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

03 Jun 24
Gabon: Appraisal confirms material Hibiscus field reserve increase
BW Energy has concluded the drilling and the logging of the DHIBM-7P pilot well, confirming a substantial oil discovery with good reservoir quality and a material uplift to the Hibiscus area at the Dussafu Marin Permit offshore Gabon.
20 May 24
Gabon: BW Energy announces substantial oil discovery on the northern flank of the Hibiscus field
BW Energy has announced a substantial oil discovery with good reservoir quality in the DHIBM-7P pilot well drilled to appraise the northern flank of the Hibiscus field. The Company plans to complete the well as a production well later in 2024.
10 May 24
Gabon: Panoro Energy confirms oil at Hibiscus South Extension
Panoro Energy has announced that the DHBSM-2P pilot well has successfully encountered oil and confirmed a north-eastern extension of the Hibiscus South field at the Dussafu Marin Permit offshore Gabon, further increasing recoverable reserves.
08 May 24
Gabon: Hibiscus South pilot well confirms hydrocarbons
BW Energy has announced that the DHBSM-2P pilot well confirms that the Hibiscus South deposit extends into the northern part of the field with good reservoir quality, increasing reserve estimates. The Company plans to complete the well as a production well later in 2024.
30 Apr 24
Gabon: Panoro Energy provides Dussafu operations update
Panoro Energy has provided an update on operations at the Dussafu Marin Permit offshore Gabon. Gross production averaged approx. 24,840 bopd in Q1 2024 and in Q2 to date has averaged approx. 29,800 bopd, the uplift in output being attributable to start up of production at the Hibiscus South field where the DHBSM-1H production well was put onstream in March.

Gabon - more news

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