Energy

Gabon Energy

Gabon is the fifth-largest oil producer in sub-Saharan Africa and oil dominates the economy, accounting for roughly half of state revenues and more than 80% of export revenues. Over the last decade, however, output has declined as the country’s larger oil fields mature.

Oil production peaked in 1997 at 370,000 bpd but stabilised in recent years around 240,000 bpd. The decline in production has prompted Gabon to encourage activity in smaller blocks, expand offshore exploration in new blocks, and continue redeveloping existing oil fields. The government has set targets of doubling output to 500,000 bpd and re-joining Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, which it left in 1997. The government is also taking a more active role in the sector through its still relatively young state-owned oil company, while also tightening oversight. To improve transparency and boost the state’s share of oil revenues, the government has overhauled the legal framework governing the hydrocarbons sector. The new bill was adopted by parliament on July 23, 2014. Under the new hydrocarbons code, the national oil company will have the right to a 15% share in all new petroleum operations, which may strengthen the sector by encouraging shared-equity partnerships between local and foreign players.

This chapter contains interviews with Désiré Guedon, Minister of Energy and Water Resources; Etienne Dieudonné Ngoubou, Minister of Petroleum and Hydrocarbons; Jacqueline Bignoumba, President, Gabon Petroleum Union; and Nicholas Cooper, Executive Director & CEO, OPHIR Energy.