on the Mono River, along the Togo border, that will feed a power station to supply the southern regions of both countries.