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

22 Feb 24
Gabon: Perenco Oil & Gas Gabon spuds appraisal well close to Hylia South West discovery
Perenco Oil & Gas Gabon (POGG) has spud an appraisal well in the vicinity of the Hylia South West discovery, offshore Gabon. The appraisal drilling is important in determining the full potential of this area after the recent exploration success at Hylia South West.
19 Feb 24
Gabon: Maurel & Prom pulls out of Assala Energy deal as Gabon Oil Company exercises pre-emptive right
Maurel & Prom has pulled out of its previously announced acquisition of Assala Energy following Gabon Oil Company exercising its sovereign right of pre-emption.
12 Jan 24
Gabon/Brazil: BW Energy provides Q4 2023 trading update
BW Energy, as the operator of the Dussafu Marine licence in Gabon and the Golfinho cluster offshore Brazil, has provided an update on its operations and development. Gross production from the operated assets was 3,031,000 barrels of oil in the fourth quarter of 2023.
16 Nov 23
Gabon: Panoro Energy provides update on Dussafu Marin Permit offshore Gabon
Panoro Energy has provided an update on production and the planned drilling schedule at the Dussafu Marin Permit offshore Gabon. The better than expected well results at the Hibiscus field and the recent discovery at Hibiscus South have prompted the Dussafu partners to expand the scope of the current campaign to incorporate seven new production wells.
06 Nov 23
Gabon: BW Energy announces substantial oil discovery in Hibiscus South prospect
BW Energy has announced that the DHBSM-1 appraisal well has encountered commercial volumes of oil in the Hibiscus South satellite prospect. The Company plans to return to the well to complete it as a production well in early 2024.

Gabon - more news

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