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Gabon Overview

Gabon’s oil industry is in the midst of change. A new hydrocarbons code, published in September 2014, has given the government significant power over the country’s resources and putting Gabonisation at the top of the agenda. It is clear that the government intends to take an active role in the domestic oil and gas industry, which provides 56 percent of GDP, but there are fears that this control goes too far and will adversely impact the country’s ability to attract foreign investments.

Though the hopes stirred by Total’s pre-salt finds in 2013 have not been entirely dashed, they have been significantly tempered by the lack of major discoveries in 2014.

August saw the signing of new production-sharing contracts, but these were negotiated under the terms of the country’s earlier hydrocarbons code, which has now been replaced. Any new discoveries will have to be quite large if they are to overcome investor worries about the new code’s provisions.

The Gabon Oil Company (GOC) has been growing quickly and is beginning to establish itself as a major oil and gas business in the country. GOC, created in 2011 by presidential decree, is the first time Gabon has had a state-owned hydrocarbons company since 1987. GOC has fast been gaining the industry experience needed to compete with global oil companies.

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