In the 6 countries covered by this paper, valid petroleum rights at the end of 1981 amounted to 2,024,414 km 2 or 7% more than at the end of 1980. As far as the rightholding situation is concerned, the main event was the abandonment by Esso of all its rights in Libya. Exploration drilling activity continued to increase, with 169 wells completed versus 115 in 1980. This effort led to 67 oil and gas discoveries, a success rate of about 40% compared with 35% in 1980. Oil production markedly decreased by about 23%, with an average of 2,820,000 BOPD in 1981. Oil output decreased in all the North African countries except Egypt, where it increased 8%. Utilized natural gas production can be estimated at about 2,300 MMCFGD.--Modified journal abstract.