Middle East / Africa

Gabon flag
Summary | Profile

Country profile: Gabon

Location: Western Africa, bordering the Atlantic Ocean at the Equator, between Republic of the Congo and Equatorial Guinea
Climate: tropical; always hot, humid
Terrain: narrow coastal plain; hilly interior; savanna in east and south
Size: 267667 sq. km total (Land area: 257667 sq. km  Water area: 10000 sq.km)
Population: 1,485,832
Languages: French (official), Fang, Myene, Nzebi, Bapounou/Eschira, Bandjabi
Government: republic; multiparty presidential regime
Capital city: Libreville
Legal system: based on French civil law system and customary law; judicial review of legislative acts in Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Currency: Communaute Financiere Africaine franc (XAF); note

Country profile

Gabon’s economy is highly dependent on oil production, with the country’s oil exports accounting for 51 percent of GDP and 63 percent of government revenues. Gabon’s per capita GDP is approximately $5,500, well above most of sub-Sarharan Africa. However, most of the population lives below the poverty line as evidenced by Gabon’s rating of 124 (out of 177) on the Human Development Index (HDI) and unemployment stands at about 40 percent.

Gabon hopes to increase growth in non-oil sectors as it is currently facing significant declines in both oil production and reserves. The country’s other main exports are timber, uranium and manganese but oil still represents 70 percent of the total exports. In recent years, Gabon has taken steps to market itself as a high end ecotourism destination. Nonetheless, the country is expected to continue relying on oil production in the near future.

In addition to declining oil production, Gabon is faced with high debt payments amounting to 40 percent of the annual government budget. In May 2007 the IMF approved a new US$ 117 million standby loan to support government efforts to expand the non-oil sectors of the economy.

Gabon is a relatively stable country located in the Gulf of Guinea. President Omar Bongo Ondimba has been in office since 1967 and is the longest serving head of state in Africa. In 2005 he was reelected for his seventh term through 2012. While there has been some localized social unrest it has not affected oil investment. Regionally, Gabon has been in a dispute with Equatorial Guinea over three islands in the Corsico Bay that could potentially contain oil deposits. The final status of the islands is still pending. Gabon is also a signatory to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative that supports governance and revenue transparency from the oil, gas and mining sectors. In 1996, Gabon retracted its membership in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Counties (OPEC), citing the organization’s high annual dues as the reason.

Energy production and consumption

Oil Gas
Production: 266,000 bbl/day (2005 est.) 95 million cu m (2005 est.)
Consumption: 13,000 bbl/day (2005 est.) 95 million cu m (2005 est.)
Exports: 228,000 bbl/day (2005 est.)  
Imports: 2,436 bbl/day (2005 est.)  
Reserves: 1 billion bbl (2007 est.) 32 billion cu m (1 January 2006 est.)
Major fields:

Gabon - recent news

16 Sep 20
Gabon: BW Energy provides update on Hibiscus/Ruche development plan
BW Energy has provided an alternative development plan for Hibiscus/Ruche, offshore Gabon, utilising a converted jack-up instead of constructing and installing a new wellhead platform.
27 Aug 20
Gabon/Tunisia: Panoro Energy announces 1H results and provides operations and corporate updates
Panoro Energy has announced its financial and operating results for the six months ended 30 June 2020. Despite significant challenges remaining due to COVID-19, the Company is well positioned to deliver organic growth through a focus on boosting production in Tunisia and on restarting delayed activity in Gabon.
30 Jul 20
Gabon: Total Gabon divests its portfolio of mature non-operated assets
Total has announced that its 58% owned affiliate Total Gabon has signed an agreement with Perenco to divest its interests in seven mature non-operated offshore fields, along with its interests and operatorship in the Cap Lopez oil terminal.
21 Jul 20
BW Offshore receives contract extension for Petroleo Nautipa
BW Offshore has received a one-year contract extension for the lease and operation of the FPSO Petróleo Nautipa. The FPSO is operating on the Etame field offshore Gabon for VAALCO Energy.
10 Jun 20
Gabon: New PGS seismic and well data for extended Gabon license round
A recent expansion of Gabon MegaSurvey coverage has significantly increased access to 3D seismic over the 35 open blocks on offer. The Direction Generale des Hydrocarbures (DGH) and PGS now offer over 65,000 sq km of 3D seismic and over 21,000 km of 2D seismic data.

Gabon - more news

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