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

28 Apr 23
Gabon: Tullow signs asset swap agreement with Perenco to optimise Gabon portfolio
Tullow Oil has announced that, via its subsidiary, Tullow Oil Gabon, it has signed an asset swap agreement with Perenco Oil and Gas Gabon. This is intended to optimise Tullow's equity ownership across key fields in Gabon and will be achieved through a cashless asset swap involving the proposed exchange of participating interests held by both parties in certain licences in Gabon.
11 Apr 23
Gabon: BW Energy announces first oil from Hibiscus / Ruche development offshore Gabon
BW Energy has announced that first oil from the Hibiscus / Ruche Phase 1 development in the Dussafu licence offshore Gabon has been safely achieved. Production performance from the first well has been in line with expectations and is currently stabilised at approx. 6,000 barrels per day.
03 Apr 23
Gabon: BW Energy completes drilling operations on first Hibiscus production well offshore Gabon
BW Energy has completed the drilling and completion operations on DHIBM-3H, the first production well of the Hibiscus / Ruche Phase 1 development campaign in the Dussafu licence offshore Gabon. First oil from the well is expected in early April.
28 Feb 23
BW Energy announces fourth quarter and full year results 2022
BW Energy has announced its fourth quarter and full year results 2022. EBITDA for the fourth quarter of 2022 was USD 21.8 million, down from USD 61.5 million in the third quarter of 2022, mainly due to a decrease in the realised oil price. Hibiscus / Ruche development offshore Gabon on track for first oil in late Q1 2023.
18 Jan 23
BW Energy announces Q4 2022 trading and financial update
BW Energy has provided an update on the operations and development of the Dussafu Marin license in Gabon. Gross production from the Tortue field averaged approx. 9,600 barrels of oil per day in the fourth quarter of 2022, amounting to a total gross production of approx. 883,000 barrels of oil for the period.

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