German oil and gas industry players are gradually stepping up activities in Africa but the sub-Saharan market still poses a challenge for many.

While Germany's energy companies have a significant presence in the north, their inroads deeper into the continent have so far been limited compared with those of some other Western European nations.

Kassel-based Wintershall DEA remains focused on upstream positions in Egypt, Libya and Algeria, where last month it signed a memorandum of understanding with state-owned Sonatrach to identify more gas opportunities beyond partner Repsol’s Reggane Nord concession in the south-west Sahara.