New Government to Lead Gabon Towards Recovery and Energy Prosperity

President Ali Bongo Odimba announced Gabon’s new government last week in a move which shows the country’s leader commitment to ensuring a smooth recovery out of the Covid-19 pandemic. Improving the stability and attractiveness of the business environment are key areas of focus alongside promoting transparency and sustainability of Gabon’s economy.

Minister of Petroleum, Gas and Mines H.E Vincent de Paul Massassa has been reappointed and will lead the country’s energy sector through the historic turmoil it’s currently facing due to the sanitary crisis. As an African pioneer oil producer, Gabon carries great interest for foreign operators. H.E Massassa has been working on monetizing Gabon’s natural resources through an ongoing licensing round as well as a diversification strategy of the energy sector. Furthermore, the Ministry will be working on highlighting and developing the country’s mining potential.

“Prime Minister Ossouka Raponda, along with Minister Massassa, are a winning combination for the energy industry. The oil and gas sector needs sound economic policies, an enabling business environment, and a strong vision on how to guide our industry through a historic crisis. We believe that the new government announced by President Ali Bongo Ondimba sets the tone for the recovery of Gabon’s energy sector and increased investments in the value-chain in the coming years,” NJ Ayuk, President of the African Energy Chamber said in a statement on Monday.

Gabon’s 12th Offshore Licensing Round is ongoing, and the initial deadline set for April 30, 2020, has been pushed back. The round has already been successful in signing 12 production and sharing agreements, while there have been none in the previous five years. Gabon is said to be one of Africa hottest upstream frontier exploration areas with 35 blocks on offer and an attractive business environment in the energy sector, where a new petroleum code has been implemented.

Established in July 2019, the new Hydrocarbons Code offers explorers a more competitive fiscal regime and provides an enabling environment for investors. Local content is also a focus on the law as local players are incentivized to take on exploration in marginal fields. Pre-pandemic, the country’s production number had heightened after several years of decline, and operators had made new significant discoveries.

Boasting 2.5 billion barrels in proven oil reserves, Gabon is one of the more established hydrocarbon producers in the Gulf of Guinea and is currently on a mission to increase its oil production by 50% by 2020/2021. With a revitalized economy and restored interest from global investors in the oil and gas sector, Gabon is set on a buoyant path for growth, despite uncertainty around the outcome of the COVID-19 pandemic.