Oil prospection began in Cameroon in 1947. The first commercial discoveries were made in the Rio Del Rey basin in 1972, but the country became an oil producer only in 1977, when Kole field was put on production. 

Production reached the record level of 186 000 barrels per day in 1985. However, beginning 1986, when the "oil price collapse" occurred, it began to decline. Faced with this situation, incentive measures aimed at reviving exploration/production activities were taken by the State as from 1990.

Thanks to the said measures and efforts made by SNH to check the decline, international oil companies have been showing renewed interest in Cameroon's mining domain.

As at 31st March 2019, the mining domain, which covers an area of 31 839.82 km2, comprises 04 exclusive research permits and/or authorisations, 21 exclusive mining concessions and/or authorisations, 02 blocks under negotiation, and 09 free blocks.