Gabon excludes firms from investment in licensed blocks
LIBREVILLE, May 21, 2014 – Gabon’s Oil Minister Etienne Ngoubou announced last Tuesday that three previously announced winners of offshore licences have been dropped from further negotiations.
The minister told reporters that exploration firms Noble Energy and Cobalt International Energy of the US, as well as London-based Elenilto, did not meet the country’s requirements for investment in the licensed blocks.
In October 2013, Gabon awarded 13 blocks to 11 companies including the above three as part of its first major deepwater licensing round, with which the country hopes to double its oil production to 500,000 barrels of oil per day (bopd).
Other firms awarded concessions in the round include super-major ExxonMobil, Italian multinational Eni, UK-based independent Ophir Energy, US major Marathon Oil, Spanish major Repsol, Malaysian state-owned Petronas, Anglo-French independent Perenco and Impact Oil and Gas of the UK.
Super-major Total, already producing in Gabon, was not one of the winners of the licences in 2013 but has since been invited for negotiations over the available acreage.
The country’s oil production has been in decline since a peak of around 370,000 bopd in the 1990s. In 2012, it averaged 245,000 bopd. New deepwater plays are viewed with anticipation due to the possibility of deepwater reserves beneath a layer of salt similar to those found offshore Brazil.