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Gabon Overview


in figures

Oil Reserves2 billion barrels

Oil Production194,000 bopd

Gas Reserves26 bcm

Gas Production530 mcm

Gabon: Deepwater Potential

Gabon is a small country with a long history of oil exploration and production. Oil was first discovered near the African nation’s capital of Libreville, in 1931, when it was still a French colony. During the 1960s the country saw a flurry of exploration and production activity, which led to a dramatic increases in production. 1996 remains the country’s record year: Gabon produced 365,000 bopd in 1996. Dwindling production due to maturing fields and a lack of major new finds have led to a significant decreases in production. In 2019, Gabon produced 218,000 bopd, according to the BP Statistical Review 2020.

Given that the oil industry accounts for more than 50% of Gabon’s GDP and 80% of the country’s export earnings, diminishing production and the oil price downturn have hurt the nation’s economy. Many operations have been cancelled. Gabon is aware of the challenges and is looking to improve its business climate by drastically improving the country’s infrastructure and facilities. Improving the road network is one target: The government aims to have 700 kilometres of additional paved roads in Gabon by 2020. Gabon is also investing in a series of special economic zones, such as the Mandji Island SEZ, which will focus exclusively on Gabon’s hydrocarbons industry.

Currently Gabon’s licensed deepwater plays cover an area of 128,000 square kilometres, representing around half of the country’s total acreage. Gabon has 19 deepwater plays, which are operated by 10 companies, including international players such as Marathon Oil, Shell and Vaalco. To achieve production goals, Gabon has invested in exploration and is offering several blocks in deepwater acreage for tender. To help promote the blocks to international operators, Gabon’s Ministry of Petroleum and Hydrocarbons hired the Oslo-listed Spectrum and the French geoscience firm CGG to conduct a multi-client seismic survey of 25,000 square kilometres in Gabon’s South Basin area. The data collected covered the deepwater blocks available for licensing as well as some bordering plays. On May 31, 2016, Gabon closed the 11th licensing round. As of this December 2017, the results have not yet been disclosed.

Given that Gabon’s deep offshore has geological formations reminiscent of Brazil’s deepwater pre-salt plays, the government harbours hope of sparking a similar pre-salt boom in Gabon. The fact that exploration projects until now only uncovered gas and condensate does not make the case for deepwater pre-salt operations stronger.

Osam IYAHEN Director of Natural Resources Investments AFRICA FINANCE CORPORATION
Nigeria - November 15, 2021

Osam Iyahen, director of natural resources investments for the Africa Finance Corporation (AFC), talks to The Energy Year about…

Vaalco signs FSO agreement for Gabon field
Gabon - August 26, 2021

Vaalco Energy has signed a letter of intent for World Offshore Services Corporation to provide and operate an FSO vessel in…


Gabon books

More books
Woji WELI Country Business Unit Manager BW OFFSHORE NIGERIA
Nigeria - July 14, 2021

Woji Weli, country business unit manager of BW Offshore Nigeria, talks to The Energy Year about the reasons for the rapid growth…

Petronas charters Maersk Viking for Gabon deepwater
Gabon - April 16, 2021

Malaysia’s Petronas has contracted the Maersk drillship Maersk Viking to drill an ultra-deepwater exploration well off…

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Gabon maps

Anguille Development Gabon

Panoro to buy Tullow’s Gabon, EG assets
Gabon - February 10, 2021

Panoro Energy has signed a deal to acquire Tullow Oil’s offshore oilfield stakes in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea for up to USD…

Angola - February 08, 2021

Léonardo Teka Nganga, president of EWS Grupo and EWS Angola, and Fabrice Despres, executive general manager, talk to The Energy…

Olivier Sabrié, general director for Total Equatorial Guinea
Equatorial Guinea - May 15, 2015

Bioko Island’s location in the Gulf of Guinea offers significant potential for Equatorial Guinea to serve central and western Africa as a hub for storage, aviation…

Akon Logistics Management, Nabil Beers
Equatorial Guinea - April 28, 2015

Bioko Island’s proximity to Cameroon, Nigeria, Gabon and Ghana presents an opportunity to develop the island into a logistical centre for the region’s oil and gas…

The Shakthi block
Gabon - October 29, 2014

In July 2014, Indian exploration and production company Oil India (OIL) began drilling its second well at the Shakthi block, onshore Gabon, as part of the first step of…




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